Tag Archives: Division 1

Adrian Danchenko Commits to Alabama-Huntsville

Photo: Steve Yakimowicz

With the 2018-19 junior hockey season around the corner, Adrian Danchenko has announced his commitment to the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers for the 2019-20 season. The Chargers are an NCAA division one program playing out of the WCHA.

“Huntsville has a renowned engineering school that is really important to me,” said Danchenko of his home-to-be. “The hockey side is only getting better, and with the coaching staff there, I believe we’ll take a big step with the program.”

The Chargers have been a member of division one hockey since the 1998-99 season. Their first stint in DI came in 1988-92. In the years since, they’ve won their regular season conference title twice, their postseason conference championship twice, and qualified for the NCAA tournament twice at the division one level.

The school was a division II power house between the years of 1993-1997, appearing in four national championships in five seasons, winning two. The most famous among their many successful alumni is current Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot.

For his part, Danchenko has spent years and developing in the Knights hockey program, dating back to the NAPHL stage of his career. After making his NAHL debut with the organization in 2016, Danchenko has gone on to record 18 goals and 30 assists in 118 games played.

“It’s been extremely rewarding to watch Adrian Danchenko grow up in this program,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “From the early days in the NAPHL to coaching him the past two years in the NAHL, he’s consistently been one of the most improved players in our organization. He’s a great example of where hard work and talent can take you, and I know he’s only going to continue to get better.”

Danchenko was a key forward for the Knights last season, more than doubling his NAHL rookie season’s point total, recording 12 goals and 20 assists in 55 regular season games. His efforts earned him a place at the NAHL’s Top Prospects Tournament in February.

“The NAPHL and the NAHL were the leagues that developed me into the hockey player I am now,” said Danchenko. “That’s thanks to all the great teams and events the league has to offer.”

The impressive season culminated in Danchenko’s selection by the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the 2018 USHL Entry Draft.

“The Chargers are getting a big player that can use his speed and vision to make plays happen,” said Danchenko of what he’ll bring to the college game. “I can play both sides of the puck and use my skill up the ice.”

“I know I speak for our entire staff when I say that Alabama-Huntsville is getting a really good player in Adrian,” said Kowal. “He’s worked hard to get to this point, and he’s earned a spot at the top level of college hockey. We thank him for what’s he’s contributed on and off the ice for our program. I wish him the best of luck going forward in hockey and in life.”

“My biggest takeaway in my time with the Knights was that persistence is key, and going through the program you have to step it up to the next level,” said Danchenko. “Playing older players every year made me more mature and has helped me to become a role model and a leader. I feel that I’ve grown not only as a player but as a person too.”

Danchenko is the 18th player from last year’s roster to commit to a college, and the 13th heading to a division one school from that team. The Knights organization thanks Adrian for his many years with their program. They will be eagerly following and rooting for him every step of the way moving forward!

Khristian Acosta Commits to UMass Minutemen

After a trade to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights last October, Khristian Acosta’s ride through junior hockey has been one of continued success.

After his move to the NAHL, Acosta quickly established himself as one of the team’s most dangerous offensive weapons. In just his first 10 games, Acosta totaled six goals and seven assists on his way to a seven-game scoring streak.

“The boys were really welcoming,” said Acosta of his early days with the Knights “They took me in right away. Coach Tom and Coach Andrew were great. They all helped me get comfortable quickly.”

The forward from Middletown, New Jersey would prove that his early offensive returns were no fluke.  In 34 games with the Knights he was more than a point per game player as he picked up a stat line of 12-23-35.

“The NAHL is easily one of the best junior leagues,” said Acosta. “All you have to do is look at the number of college commits to get an idea of what kind of league this is. It builds great character and it’s a level of competition that’s prepared me for the USHL and has helped ready me for my college career.”

It didn’t take long for Acosta’s torrid play to attract attention from the USHL. Following a goal and assist performance against his hometown New Jersey Titans, Acosta was traded to the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede. In 20 games to close out 2016-17 he scored one goal and 12 assists.

Moving forward Acosta has his sights set on division one hockey. The 98 birth year has committed to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, beginning in the 2018-19 season.

“Definitely the tradition,” said Acosta on what attracted him to the Minutemen program. “They have a pretty new coaching staff, they play in the best conference in college hockey. They really have a beautiful campus and it’s a great place for me to pursue a business major.”

The Minutemen play in the Hockey East Conference, home to such household names as Boston College, Boston University, and Notre Dame. With origins dating back to 1908, Massachusetts Amherst alumni list isn’t short on proud history either, boasting recent alumni like Kings netminder Jonathan Quick, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Conor Sheary, Bruins forward Fran Vatrano and Sharks defenseman Justin Braun among many others.

“I’m looking forward to helping make the Minutemen into a powerhouse program,” said Acosta of his soon-to-be home.

Though his stay wasn’t long, Acosta certainly left a great impression on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton organization. He emphasizes the same could be said of its effect on him.

“I had a great billet family; they’re like second family to me-we keep in touch all the time,” he said. “I had a lot of fun hanging out with the boys, winning a lot of games. I think my favorite memory might have to be when we won to get back over .500. That was pretty special.”

Not lost on Acosta were the efforts of those that he encountered in his time with the Knights.

“I just want to thank the Knights organization, coaches, staff and teammates for helping in my development. They’re a great organization.”

The Knights for their part are happy to have had Khristian as a member of their team and wish the best of luck moving forward with his hockey career.



Zach Gielarowski Commits to Robert Morris University Club Hockey

The Knights NA3AHL captain has committed to play for the RMU Colonials Club Hockey program next year. The Colonials are a member of division one ACHA hockey.

Gielarowski was a cornerstone for the Knights blue line this season, registering 25 goals-a league best-and 29 assists in 29 games played at the tier-III level. The McMurray, PA-native also played in four games at the organization’s tier-II level, recording one assist.

Gielarowski will start his college career next fall. The Knights organization is happy for Zach’s advancement and wishes him the best of luck moving forward.


Dawson Commits to Brown University

From NAHL.com

 From his first step onto the ice at the Revolution Ice Centre in Pittston, PA, Dorian Dawson has displayed nothing but high-end potential for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. As one of the members on the organization’s inaugural NAHL roster, the sturdy 6-2 200-pound defenseman has been through all manner of tests in his 103 NAHL games.

Through the first year of the Knights existence in the North American Hockey League, Dawson emerged as one of the team’s minute-eaters on the back end, playing in 62 of 63 possible games between the regular and postseason. In that stretch the defenseman recorded four goals and 13 assists, while growing into a steadying, two-way presence on the ice.

“Dorian has been a big part of this team since the start,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “He’s grown a lot in the past year and a half and it’s been rewarding to see that play out both on and off the ice.”

In the wake of departed NHL draft-pick Dmitriy Zaitsev, Penn-State commit Paul DeNaples and Union-commit Joseph Campolieto, there existed a great opportunity for a defenseman to rise to the top of the Knights defensive corps. Now bearing an assistant captain’s patch on his sweater, Dawson has seized the role as the team’s proverbial #1.

“He’s been a top defenseman for us and this season he has grown into a leader in our locker room,” said Kowal. “He’s an extremely versatile, hard-working piece of our blue line that we use in all phases of our game. Power play, penalty kill, ahead on the scoreboard or behind-you name it, he’s out there.”

In 41 games played this season, Dawson has doubled his point total from the last, picking up seven goals and 23 assists while owning a +/- of +14. Through a stellar month of January, Dawson maintained a December-born point streak for nine games and posted a line of 1-10-11, +8 in nine games played. His efforts saw him named NAHL January Defenseman of the Month and secured his spot on the East Division’s Top Prospects Team at this year’s showcase. In his first game for the East on Monday, Dawson was +3 with one assist.

As it turns out, division one college hockey didn’t need too much more convincing. After two days at the Top Prospect Showcase, it has been announced that Dawson has committed to Brown University of the NCAA’s Eastern College Athletic Conference. The 1997 birth year will be a freshman for the Bears beginning in the 2018-19 season. The Brown Program has turned out a number of NHL alumni like, but not limited to, Tim Bothwell, Curt Bennett, Todd Simpson, and Ryan Garbutt.

“We’re excited for Dorian’s future and we are devoted to helping him continue to grow even further as a player,” said Kowal. “I’m very confident that Brown is going to be very happy with the player and the person they’re getting in Dorian Dawson.”