Tag Archives: Khristian Acosta

Knights Alumni Khristian Acosta and Paul DeNaples Sign Letters of Intent

Congrats to Knights alumni Khristian Acosta and Paul DeNaples on signing their letters of intent today. Starting next season, Acosta will play for UMass Hockey while DeNaples will skate for Penn State Men’s Hockey.

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.



Knights Split Weekend Series with Titans

From one day to the next, the NAHL’s East Division can be one of the most unpredictable in the league. Such was the case this weekend when the Knights played their second and third games against the Titans in five days.

Entering Saturday night, the Knights already had two contests under their belt; the first was a 6-2 win on a Wednesday matinee over New Jersey, the second a 4-1 loss to the Rebels in Aston.

Looking to duplicate their success against the Titans Saturday night, the Knights were given a blunt and unforgiving welcome. New Jersey winger Todd Goehring lit the lamp twice in the first 7:48.

Curtis Carlson would seemingly pull the Knights back into the game with his fourth goal of the year on the very next shift on feeds from Matt Kidney and Paul Maust.

Instead, the Titans would mount an offensive onslaught starting at 10:23 when Maxim Andreev started a chain of four unanswered Titans tallies to close out the period.

Following Andreev came Dylan Healey at 12:21 and then Ryan Wheeler (his first of the season) at 12:37. Greg Malafronte buried New Jersey’s sixth goal on the powerplay at 17:25, settling the score at 6-1 before heading to the first intermission.

The second period was quiet until 7:22 when Khristian Acosta kept his hot streak going with his fifth goal of the season.

Victor Ostling answered with his fifth just 39 seconds later to push the Titans lead back to six. Acosta fired back with his second goal of the game at 9:55, but the Titans, undaunted, put two more on the board following scores from Kyle Perkowski and Jordan Kaplan at 10:55 and 13:14, respectively.

Reed Robinson took a feed from Sam Antonitsch at 17:36 and beat Brandon Bussi with just under two and a half minutes remaining in the second period to make the score a staggering 9-4.

A little over a minute later, Kyle Perkowski responded once again, rounding the Titans goal output to an even 10 through the first 40 minutes of play.

Both Knights goalies were pulled in the contest before Grant Valentine’s returned following the unsuccessful switch to Colt Hanks.

The third period saw a goalie change for the Titans as well. Newly called up Brandon Perrone, who had faced the Knights in the NA3AHL just two weeks earlier, manned the pipes for the final period of play. The Long Island Jr. Royals product stopped all eight shots he faced, keeping any hope of a dramatic Knights comeback at bay.

Danny Eruzione would tack on the final tally for the Titans at 10:23 on assists from Greg Malafronte and Anthony Cusanelli. The wild shootout would mercifully wind down without any further scoring, as the Knights headed back home to lick their wounds and rise again the following afternoon.

And rise they did.

The third matchup would prove to be the week’s most even between the Knights and Rebels. After a blistering start to the first period including a fair amount of time on attack and one unsuccessful powerplay, the Knights quickly lost their rhythm. The Titans pressure picked up, forced a penalty and at 7:53, Gordie Helmuth notched the game’s first goal on the man advantage.

The tone decidedly swung in New Jersey’s favor thereafter, as they constantly hovered over the Knights blue line, suffocating their breakout attempts and forcing numerous turnovers.

Despite that, Grant Valentine stood tall and made 10 saves in the period to keep the score close. As the period entered its final minute Dorian Dawson flipped into attack mode up the left wing, jumping up on the rush and firing a puck on the net of Brandon Bussi. After a series of ricochets, Paul Maust streaked towards the far post and got the final tap to poke the puck home, tying the game at one.

To begin the second, the Knights again began in attack mode once again. Matt Kidney, flanked by his fellow Middletown, NJ natives Khristian Acosta and Mike Gelatt, rifled a puck past a screened Bussi to give the Knights the 2-1 lead at 2:10. It would be far from the last time those names would be entered on the scoresheet.

One highlight reel goal was answered with another four minutes later. Victor Ostling sent the puck on a line to Andrew Husted who in turn placed a laser past the glove of Valentine.  The score remained knotted at two until late in the period when a pair of penalties allowed Anthony Cusanelli to score on a 5-on-3 chance with less than a minute to go in the second. The Titans took a 3-2 lead to the dressing room.

The score would remain in favor of the Titans until late in the third, when the “Middletown Line” would take over. Matt Kidney notched his second goal, driving to the net on a give and go with Mike Gelatt at 14:16 to tie the game at 3. Three minutes later Kidney would strike again, using a defenseman as a screen a rifling his third goal Bussi to secure the hat trick.

Mike Gelatt would add insurance at 18:24 on the power play when following an Acosta faceoff win just above the Jersey blue line, he’d surge ahead with the loose puck behind the stationary defense before deking Bussi and beating him for the score.

Matt Kidney finished off his monstrous performance with a masterful empty net goal in which he lobbed a puck from the middle of his own zone, down the length of the ice and into the back of the unoccupied net.

When the dust settled, the Knights came away with a 6-3 victory, salvaging a weekend in which they had previously gone 0-2. Matt Kidney led the charge with four goals, giving him a stat line of 5-3-8 for the four-game week. Khristian Acosta added four assists, giving him a total of 4-5-9 for the week and an eye-popping 6-6-12 in just his first eight games with the Knights. Grant Valentine stopped 36 of 39 shots, good for a game save percentage of .923. In the head-to-head series, the Knights now pull ahead to 3-2-0 against the Titans.

The Knights improved to 7-10-0 with the win and will play Thursday, Friday and Saturday of next week on the road against the Northeast Generals.


Knights Trade for Forward Khristian Acosta

Earlier in the week the Knights acquired Khristian Acosta from the New Jersey Hitmen program. The 5-9, 180 lbs skater is a 1998 birth year, who’s spent the past three years in the Hitmen organization. He arrives already committed to division one Quinnipiac University’s hockey program. Last year Acosta split his time between  the USPHL Premiere and USPHL 18U levels, registering five goals and 15 assists in 30 games played.

“We brought in Khristian Acosta-he’s a division one commitment to Quinnipiac, said Knights head coach Tom Kowal of his new acquisition. “Hopefully he’ll be able to come in and add some offense. Most importantly, as a division one commitment, we’re looking for him to fit in well and make a positive impact within our system. We think he can help us go where we want to go in the 2016-2017 season.”

Acosta is yet another native of Middletown, New Jersey, joining Matt Kidney, Tim Gelatt and Mike Gelatt on the Knights roster. Acosta will get his first taste of NAHL action tonight, as he will dress for the tonight’s contest against the Aston Rebels. Acosta will wear the number 17.