Coast to Coast: Atlantic Hockey Commitment Catch-Up

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College hockey news tends to cool off as the weather warms up, but FloHockey is using the summer to prepare for the upcoming season and another year of livestreaming some of the nation’s best college hockey.

Keep up with the recruits as we detail Atlantic Hockey’s commitments ahead of the 2022-23 season in the ten-team conference.

AIC recruits worldwide

The Yellow Jackets have pushed Atlantic Hockey forward for the past four years, winning every regular-season title since 2018 — except for the canceled 2020 season — and have six commitments in their 2022-23 class ready to learn the culture of AIC.

The Yellow Jackets’ strength doesn’t leave much room, but each program relies on the production and advanced maturity of newcomers. Sweden forward Alex Malinowski leads the international group after a 33-goal, 75-point season with the NAHL’s Fairbanks Ice Dogs in his first North American season.

Rounding out the AIC recruitment were Slovakian forward Matus Hadusovsky, American defender Hunter McCurdy, and Canadian forwards Casey McDonald, Brett Rylance and Grayson Dietrich.

Bentley body

The Falcons briefly held the lead last season but ultimately finished in ninth place. Thirteen seniors or college graduates mean the recruiting class of three is likely to look good.

Josh Seeley enters the crease and will look to oust junior Nicholas Grabko for the majority of starts. Defenseman Ryan Nause brings an offensive play to the blue line that will complement Drew Bavaro’s offensive bias from the first pair. The couple will give the team a different look with added dynamism.

But forward Ryan Upson brings a shot on target after scoring 44 points (18G, 26A) in 46 games with BCHL’s Langley Rivermen last season.

Canisius’ sure catch

Regular season runners-up Golden Griffins also have just three new faces in their recruiting bracket. Hunter Andrew and Stefano Bottini add offense, but Oliver Tarr’s recent OJHL game suggests the Griffins have a rare talent.

Tarr finished eighth in the OJHL with 33 goals and ninth overall with 70 points in 52 games. The 20-year-old brings a slight age advantage, confidence and a college-level 6-foot frame. Regardless of the league, his play hints at the ability to take the next step for the Griffins and help them go head-to-head with AIC and other conference rivals.

Niagara finds eagle eyes

The Purple Eagles went strong into the backend, bringing on five freshmen defensemen and three forwards. The Eagles bring a mix to the blue line with four strong puckmakers in Max Ruoho, Cole Mickel, Lane Brockhoff and David Posma, who likes to find the back of the net.

Add in defender Samuel Davies, who is staying at home, and there will be a solid group of assets for coach Jason Lammers to form his pairings after losing four defenders.

Up front, forwards Jonathan Wescoe and Noah Hackett bring offensive consistency, and Ethan Lund has the skills to add another layer of depth.

Mercyhurst adds puck movement

The Lakers were led last year by a trio of sophomores, each building on their freshman seasons. This fall, coach Rick Gotkin will be looking for another wave to reinforce the team’s offense-first mentality.

This wave would come from the blue line with five defensive recruits in Tyler Nasca, Cole Oravitz, Nicholas Kent, Jackson McCarthy and offensive stud Trent Sambrook.

Sambrook scored 58 points in 49 games from the blue line for the Winkler Flyers last year. He’ll add a backend puck mover advantage to take the pressure off the defensive zone and force play-up ice where the Lakers are aiming.

But netminder Owen Say and forward Tyler Gaulin will also contribute their games to stabilize the Lakers’ run-and-gun roster.

Heiligkreuz is hoarding help

As the bottom-ranked team in 2021-22, the Crusaders are hoping their nine-man freshman class of 2022-23 will bring some help. Offensively, Jack Stockfish leads Joe Solimine, Coleman Jenkins and Owen Kim in the front recruits.

At the back, the Crusaders have a chance to build a young fresh blue line with William Troutwine, Weston Turner, Charlie Spence and Mack Oliphant. Louden Hogg steps in to steal time at the crease and give the Crusaders some consistency and strong play at the net.

The Crusaders doesn’t bring as much flash as other programs this year, but their added depth and strength in numbers should help the program take a step forward.

RIT rookies

The Tigers’ Carter Wilkie took home the AHA Rookie of the Year award after a brilliant season.

There’s no doubt RIT is hoping one of their seven newcomers can take back-to-back awards in 2022-23.

That starts with forwards Tyler Mahan and Phillippe Jacques, who each had strong offensive seasons in their respective programs and leagues in 2021-22. Mahan had 29 goals and 71 points in 60 games in the AJHL and finished eighth in the league standings. Jacques scored 31 goals and 76 points in 52 games in the CCHL and finished second in the league standings.

Forwards Hunter Brazier and Simon Isabelle also bring a shot on goal from the CCHL, while Adam Jeffery and Christopher Duclair will try to broadcast their own games on RIT.

In the backyard, Gustav Blom brings a Swedish defensive presence, which means offensive flair and defensive responsibility.

Sacred Heart is looking for points

The Pioneers managed to find some of that chemistry in their 2019-20 programming year. Tyler Chenevert is making the atypical jump from high school to college, but his 21 goals in 32 games suggest he’s ready to score some.

Add in goalscorers Jake Bongo and Chikara Hanzawa – along with Jeremi Tremblay – and the Pioneers add some offensive potential in 2022-23. Now all they need are those newbies to customize and add to the program.

Welcomed West Point

As an academy, Army recruitment is tougher than other programs. Players enter the academy with military service contracts — that doesn’t make engagement any easier for players hoping the NCAA can help their four-year careers continue to develop and flourish.

With Colin Bilek withdrawn to bring goals, offense, leadership and just about every other positive adjective, coach Brian Riley will have some big skates to fill. The incoming freshman class of 10 could fill those skates over the collective, but Brent Keefer and Lucas Kanta are the leading candidates to fill in for missing offense.

The pair bring impetus and determination to the Black Knights where they will push Owen Nolan, Stephen Willey, Trevor Smith, Reese Farrell and Joey Dosan to the front. In the backend, Jude Brower, John Driscoll and Sean Vlasich will compete for defensive roles.

Luftwaffe ignores age

The Falcons may have been the NCAA’s youngest team to have just one senior on their roster last season. But the youth remained strong, and their naivety propelled them to a championship defeat in the postseason, just a win short of a place at the national tournament.

With eight more newcomers entering the mix, coach Frank Serratore will keep all options on the table as he searches for more first chairs for his orchestra.

Offensively, Sam Jacobs and Holt Oliphant bring some points from the NAHL, but Chris Hedden and Nolan Cunningham also bring offensive thinking to the blue line.

Add forwards Joe Shubert, Sean Bunting, Mason McCormick, defensemen Brett Oberle and utility player Liam Hansson, and Serratore will be sure his new boys can play in unison.

Have a question or comment for Jacob Brass? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.

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