Tag Archives: NCAA

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!

Former Knights Forward Paul Maust Commits to Mercyhurst

Photo: NAHL.com 

Paul Maust, a member of the Knights inaugural NAHL roster, and two-year veteran of the organization’s junior hockey program has committed to Mercyhurst University.

In 119 career games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the NAHL, Maust recorded 31 goals and 47 assists. He was named to the NAHL’s All-Rookie team in 2015-16 before representing the Knights and the East Division in the Top Prospects Tournament in 2016-17. The Butler, Pennsylvania native has spent the 2017-18 season in the USHL playing for the Green Bay Gamblers.

Maust will be heading to a Mercyhurst program that has a proud history playing in the Atlantic Hockey Conference at the NCAA DI level. Since their first DI season at the turn of the century, the Lakers, behind bench boss Rich Gotkin, own a .535 winning percentage and have placed in the NCAA Finals on three separate occasions. Their alumni dot professional hockey rosters across North America and Europe.

In the 17 prior seasons they’ve played at the DI level in either the MAAC (2000-2003) or Atlantic Hockey (2003-present) Mercyhurst has won a regular season conference title as well times as a postseason conference championship three times apiece.

“After coaching Paul for two years, I am very happy to see he will have an opportunity play at the next level,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “He’s a tough, versatile hockey player who plays bigger than his size. He plays with the edge needed at the DI level. He was an impact player for us in his time with our program. I look forward to cheering for him throughout his career at Mercyhurst University.”

The Knights would like to congratulate Paul on his well-deserved commitment and wish him the best of luck moving on in his hockey career!

Jack Olmstead Commits to Michigan University

On Wednesday, Knights forward Jack Olmstead committed to the University of Michigan. The ’98 birth year is Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s leading scorer through 25 games, helping the team to a 16-6-3 start.

Olmstead’s future home is rich with hockey history. The Michigan Wolverines lead NCAA Division I with nine national championships over their 91-year existence, but you don’t have to tell Jack.

“It means everything,” he said. “I️ grew up a die hard fan, going to Michigan hockey games; from going down to the GLI every year, to rooting for the football team. I’ve always loved the atmosphere. Everything about the program is top notch. The coaches, the players, the trainers, the strength coach, just everything. The moment I️ stepped on campus I️ knew it was a special place. It’s really hard to put into words the feeling. It’s just a dream come true.”

Michigan hockey alumni include Stanley Cup Champions, Hobey Baker winners, and dozens of NHL players. Olmstead is excited to get to work.

“I️ feel I️’ll bring skill and heart to the team,” he said. “The guys in the program are world class hockey players. I️ want to be a great player obviously, but being a great teammate is also important to me.”

The forward has taken the NAHL by storm in 2017-18. Olmstead’s 13 goals and 12 assists in 23 games leads his team in points and is second-most among all NAHL rookies. His +13 is the fifth-highest total in the league, while his 1.09 points per game ranks eighth among players who have played in at least 10 games.

“We were excited when Jack signed a tender agreement with us last year,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “The game film and the score sheet will tell you he’s a really skilled forward. But what I think says the most about Jack is how many guys on our team want to share ice time with him.”

Olmstead has been deployed across all lines and scenarios this season, including splitting time at center and wing, playing on the power play and penalty kill, and in overtime and the shootout, wowing with jawdropping goals along the way.

“He’s hard to keep out of the rink,” said Kowal. “He’s here a lot-taking extra ice time, practicing his shot, helping teammates, doing the right things to help himself and his team improve. Michigan isn’t just getting a really good hockey player-they’re getting a really good person.”

“Playing in the NAHL has helped me a ton,” said Olmstead. “Just competing against bigger, faster, stronger guys has helped me grow a lot as a player. Everyone in this league can play and think the game at a very high level. My teammates and coaches have also pushed me every day in practice to be the best I️ can be.”

While he continues to develop and improve his own game, the Knights are aiming for a Robertson Cup this season. Olmstead is concentrated on helping his team achieve that goal.

“Obviously we only have one goal, and that’s to win it all,” he said. “We feel like we have the right coaching and the right team to make a run and win a Robertson Cup. Individual success comes directly from team success. We know what kind of team we have and what we are capable of achieving.”

Through it all, the Olmstead has stayed grounded and appreciative of those who have helped him reach this point.

“I️ want to thank everyone that’s helped me out,” he said. “My teammates and coaches have been monumental to me thus far. Coach Kowal gave me a chance to come in and play this year for the Knights and he’s been a great mentor and coach for me.”

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights congratulate Jack on his well-deserved commitment and appreciate his continued devotion to the organization’s success. They are eager to follow his career in the blue and gold and wish him all the best!

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!

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.”

Campolieto Commits to Division 1 Union College

Knights defenseman Joseph Campolieto has committed to Union College starting in the 2018-19 season. The long-time member of the Knights organization is the first Knights player to commit during the 2016-2017 NAHL regular season. He joins forward Aiden Beck as the second division one commit on the Knights current roster.

“I visited Union twice in April and May,” he said. “I just fell in love with the size of the campus, the academics and of course the hockey. They won the national championship in 2014. I just thought Union was a perfect fit for me.

As mentioned, the Union Dutchmen defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers 7-4 in the 2014 NCAA Division 1 National Championship. They’ve produced alumni like Philadelphia Flyers phenom defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, Calgary Flames forward Josh Jooris, and New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid among many others. In Campolieto Union is getting a dynamic defenseman.

“I am an offensive defenseman,” he said when asked to describe his game. “I have good-skating ability, high hockey-IQ, I see the ice very well. I just try to make plays and play solid in the defensive zone.”

That skating ability is what really pops when watching Campolieto on film. It’s not uncommon to see him lead a rush into the offensive zone. Last week, at the NAHL’s annual player showcase, he flashed his speed on a penalty kill, breaking up a pass at center ice before taking it back the other way for a shorthanded, breakaway goal.

“I’ve worked really hard since a very young age, skating non-stop. I want to thank Besa Tsintsadze. He’s helped me improve a lot. I’ve skated with him and he’s coached me since I was little.”

Tsintsadze is a former competitive figure skater from the country of Georgia. Since his retirement he’s come to coach hockey players the art of power skating, working with both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins. He now focuses on developing young hockey players like Campolieto in their ability to skate.

After playing 21 games in the NAHL last year, Campolieto has enjoyed a strong start to 2016-2017, leading the Knights in points with one goal and six assists through eight games.

“I’ve known and coached Joseph for many years,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “His improvement is evident. Yes, he’s an impressive skater, but he’s come a long way in developing the other elements of his game. He’s a tireless worker. At the end of the day he’s got a bright future. He’s been an asset for us at multiple levels of the organization and that continues to this day. I’m happy to have him on my team, and I’m excited to see him grow. It’s been a privilege coaching Joseph over the past couple years. I’m excited to have helped him reach his goals both on and off the ice. ”

In addition to adding a blend of offense and speed to the team’s defensive corps, Campolieto is one of the Knight’s leaders. The veteran blue-liner is not about to lose focus on his current season.

“I just want to keep working hard, keep getting better every day. I want to stay focused so that I’m able to do everything I can to help make this team better.”

Without a doubt, the team is happy to have him. As an organization, the Knights congratulate Joe on his commitment and continue to wish him the best of luck in his current and future endeavors.