Tag Archives: College Commitment

Reed Robinson Gets the Call from Niagara

Knights veteran Reed Robinson is heading off to school. The ’98 forward will lace up the skates for the Niagara Purple Eagles after the university offered him a spot for the 2018-19 season.

“They called me the other day, I was actually at work,” said Robinson. “I picked it up at work just because it’s the coaches so I always answer. Coach Lammers called me and told me he’s coming down to Dallas this Friday for the NHL Draft. He asked me about getting breakfast on Friday, and that he had a bigger question for me and asked if I wanted to come in this year and of course I said yes. It was a really exciting combo.”

A native or Rockwall, Texas, Robinson has been a cornerstone for the Knights in Pennsylvania since he came aboard in 2015 at the 18U level. After affiliating with the NAHL team that season, Robinson went on to score 36 goals and 42 assists through his NAHL career. He ends his Knights career tied for third in points in the team’s NAHL history.

“Reed Robinson is a great example of what we look for in our organization and our league,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “He came in a couple years ago from the youth level, and continually proved to us that he was capable of taking on bigger roles and bigger minutes. He took advantage of the opportunities he was given each season, and developed into one of our best players and one of the leaders in our locker room.”

“I think the speed of the game at the NAHL level, really made me a faster player,” said Robinson. “It made me make decisions a lot quicker. I think as far as the whole mental side of the game, I’ve learned a lot. It kinda teaches you how to be a college athlete with the time you have to put in and the time management for the work you have to do. I think it really prepared me.”

Robinson heads to a Niagara program that plays in the competitive Atlantic Hockey Conference at the NCAA Division I level. He’s eager to get started.

“I’m just excited to play at the next level,” he said. “I think playing at that level brings your game to that level. I think I’m only going to improve as a hockey player there, so I think that’s a big part of it. Obviously playing in those college hockey rinks won’t be too bad either. That’ll be a lot of fun.”

After playing a program record 138 games in a Knights NAHL sweater, Robinson has too many fond memories to single out just one favorite, but he’ll never forget the people who were apart of his junior hockey journey.

“Certainly the Robby Cup has to be my top moment,” he said. “It was a great experience to go out there-the boys really enjoyed it. I think I’m just going miss my teammates the most I think. I just made so memories, I can’t really pick one. All the guys in Wilkes-Barre were great-it was a good group we had. That’s what I’m going to miss the most. I have to thank the Knights for everything they’ve done. I think everyone helped me to get to college and the Knights organization was a big part of that.”

“I consider Reed as one of those original guys for our program at this level,” said Kowal. “He’ll always be remembered as a big part of what got us started in the NAHL. Those guys hold a special place with me and with our team. I thank him for all the work he’s put in, all the goals he’s helped us achieve, and just for being a quality member of our program. I’m excited for him as he starts his Div. 1 career, and I know he’s going to do well at Niagara. I wish him nothing but the best of luck.”

From ownership on through every member of the organization, the Knights thank Reed for his contributions and will be eagerly rooting him on as embarks on his college career and beyond!

Matt Kidney Commits to Salve Regina

When the Knights took Matt Kidney in the first round of the 2016 NAHL Entry draft they knew they were getting an important piece for their future. This week, Kidney committed to Salve Regina University, a member of the NCAA division III Coastal Commonwealth Conference. The Seahawks are coming off a banner year that included a DIII National Championship appearance.

“I think what sold me was Coach Klann,” said Kidney of Salve Regina’s  now second-year head coach. “I’ve heard a lot of good things through the people I talk to and in his first year with Salve, he took them to a national championship. Going to college, a big thing for me is winning and getting a good education, and I think Salve has both of those things.”

Zech Klann was named DIII coach of the year by USCHO.com, guiding the Seahawks to their fourth-consecutive winning season in his first at the helm. In 2017-18, Salva won the CCC regular season title before making a stellar postseason run that came up just short of its ultimate goal. In the past four seasons, Salve Regina is 65-35-10, with two trips to national tournament.

For his part in recording impressive numbers, Kidney led the Knights in scoring in his rookie season, notching 20 goals and 46 points in 48 total games. He followed that up in 2017-18 with 22-31-53 in 67 games played. A two-time NAHL Top Prospects participant,  Kidney saved some of his best hockey for the 2018 Robertson Cup push, where he recorded three goals and three assists in 10 games. All totaled, the right-handed forward leaves Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as its all-time leading NAHL scorer with 42 goals and 99 points in 115 games.

“We drafted Matt Kidney understanding that we were getting a really skilled player,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “We had just come off our first season, looking to build a team that would compete for a Robertson Cup. Matt stepped in early and hit the ground running. He was a tone-setter for us. When he was rolling, we were playing some of our best hockey. He was a huge piece in our playoff run this past season, and I think that really showed what kind of player he’s capable of being.”

Kidney’s choice to attend Salve Regina came from advice.

“I talked to Danny Eruzione a lot recently,” Kidney said of his friend, a former New Jersey Titans forward. “He just kept saying ‘Dude you have to come, you have to come.’ I know he’s a good guy and he’d be straight up with me and he told me ‘This is the place to be.'”

With over 100 games played in the League of Opportunity, Kidney credits the NAHL for preparing him for the physical challenges college hockey is known for.

“From hearing a lot of opinions about DIII, it’s a lot of bigger, older guys,” he said. “My first year in the NAHL, it was a lot of bigger guys and that kind of prepared me and help me play a more physical game. I think this year it’s really helped me a lot with the speed. I think it increased my speed-I know I got faster this year. I think going to school next year is going to be really good.”

After enjoying a deep postseason run in his final year of junior hockey, Kidney wants to help put the Seahawks over the top, following their double-overtime loss in the 2017-18 National Championship.

“I think I come there to win each and every day,” he said. “I feel like I proved that in this year’s playoffs. Our playoff run was spectacular and wasn’t really expected by most and not a lot of people saw it coming. I think I come with a winning attitude and a lot of hard work.”

The Knights run to the Final Four of the Robertson Cup will forever stick with Kindey as one of his all-time favorite memories with the organization.

“It had to be,” he said. “Your last year you go out to Minnesota, play in front of 200 scouts and play against some of the best players in the league. There’s nothing better than that.”

In parting with the Knights, Kidney was sure to thank those who helped him along the way.

“I gotta give thanks to my coaches, Tom Kowal and Andrew Whiteside and the Knights organization for giving me this opportunity,” said Kidney. “Craig Doremus too. I’ve known him a long time, and he’s always looked out for me over the years, and always was honest with me. And of course my family. I think my family played a big role in keeping me honest and supporting me.”

“Matt will always be thought of as a player that helped move our organization in the direction we want it to go,” said Kowal. “In our team’s NAHL history, he holds a lot of our records. He’s earned that with his talent and effort. I thank him for all he’s contributed and wish him the best moving forward in hockey and life.”

The Knights echo coach Kowal’s thoughts and join him in wishing Matt nothing but the best as he moves on to college and beyond!

Thomas Farrell Commits to Army

Photo: NAHL

Another Knight will be making the change from blue to black in the near future as Thomas Farrell made his commitment to Army official Thursday. The defenseman will head to West Point starting in the 2019-2020 season, joining the program at the NCAA DI level.

“I’m feeling a little better than good,” laughed Farrell shortly after making his commitment official. “Honestly, I went in there for a visit with an open mind. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always looked up to the military. Now being a part of that, being a small part of that history and that family is a great honor.”

 
At 19, the right handed blue-liner has logged regular minutes atop the Knights defensive corps this season, picking up three goals and 22 assists in 55 games played.
 
“Thomas has been a staple for us this season,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “We send him out there in all situations; power play, penalty kill, three-on-three, four-on-four, overtime, you name it, he’s out there. I can’t think of a better example than this past weekend. We were down to just four healthy defensemen for a three-game weekend. Thomas played a big part in helping us secure four out of six points, keeping us in the race for the #2 seed in our division. He logged a lot of minutes, and our confidence in him never wavered. We knew he had a high ceiling when we tendered him last year and he’s come in and exceeded our expectations.”
 
Farrell’s future team, the Army Black Knights, have built a proud history playing division one hockey dating back to 1903. Steered by head coach Brian Riley, the team and Army’s commitment to excellence caught Farrell’s eye.
 
“One thing I noticed when I stepped on campus while talking to the coaching staff and also the players there was that it was just an extremely dedicated and committed group of people,” he said. “I just saw it as a really great environment for me where I can excel and grow both on and off the ice with them. The leadership program there is awesome. It’s unlike anywhere else in the world. I’m very excited to say the least.”
 
Farrell will join current teammate and fellow defenseman Anthony Firriolo, who committed to Army earlier this season. The pair will begin their careers in the 2019-2020 season.
 
“I went on a visit there on Monday,” said Farrell. “I ended up going out with Anthony for lunch after practice on Tuesday. I kinda sat down with him and talked with him a little bit about the dedication and commitment after not only going to the school but also after the four years of education. There’s 17 branches of the military you can go into. It’s not just serving in the front lines. We talked about all the different programs, the student-to-faculty ratio which is awesome. It’s just a great environment.”
 
Farrell’s play stood out even as a tender pressed into duty last postseason when the Knights were depleted by injuries. As a regular in 2017-18, it didn’t take long for Farrell to establish himself as one of the league’s better defenders.
 
“I would consider myself a two-way defenseman,” he said about his game. “That’s how I believe I was scouted by Coach McKelvie, the defensive coach at Army. That’s what he was looking for and that’s a role I think I can fit into. With the Knights here in Wilkes-Barre I think I’ve been able to do a really good job playing defense first then also finding a way to get involved in the offense and doing well with that. Then off the ice, I would say that you’re just getting a kid that’s really put in the hours and the dedication to the sport. That’s what I’m all about, and I think I can bring that dedication and that commitment to the classroom as well. It’s just something I’m really looking forward to do.”
 
“Beyond just his talent, Thomas has been a regular starter for us due to his character on and off the ice,” said Kowal. “He works incredibly hard. Whether it’s practice or a game, he’s on the ice and then he goes right into the weight room. He’s constantly setting an example for the rest of our team to follow.”
 
Farrell’s performance in the first half of the year earned him a spot on the East Division’s top prospects team at the NAHL’s Top Prospects Tournament at the end of February.
 
“Hockey is a team sport,” he said. “That’s one of the most important things that you always gotta have in the back of your head. You can’t just do it all yourself. Anthony and I wouldn’t have these commitments right now if it wasn’t for our team we’re playing with every day on the ice, pushing us to the best of our ability. We’ve just been pushing each other to get as good as we can get and to get noticed. I think that the East Division has played a key role in that as well. This division is one of the fastest in the league. It’s had a key part in us getting noticed by West Point and getting me the chance to visit and figure out what the school is all about.”
 
As the the NAHL postseason draws near, Farrell’s commitment to school wont take away from his commitment to a Robertson Cup run. A three-game showdown with the Titans, beginning with two home games this weekend, could play a massive role in securing the Knights home-ice advantage heading into April’s tournament.
 
“We’re in a really tight race right now with the Titans for that home-ice advantage between the two and three seeds,” said Farrell. “The goal as of right now is to take it one step at a time. This weekend we’re trying to get a solid, at least two out of three against these guys. We want to really clinch that home-ice advantage so that we can go into the playoffs feeling good, with that home ice and take it control a little bit.”
 
Even with games still to play, perspective isn’t lost on Farrell or his coach.
 
“I want to thank Thomas for his contributions to the Knights at this point in his career,” said Kowal. “He’s been an asset as a player but more importantly as a teammate and person. Wherever he is next year, I know he’s got a bright future ahead.”
 
“I just want to shout out to my mom and dad and my sister Brooke,” said Farrell. “They’re the ones that I’ve been with my whole life. I love them, really a lot. I did it for them. They’re the ones that would get me up in the morning. They’re the ones I’d get to see every day and kind of inspired me to be the person I am today. Without them I don’t think I’d be having this conversation.”
 
The Knights congratulate Thomas on his commitment and thank him for all his hard work. The team has been made better by his drive, one that he brings with him everywhere he goes. The Black Knights are getting a good one.
 

Knights Forward Nate Chuckran Commits to Stony Brook

One of the most veteran junior players in the Knights Organization, Nate Chuckran has made his decision to go to Stony Brook University starting this fall. The Seawolves are an ACHA division I program that have recorded 20 or more wins in 16 of their last 19 seasons and in the last four years has won four-consecutive ESCHL Championships along with one national championship runner up finish. For Chuckran it wasn’t just the hockey accolades he was focused on.

“What stood out to me is how highly ranked the school is itself. I’m going for biomedical engineering so it narrows down my choices a lot. They have a great program. Their coach Chris Garofalo keeps a tight ship.”

Chuckran has been a long-time veteran of the EHL, having played in his 100th career game (including playoffs) in the Knights regular season finale Saturday. His four-team career has been strong, wracking up 21 goals and 47 points in that span. His 2017-18 season, split between the Philadelphia Junior Flyers and the Knights, has been his most-productive, scoring 13-18-31 in 41 games played.

“The EHL has helped me prepare by helping me grow as a player,” said Chuckran. ” It’s helped me mature as a player. It’s definitely increased my poise with the puck and taught me to not be afraid to get in the corners at all.”

“Chuck is a hard-nose player that puts 100% in to every he does on and off the ice,” said his head coach, Josh Fusco. “He’s very motivated, driven and has a lot passion. From day one, after we acquired him from the Junior Flyers, he’s brought leadership to this team and moved into that assistant captain role nicely for us. As a ’97 He’s brought a lot of junior experience and more importantly he’s brought that winning attitude to our locker room.”

“I think I have a positive impact on the guys,” said Chuckran of what he brings to a team. “Any where I’ve gone that’s the feeling I’ve gotten. As far as on the ice, I think I make a defensive impact and I bring a lot of speed with my game.”

With his college decision made, Chuckran is now focused on finishing his junior career on a high note.

“Obviously we want to win a championship,” he said. “Not only that, I want to leave the guys here with a positive impact. I want to help them and guide them to a better position for their future as far as junior hockey goes, each of them individually. I’ll miss this team and the fun we’ve had, [laughing] everybody’s saying ‘OH YEAH’ all the time.”

Chuckran’s and his teammates’ enthusiasm will be a welcome sight when the team kicks off their postseason this weekend against the New York Applecore. The playoffs will serve as Chuckran’s final chapter of his junior career, one he’s happy to have had, and aware of those who have made it possible.

“A big thanks to my parents for supporting me through all of this and all the coaches that got me here. I couldn’t have done it by myself. I’m excited for a new beginning at Stony Brook. I’m very optimistic about their program and the school itself.”

“Nate is a kid that is going to succeed in life” said Fusco. “I’m very happy for him on his decision moving forward with his hockey and academic future.”

The Knights organization congratulates Nate on his commitment and thanks him for his contributions to the EHL program’s success.  They look forward to rooting him on in his Stony Brook career and beyond!

Bryan Whelan Commits to Framingham State Rams

Bryan Whelan’s had a busy year. The EHL forward started the season with the New York Bobcats Royals before being traded to the Knights in January. Whelan had played 2016-17 with Knights NA3AHL nemesis, the Long Island Royals, before making the transition to the EHL this season.

Wherever he’s gone, Whelan has produced. In 29 games with New York this season, he tallied 15 goals and 23 points. Since coming to the Knights, he’s picked up six goals and seven assists in 16 games.

“I would say I bring speed and an offensive presence to the ice, with good vision and a quick release on my shot, Whelan said of his game. “I think I will be able to help Framingham out both during even strength and on the power play.”

The Framingham Rams are a member of the NCAA division three MASCAC conference. The university has been a member for the DIII level since 1971.

“I really liked the area of where the school was, and being able to walk not even a mile to go grab food or see a movie and stuff like that,” said Whelan of Framingham’s campus in Massachusetts. “The kids on the team were all welcoming when I went on my visit and I think this is a great fit for me.”

Whelan is confident that the EHL has prepared him for the next step in his career.

“Playing in this league has helped me because of its speed of play,” he said. “Seeing the few college games I have watched, I think I will be able to jump right into the college level and not have to make to major an adjustment to it.”

Standing at 5-9 with speed to burn, it didn’t take long for Whelan to make an impact with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the EHL. The right-handed forward scored in his first five games with the team, scoring six goals in his first nine appearances with the Knights. Needless to say, he’ll be a key piece for the team as it heads into postseason play.

“Bryan has been a welcome addition to our Knights family,” said head coach Josh Fusco. “He has progressed in his time here and I’m  very proud of the strides he has made. He came here on mission to make the playoffs in his last year of junior hockey and to prepare himself for college hockey. He wanted to be a Knight and we made it happen. He’s another kid that wants to be here and another kid for us to help. It couldn’t be any better than that.”

“Being a Knight has been a very fun experience,” said Whelan. “They are a top class organization, and I enjoy playing for them. Getting here, and now heading into college, I would like to thank my parents who have traveled this path with me since I was six years old, driving me to 6:00 am practices all over the US. I thank my brothers, for pushing me every day to be the best I can be and telling me to never give up and follow my dreams. This isn’t possible without them. I would also like to thank the Royals coach Ken Hoey, for always believing in me since my first junior year in 2015. I want to also thank Coach Fusco and the staff I’m with now for taking me in half way through the season and believing in me to go out there and play my game of hockey. Finally, I would like to thank all of my teammates since I have first started playing hockey as a little kid. They have helped me grow as a player and as a person of the ice and have bettered me in every which way possible.”

The Knights would like to thank Bryan for his dedication in his time with the organization. They wish him the best of luck in his career!

“Very happy for Bryan and his decision in pursuing his academic future and playing hockey at Framingham,” said Fusco. “I wish him all the best and much success with his future.”

Josh Edwards Commits to Lehigh University Mountain Hawks

Earlier in the week, Knights EHL skater Josh Edwards made his commitment to Lehigh University for the 2018-19 season. The Mountain Hawks play ACHA Division I hockey out of Steel Ice Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

“It’s a really good engineering school and I want to be a mechanical engineer,” said Edwards. “I love the area, I love the campus. It’s really pretty. The coaching staff on the hockey team, they’re all very nice. They seem really excited to have me and I’m really happy about that. It’s just a great school. It’s pretty perfect for me. It’s enough where I could get away from home a little bit and have that college experience, but it’s close enough where I’m still only about an hour away. I can come back and see some games with the Knights if I want to, and come back and see my family. It would have been really hard to pass that up.”

Edwards, a native of Mountain Top, PA, has been amongst the most versatile players in the Knights organization. Over the past few seasons, Edwards has shown the ability play both forward and defenseman, making himself a rare and useful piece in any lineup.

“Right now I’m going to be a defenseman,” said Edwards of his future position at Lehigh and current role with the Knights. “I don’t know if that’s subject to change if they (Lehigh) need me anywhere else, but right now it looks like they need defensemen. I’m happy to fill that role for them.”

”He’s a versatile guy,” said Knights head coach Josh Fusco. “You can put him anywhere and he’ll step up to the plate. He started out as a defenseman. We tried him out at forward, we played around with it but he’s settled in in the EHL playing defense. He’s made a home out of it.”

A long-time veteran of the Knights program, the ’98 has been playing for Fusco for the better part of the last three seasons.

“It’s been great developing a relationship with Coach Fusco,” said Edwards. “I started out with him in my U16 year, I worked out with him all last summer too, after playing with him my first season. He’s a coach who lets you know when you do something wrong, but also helps you fix it. He’s always there, he’s very approachable, he’s someone you can talk to. I really have enjoyed playing for him over the past few years, and that’s one thing I’m really going to miss for sure.”

“It’s been a pleasure to have Josh,” said Fusco. “He’s an ultimate team guy. He’ll do anything  for his teammates and coaches. He’ll go out of his way to help a teammate. He’s a coaches player-he’s one of the guys you don’t have to tell a whole lot. He knows what I expect. He’s enjoyable to be around. I couldn’t be happier for him with this announcement.”

Edwards has three points in 35 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season. The now-defenseman has been a reliable puck-mover, supplying speed no matter where’s placed, providing valuable transition ability as well as reliability in his own zone. All of that

“I like to be an all-around player,” he said. “I like to bring some speed to the lineup. I think every team needs a locker room guy. I think I do a good job of having a good attitude. I like bringing up the morale of the other players, keeping a light mood.”

His head coach agrees.

“He knows how to bring his teammates up to the next level, he just competes,” said Fusco. “He gives 110% every time he sets foot on the ice and his off-ice work ethic is by far the best out of any player I’ve ever met. His work ethic is contagious. His motivation to go the the next step has been evident. He’s an all-around good kid.”

As his junior career winds down, Edwards is committed to finishing strong for the Knights, and to go out on a high-note in a league that he feels has prepared him for the rigors of college hockey.

“I want to finish out the year strong. I think that we’re a team that can surprise a lot of people. Nobody wants to play us in the playoffs. We’ve been picking it up and getting better. I think that we really have a shot if we do the right things and play hard that we can end up in that finals in Providence and who would want to win a championship?”

The Eastern Hockey League prides itself on its ability to advance players onto college hockey. Edwards agrees that playing in the league has done well in preparing him for competitive hockey.

“It’s a really fast-paced league, it’s really competitive, he said. “Any team can win on any given day so you have to show up for every game-it’s not some leagues where you come in knowing you’re going to win a game. Every game is a challenge, you have to work hard. There’s just so much skill. There’s a lot of really, really talented players in this league and it’s been a great experience competing against them.”

His head coach couldn’t be prouder of how Edwards has grown in the time they’ve spent together.

“Coaching Josh for three years, seeing him grow, seeing him develop, seeing his passion, seeing him go off and find his college, that’s the ultimate satisfaction,” said Fusco. “He’s got a special place in my heart and he’s a guy I’ll miss seeing wearing a Knights jersey, that’s for sure. I can’t wait to see what’s next for him in his career.”

In all of the excitement, Edwards didn’t forget to thank those who were there to guide him on his journey.

“I want to say thanks to my family, coaches, and friends,” he said. “Definitely the Knights staff. A big thank you to them. They helped me a lot along the way. They taught me a lot about not only hockey, but life too. I hope to carry those experiences with me forever.”

A very hearty congratulations to Josh Edwards from the Knights organization! The team looks forward to following and rooting for Josh as he advances in hockey career and education!

Knights Defenseman Anthony Firriolo Commits to Army

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

Knights defenseman Anthony Firriolo has committed to the United States Military Academy West Point to play division one hockey starting in the 2019-20 season. The ’98 defenseman has chosen not only to play for a great hockey program but also to serve his country in the army.

“Just the brotherhood, the chance to serve my country,” said Firriolo of his interest in Army. “They came to me recently and I had the opportunity to visit the campus. It really felt like a perfect fit for me.”

The United States Military Academy has been a member of NCAA Division I hockey since the program’s beginning in 1903. For the past 15 years the Black Knights have competed in the Atlantic conference with former Brown University alum Brian Riley serving as head coach for the previous 14 seasons. Alumni of the Black Knights program include former NHL forward and Stanley Cup Champion Dan Hinote.

“Anthony is headed to a program that fits his personality and who he is,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “It tells you about his character. He’s a talented player, but a better person who not only wants to play hockey and work hard to earn an education, but wants to serve his country in doing so. We’re very proud of him.”

After being acquired in a trade with the Amarillo Bulls early in the season, Firriolo has settled in nicely as a potent offensive player on the Knights talented blue line. Through 22 games with the Knights and 11 with the Bulls, Firriolo leads all Knights defensemen in assists with 13 and has logged valuable time on the team’s power play, serving as one of its primary quarterbacks. Six of his 13 helpers have come while on the man-advantage.

“I feel I bring offense to a team’s defense,” said Firriolo of his playing style. “I bring some skill to the back end, I like to move pucks up the ice and create opportunities to score. I think I’ll fit at West Point because I like to challenge myself. I like to work hard and have a never-give-up attitude, and out on the ice I’m constantly looking to make myself and my teammates better.”

Through it all, the defenseman has kept an appreciation for playing in the NAHL and his team’s competition.

“The compete level, especially in our division, is special,” he said. “Every night is like a playoff game. You have to bring your a-game because it can go either way against the first-place team or last-place team. Everybody’s highly skilled.”

Firriolo has enjoyed his time playing as a Knight thus far, and credits all those who’ve been alongside him on the journey.

“The coaching staff here has been unreal,” he said. “They took me in after I arrived, a little after the beginning of the season. This group of teammates I think is the closest group I’ve ever been a part of. They way this place operates is perfect for me.”

With his commitment to the Black Knights, Firriolo becomes the seventh Knights NAHL veteran to commit to a division one school over the past year, the third to a team in the Atlantic Hockey.

“He’s a player we’ve had a need for this year,” said Kowal. “Him being an offensive-minded defenseman is an important piece to have on any hockey team, the way the game is being played now. He’s filled that role nicely for us. At the end of the day, we’re thrilled with what he’s brought to our program. I really look forward to rooting him on as he advances forward in his hockey career.”

“I want to thank Coach Tom and Coach Whiteside for all they’ve done for me,” said Firriolo. “I also want to thank all my previous coaches, my teammates, and my family for supporting me all the way.”

The Knights organization congratulates Anthony for his commitment and thanks him for his contributions to the program’s success!

JP Natishan Commits to King’s College

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

Knights EHL forward JP Naitshan has announced his commitment to King’s College of the NCAA’s DIII UCHC conference. As a ’97 birth year, he will suit up for the Monarchs next season as King’s continues to grow its new hockey program.  For Natishan, the acclimation period should be a short one.

“I felt like I was at home,” said Natishan of his experience visiting the King’s campus. “I’m from this area. The campus is beautiful. I know what they’re about as a school and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

The Wyoming, Pennsylvania native is a long-tenured veteran of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights program, dating back to his youth hockey days. His familiarity and impressive resume made him a more than logical choice for the Knights when the team was building a roster for their return to the EHL this year.

“JP is the hardest worker out there,” said Knights EHL head coach Josh Fusco. “He’s a leader who sets the tone for our guys on the ice, in workouts, and in the locker room. He’ll run through a wall for you.”

Natishan will join the Kings Monarchs in their second year playing NCAA division three hockey. The team has played hard even through the growing pains of their inaugural season, a fact that has not escaped their newest recruit.

“I’ve seen Kings play this year, they’re a great group of guys,” Natishan said. “They’re a really hard-working team. I think I fit that. I work hard, I like to play penalty kill, I block a lot of shots. I know I can bring that to their line up.”

Through 33 games, Natishan has three goals and three assists for the Knights in 2017-18 and his presence in his own zone, killing penalties, and matching up with the opposition’s skill lines has been invaluable.

“I lose count of how many shots JP gets down in front of each game,” said Fusco. “He’s a player we turn to in big moments. He grinds out every shift. He’s a guy you love to have on your roster.”

“JP has been a Knight for a long time,” added Knights NAHL head coach Tom Kowal. “He’s been here longer than I have, but I’ve seen him in games, in practice, off the ice. It’s great to see his tremendous effort pay off with him going to play college hockey. We’ll  be rooting for him every step of the way.”

With just a few months remaining in his Knights career, Natishan looks back favorably on his time within the organization.

“It’s tough, but I’d have to say my favorite memory was winning an AYHL U16 championship,” he said of his 2012-13 season. “That was pretty special. I want to thank all my family, friends, teammates, my current and former coaches, and Coach Mallaro at Kings for helping me through this process.”

The Knights are proud of JP’s accomplishments and are excited for him as he moves forward in his college career. The organization will be rooting for him each step of the way!

 

 

Reed Robinson Commits to Niagara University

On Thursday, Knights forward Reed Robinson confirmed his commitment to Niagara University. Robinson, a ’98 from Rockwall, Texas, has been a member of the Knights organization since 2015.

“Reed Robinson is one of our most veteran players,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “This is his third season playing in our organization. He’s a guy who’s improved every year and is proof of where hard work can take you.”

Robinson is currently second on the Knights in scoring, with 10 goals and 14 assists in 25 games played in 2017-18. That total is ninth-highest in the North American Hockey League through the first three months of play.

“Reed’s one of our most talented players, and one of our biggest threats on the ice,” said Kowal. “Whether it’s 5-on-5, 3-on-3, overtime, power play, or penalty kill, we’re confident in putting him on the ice. He’s one of our leaders in points this season, but more importantly he’s one of our leaders in the locker room. He sets the tone and has really been a mentor to our younger players in helping them make the transition to junior hockey.”

“I’ve spent the last two years focused on my fitness,” said Robinson. “I think that’s really helped me to become a point-per-game player and I think it’s allowed me to help others on my team. Playing in the NAHL, it’s a high level of play, and the competition is hard to beat. It’s matured me.”

It was Robinson’s continued success at that level that brought him the attention of the Niagara University Purple Eagles, who play in the Atlantic Hockey Conference at the NCAA’s division one level. The program has a new staff this season, one that has guided the Purple Eagles to a quick start in 2017-18.

“The coaching staff was really what stood out to me,” said Robinson of his future home. “They’ve got the program going in the right direction, and I’m confident that I can play a role there. It’s in a small town-everybody knows everybody and I like that. Niagara Falls is right there and it’s right next to the Canadian border. It’s a really beautiful place.”

Robinson will spend the rest of his current season working to continue to improve his game as well as helping the Knights in their efforts in accomplishing their highest goal.

“We’re tied for first right now, we want make a run,” he said. “I want keep scoring and performing well but our ultimate goal is to win the Robertson Cup. I’m going to do whatever I can to help us get there.”

“At the end of the day, Reed is a great addition for the Niagara Purple Eagles and for division one hockey,” said Kowal. “He’s earned it and we’re thrilled he’s being rewarded for it.”

On behalf of the entire organization, the Knights would like to congratulate Reed on his commitment to Niagara University, and thank him for his continued efforts both on and off the ice to advancing the team’s success!