Tag Archives: College Hockey

NAHL Sets New College Commitment Record

For the fifth straight season, the North American Hockey League has broken its own commitment record, sending 312 players and counting to college over the past year. 16 past, present, and future Knights are among those committed to college to play hockey and receive an education:

Jeff Bertrand Penn State (Big 10, D1) *
Tyrone Bronte Bemidji State University (WCHA, D1)
Curtis Carlson Nichols College (CCC, D3)
Paul Cimilluca Wilkes University (UCHC, D3)
Justin Engelkes Miami University (NCHC, D1) *
Thomas Farrell Army (Atlantic Hockey, D1)
Anthony Firriolo Army (Atlantic Hockey, D1)
Mike Gelatt Skidmore (ECAC East, D3)
Greg Japchen University of Nebraska-Omaha (NCHC, D1) *
Matt Kidney Salve Regina (CCC, D3)
Paul Maust Mercyhurst College (Atlantic Hockey, D1) #
Mike Morrissey Colby College (NESCAC, D3)
Jack Olmstead University of Michigan (Big 10, D1)
Reed Robinson Niagara University (Atlantic Hockey, D1)
Christian Stoever Merrimack College (Hockey East, D1)
Gabe Temple Michigan Tech University (WCHA, D1) *
* 2019-20 ## Alumni

Click here for the full story

Commitment Record-2018

 

Paul Cimilluca Commits to Wilkes University

Knights defenseman Paul Cimilluca committed to the Wilkes University Colonels on Monday. The 97-born defenseman will start his college career next year with the Colonels in their inaugural season in NCAA division III.

“I like that it was close to home,” said Cimilluca of Wilkes’ nearby campus. “It’s a college community, there are something like 10 schools around the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area and a lot of life. It’s a good place for a school, especially in division three. They’re a small school, investing in itself and their sports programs.”

The Colonels will be coached in their first season by Brett Riley, a former forward for Hobart College.

“Coach Riley is a young up-and-comer,” said Cimilluca. “He’s got an impressive history-he turned Albany Academy around in his last job. He comes from a great hockey family with a lot of ties to Army and the collegiate level. His father coached at Army and his grandfather coached both there and Team USA to a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics. Needless to say Coach Riley knows his hockey. He’s 100% all-in. That really was the biggest reason I committed to Wilkes.”

Cimilluca is in his second season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights after being a  second-round selection in the Knights 2016 NAHL draft class. The New Jersey native has compiled 15 points in 82 games with the team, playing minutes in all situations.

“Paul has been a great competitor for us from day one,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “He brings a steady, physical game to our blue line and he enjoys challenging the other teams’ top players. That’s the attitude we want from our defensemen. As a veteran he’s also done a nice job introducing younger guys on our team to the style of play and toughness that is needed to play in the NAHL.”

“I owe it all to the NAHL,” said Cimilluca. “They’re arguably one of the best leagues in junior hockey. The top-end teams can compete with teams in the USHL. You have a lot of older junior players that are going to be division one or high-end division three guys. I think that really helps me heading into college, having competed against guys who will be playing at the same or higher levels of hockey. Battling against D-I guys like Jack Olmstead, Tyrone Bronte, Reed Robinson, Justin Engelkes, Anthony Firriolo, Gabe Temple every day in practice-that’s been the best thing for me. It gives me a lot of confidence, knowing I’ve prepared myself against that level of talent.”

Cimilluca will finish out his final months as a junior hockey player with the Knights, a team hungry for success in their third year in the NAHL. He is committed to helping them achieve the highest of their goals.

“I want to be a Robertson Cup Champion, plain and simple,” he said.

“I’m proud to see Paul commit to Wilkes,” said Kowal. “They’re getting a strong player and leader for their first NCAA season and beyond. With him going to school just a few minutes away, it won’t be hard to root for Paul. I look forward to following his college career!”

“I’d really like to thank all the coaches that helped me get to this point in my career, especially Hockey Essentials, The New Jersey Avalanche organization, Bloodline Hockey, and the WBS coaching staff,” said Cimilluca. “I’m looking forward to making an impact at Wilkes University.”

The Knights organization is happy to congratulate Paul on his commitment and thank him for his years of hard work and play on the ice. They are excited to root for him throughout his collegiate career!

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!

 

 

Vlad Dzhioshvili Commits to University of Vermont

Former Knight makes division-I commitment

From his early days with the Knights, it was apparent that Vladislav Dzhioshvili was a talented player. After Dzhioshvili accrued 74 goals and 60 assists over 74 games with the organization, he earned a call up to the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder, his current team.

“I’m a power forward; I have a heavy shot-I think of myself as a support player,” said the Moskva, Russia native of his game. “I’ve moved to center since leaving the Knights where I played a lot of winger.”

Regardless of position, Dzhioshvili’s success has continued at the tier-I level, scoring 22 goals and 25 assists in 93 games played. In the 2014-15 season, he played for Russia’s U17 International Junior team, scoring one goal in four games. He was also selected in the first round of the KHL entry draft.

“The game’s a lot quicker-you have to make decisions faster,” he said of the step up to the USHL. “I think my game has changed a lot. I’m more of a team player, I’m better on the backcheck. I was just meeting with my former billet family. They think I look a lot faster.”

In addition to his more well-rounded game, Dzhioshvili has found a groove with Bloomington in his second full season and third overall. In 31 games played this season, he’s tallied double digit goals (11) and assists (10). The ever-improving 1998 birth year will be taking his talents to the University of Vermont for the 2017-18 season.

“I played a tourney at Vermont a couple of years ago. The school was great. They were the first ones to reach out to me as an interested school. That really meant a lot. When I asked around about them, I only heard good things back.”

Through it all, Dzhioshvili has held fond memories of his time with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton listing the many road trips, nationals and even the team RV as his cherished experiences. For the Knights part, the organization would like to express their pride in what Vlad has accomplished and wish him the best of luck moving forward.