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#CommittedLeaders: USPHL, Member Organizations’ Alumni Enjoy Another Year Of NCAA Success

By Joshua Boyd/USPHL.com, 05/03/21, 12:00PM EDT

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Although the 2020-21 season didn’t feature every NCAA college hockey team hitting the ice, those that did featured many former USPHL players and alumni of USPHL organizations who earned some of the highest marks available in NCAA Division I and Division III college hockey. 

 

National Champions

The NCAA success, of course, was led by four players who will soon bear championship rings after helping the University of Massachusetts win its first-ever NCAA Championship on April 10. 

 

George Mika, F (Boston Junior Bruins)

Played on the Boston Junior Bruins’ first USPHL Premier team (which would be the equivalent to their current NCDC team) in 2013-14, scoring 25 points in 52 regular season and playoff games … Helped the Junior Bruins win the first Dineen Cup awarded in the USPHL … Also played seven USPHL 18U games in that division’s inaugural season of 2013-14 … Played for the Junior Bruins on their final Eastern Junior Hockey League team as well … Has played in 102 NCAA games, scoring 19 career points … Played in 17 games in 2020-21, including all four NCAA tournament contests. 

 

Aaron Bohlinger, D (Jersey Hitmen)

Played in 19 games at the USPHL 16U level for the Jersey Hitmen in 2015-16, including two playoff games … Appeared in 29 games for the Minutemen, including all four NCAA tournament games … Scored a goal in the 5-1 National Championship victory on April 10.  

 

Linden Alger, D (Bridgewater Jr. Bandits)

Played in the Bandits organization from youth upwards to the NCDC, where he spent two years (2017-19), scoring 29 points in 92 regular season and playoff games … Played in the NCDC All-Star Game in 2019 ... Also played 16 USPHL 18U games in 2017-18, scoring seven points in 16 league contests … Has appeared in seven NCAA games for Minutemen. 

 

Henry Graham, G (P.A.L. Jr. Islanders) 

Played full 2019-20 season for Jr. Islanders in the NCDC, earning a spot in the 2020 NCDC All-Star Game … In 22 games last year, he posted a .924 save percentage and a 2.85 GAA, along with an 11-6-2 record … Has dressed for, but not yet appeared in, NCAA play, including the April 10 championship game. 

 

Zac Jones, D (USPHL 16U/18U) 

Played from 2015-18 with the South Kent Selects Academy squad, totaling 46 games in his three-year stint … Helped SKSA to the USPHL 16U championship in 2015-16 … Helped SKSA win the USPHL 18U title in 2017-18 … Played youth hockey for the Richmond Generals organization in the EJEPL … Was a member of the NCAA All-Rookie Team In 2019-20 … Has been named East Second All-American, Hockey East Second Team, All-USCHO.com First Team and was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team for 2020-21 … Completed two-year NCAA career with 12-35-47 totals in 61 games, including a goal and three assists in the NCAA tournament … Was drafted by the New York Rangers in 2019 (3rd round, 68th overall) … Signed with the Rangers on April 13, and has appeared in four NHL games … Earned first NHL point (assist) vs. April 25 vs. Buffalo.  

 

Ryan Sullivan, F (USPHL 18U)  

Was a teammate of Zac Jones on the South Kent Selects Academy 2017-18 USPHL 18U team that won the championship … scored 15 points in 11 career USPHL 16U games … Appeared in 25 games, registering four assists, in his first year with the Minutemen … One of his four assists came in the April 10 National Championship game. 

 

Organization Alumni

Marc Del Gaizo, F (Rockets Hockey Club) 

Played for the Rockets’ 16U, 18U and top Junior teams prior to their entry into the USPHL, as well as during his youth hockey years … Appeared in 90 NCAA games, scoring 58 points … Registered two assists in the NCAA Tournament … Was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie and Third Team All-Hockey East in 2018-19 … Was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team in 2018-19 … Selected to Third Team All-Hockey East in 2020-21 … Was drafted by the Nashville Predators in 2019 (4th round, 109th overall) … Signed with the Nashville Predators on April 21. 

 

Anthony Del Gaizo, F (Rockets Hockey Club)

Played at the 16U and multiple Junior levels for the Rockets prior to their entry into the USPHL … Has appeared in 96 NCAA games, registering 23 points … This includes two goals scored during the NCAA Tournament.  

 

Regular Season Awards

 

NCAA Division I 

Atlantic Hockey Association

 

East Second Team All-American

Colin Bilek, F, U.S. Military Academy (USPHL Premier, 18U)

Bilek captained the former Rochester Jr. Americans in the USPHL Premier in 2015-16, scoring 20 points in 29 combined regular season and playoff games … Also appeared in one USPHL 18U game for the Jr. Amerks’ 18U squad … Has appeared in 62 NCAA games, scoring a 32-30-62 line in 93 games … This includes 25 points scored in 22 games in 2020-21 … Was named an Atlantic Hockey East Pod First Team All-Star … Was named Third Team All-USCHO.com. 

 

Big Ten Conference

 

Alex Steeves, F, University of Notre Dame (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs)

Named Big Ten Second Team All-Conference … Played for Jr. Monarchs’ USPHL 16U team in 2014-15, registering a 19-24-43 line in 32 games … Also appeared in one USPHL 18U game, registering one assist in 2014-15 … Played 18U and Junior hockey for Monarchs in 2015-16 outside of the USPHL … Has registered a 33-36-69 scoring line in 102 career NCAA games … Helped Notre Dame win the 2019 Big Ten Conference Championship … Signed as a free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 28. 

 

Strauss Mann, G, University of Michigan (Connecticut Jr. Rangers)

Named Big Ten Second Team All-Conference … Played for the Jr. Rangers (then Connecticut Jr. Yankees) in the USPHL 16U Division in 2013-14, appearing in seven games … Played 14 games for the Connecticut Jr. Rangers’ USPHL 18U team in 2014-15, registering a .910 save percentage … Was Named the Big Ten Best Goaltender in 2019-20 … Was named to the Big Ten First Team All Conference in 2019-20. 

 

Alex Limoges, F, Penn State University (USPHL 16U/18U) 

Named Big Ten Honorable Mention All-Conference … Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Finalist … Played for South Kent Selects Academy at the USPHL 16U level (2013-14) and USPHL 18U level (2014-15) … Registered 121 points in a combined 55 games over his two Midget seasons … Helped the Selects win the inaugural 16U championship in 2013-14 … Was named the USPHL 18U Forward Of The Year in 2014-15 … Was the NCAA’s nationwide points leader in 2018-19 (50) … Named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team in 2018-19 … Was also a Big Ten Honorable Mention All-Conference selection in 2019-20 … Was Captain for Penn State in 2020-21 … Named to Lowe’s Senior CLASS All-American Second Team in 2020-21 … Signed with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls on March 25 … Has registered 11 points in first 15 AHL games.

 

Organizational Alum

Matty Beniers, F, University of Michigan (Boston Junior Bruins, South Shore Kings)

Named To Big Ten All-Rookie Team … Named Big Ten Honorable Mention All-Conference … Has appeared in 24 NCAA games, registering a 10-14-24 line … Played youth hockey in the Junior Bruins and South Shore Kings organizations, including appearing at the 2015 Quebec International Pee-Wee Tournament with the Kings … Helped Team USA win the Gold Medal at the 2021 World Junior (Under-20) Championships … Is considered a top prospect for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. 

 

Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference 

 

ECAC Goaltender Of The Year

Keith Petruzzelli, G, Quinnipiac University (Boston Junior Bruins)

Named Hobey Baker Award Finalist … Named ECAC First Team All-Conference … Played 11 games for Boston Junior Bruins USPHL 16U team, registering a 1.31 GAA and .924 save percentage … Also played in 22 regular season games for the South Kent Selects Academy in 2017-18, registering a 1.13 GAA and .936 save percentage … Helped SKSA win the USPHL 18U Championship … Was named USPHL 18U MVP and Goaltender Of The Year for 2017-18 ... In 94 career NCAA games with Quinnipiac, he posted a .915 save percentage, a 2.17 GAA, 10 shutouts and a 51-27-8 record … Was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 2017 (3rd round, 88th overall). 

 

Hockey East Association

 

East First Team All-American

David Farrance, D, Boston University (Syracuse Jr. Stars, now Utica Jr. Comets)

Also named First Team All-Hockey East … Named To All-USCHO.com Second Team … Was a Hobey Baker Finalist … Was the only repeat First Team All-American in the nation … Played for former Syracuse Jr. Stars’ USPHL 16U team from 2013 to 2015 … With 84 points in 57 career regular season games, Farrance is the USPHL 16U Division’s all-time highest scoring defenseman … Was named USPHL 16U Defenseman Of The Year in both 2013-14 and 2014-15 … Was also named USPHL 16U MVP in 2014-15 … In 2019-20, was named First Team All-American, First Team All-Hockey East, and was a Hobey Baker Award Finalist … Was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft (92nd overall) … Signed with the Predators on March 28, 2021 … Made his NHL debut on April 8, earning a +1 in a 7-1 Predators victory. 

 

Jordan Harris, D, Northeastern University (Islanders Hockey Club)

Named a Second Team All-Hockey East Selection … Played for the Islanders Hockey Club USPHL 16U team in 2014-15, appearing in 13 combined regular season and playoff games, registering one assist … Has appeared in 91 NCAA games for the Huskies, registering a 10-43-53 line … Has been named Captain of the Huskies for the 2021-22 season … Represented Team USA at the 2020 World Junior Championships … Was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft (3rd round, 71st overall). 

 

Alex Jefferies, F, Merrimack College (Islanders Hockey Club)

Named to Hockey East All-Rookie Team … Played for the Islanders Hockey Club USPHL 16U team between 2016-18 … Recorded 93 points in 55 combined regular season and playoff games for the Islanders … His 87 regular season points are eighth all-time in the USPHL 16U Division, and is No. 1 all-time for the Islanders … Scored four goals and six assists for 10 points in 12 games this season for Merrimack … Was drafted by the New York Islanders in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft (fourth round, 121st overall).

 

Gunnarwolfe Fontaine, F, Northeastern University (USPHL 16U)

Named to Hockey East All-Rookie Team … Played 30 games for the former Providence Capitals in the USPHL 16U Division in 2015-16, scoring 31 points in 32 combined regular season and playoff games … Has also played in the Bridgewater Jr. Bandits and Boston Junior Bruins organizations, outside of the USPHL … Registered a 6-9-15 line in 21 games for the Huskies this year … Was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft (7th round, 202nd overall). 

 

Organizational Alumni

Spencer Knight, G, Boston College (Connecticut Jr. Rangers)

East First Team All-American … First Team All-Hockey East … Hockey East Goaltender Of The Year … Hockey East Player Of The Year … Hobey Baker Award Finalist … Made NHL debut with Florida Panthers on April 20, and has 3-0 record … Played Youth and Midget hockey for former Connecticut Yankees (now Connecticut Jr. Rangers) and Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers, affiliate of the Connecticut Jr. Rangers. 

 

Matt Boldy, F, Boston College (Junior Bruins, South Shore Kings)

East First Team Alll-American … First Team All-Hockey East … Hobey Baker Award Finalist … Helped Team USA to 2021 World Junior (Under-20) Championships Gold Medal … Signed with Minnesota Wild on March 31, and has appeared in seven AHL games for the Iowa Wild, registering nine points … Played Youth hockey in Boston Junior Bruins and South Shore Kings organizations. 

 

Drew Commesso, G, Boston University (Junior Bruins, South Shore Kings) 

Hockey East All-Rookie Team … Drafted by Chicago Blackhawks in 2020 (2nd round, 46th overall) … Played Youth hockey in Boston Junior Bruins and South Shore Kings organizations. 

 

Aidan McDonough, F, Northeastern University (South Shore Kings)

Hockey East Three Stars Award … Was drafted by Vancouver Canucks in 2019 (7th round, 195th overall) … Played Youth hockey in South Shore Kings organization. 

 

Tyce Thompson, F, Providence College (P.A.L. Jr. Islanders)

Second Team All-Hockey East … Signed with New Jersey Devils on March 24 … Made his NHL debut on April 6, registering first career NHL point (assist) in loss to the Buffalo Sabres … Has played in six NHL games … Assigned to Binghamton Devils (AHL) on April 24 and has registered one assist in five AHL games … Played Youth hockey in P.A.L. Jr. Islanders organization. 

 

National Collegiate Hockey Conference

 

West First Team All-American, NCHC Player Of The Year, NCHC Forward Of The Year, NCHC Best Defensive Forward

Shane Pinto, F, University of North Dakota (USPHL 16U, USPHL 18U)

Also named to NCHC First Team All-Conference … Named To Hobey Baker Award “Hat Trick” (Top Three Finalists) … Played for South Kent Selects Academy in USPHL 16U Division (2016-17) and USPHL 18U Division (2017-18) … Registered 13 points in 10 combined regular season and playoff games in the USPHL 16U Division in 2016-17, helping SKSA to the championship … Registered 15 points in 11 combined regular season and playoff games in 2017-18 in the USPHL 18U Division, helping SKSA win the USPHL 18U championship … Is also an Organizational Alum of the New York Aviators, having played Youth hockey for the Aviators … Named NCHC Rookie of the Year and to All-Rookie Team in 2019-20 … Was drafted by Ottawa Senators in 2019 NHL Entry Draft (2nd round, 32nd overall) … Signed with Ottawa on April 1 … Made his NHL debut on April 17 vs. Montreal, registering his first NHL point (assist) … Currently has two assists in six NHL games. 

 

Western Collegiate Hockey Association

 

Rico DeMatteo, G, Northern Michigan University (Northwood School) 

Named to WCHA All-Rookie Team … Played in two USPHL 18U games for the Northwood School in 2017-18, registering a 1.92 GAA and .913 save percentage. 

 

Organizational Alumni

 

Tyrone Bronte, F, University of Alabama-Huntsville (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights)

Named to WCHA All-Rookie Team … Played three years for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (2017-20), including spending the 2019-20 season as captain, prior to their entry into the USPHL.

 

NCAA DIVISION III 

 

Middle Atlantic Conference

Offensive Player Of The Year 

Tyler Barrow, F, Wilkes University (Charlotte Rush) 

Named First Team All-MAC … Played for the Charlotte Rush at the USPHL Elite (2016-17) and USPHL Premier (2017-18) levels … Scored a combined 87 points in 57 regular season and playoff games in 2016-17, helping the Rush to the USPHL Elite National Championship … His 49 regular season assists remain a Charlotte Rush Elite record … Scored a combined 63 points in 43 regular season and playoff games in the USPHL Premier with the Rush in 2017-18 … Has scored a 37-55-92 line in just 64 career NCAA games … Was named MAC Rookie of the Year and to All-Rookie Team in 2019-20 … Was named to United Collegiate Hockey Conference All-Rookie Team … Named USCHO.com NCAA Division III Rookie of the Year, and to USCHO.com Division III All-Rookie Team. 

 

First Team All-MAC

Blake Colman, D, Stevenson University (Islanders Hockey Club, Junior Bruins, South Shore Kings)

Michael Gurska, D, Wilkes University (Connecticut Jr. Rangers) 

Ryan Kenny, G, Stevenson University (Islanders Hockey Club

Tyler Barrow, F, Wilkes University (Charlotte Rush) 

Charlie Spetz, D, Wilkes University (Rockets Hockey Club Organizational Alum)

 

Second Team All-MAC

Alex Borowiec, F, Lebanon Valley College (South Shore Kings, Jersey Hitmen)

Tyler Dill, F, Wilkes University (Charlotte Rush)

Nick Fea, F, Wilkes University (Connecticut Jr. Rangers, Rockets Hockey Club)

 

Tyler Romel, D, Lebanon Valley College (Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, Springfield Pics, South Shore Kings)

Aidan Richardson, G, Lebanon Valley College (Richmond Generals)

Donny Flynn, F, Wilkes University (Rockets Hockey Club Organizational Alum)

 

Honorable Mention All-MAC

Michael Paterson-Jones, G, Wilkes University (Charlotte Rush, Utica Jr. Comets) 

 

Northern Collegiate Hockey Association

Co-Freshman Of The Year

Arkhip Ledenkov, F, College of St. Scholastica (New York Aviators) 

Named To NCHA All-Conference Team … Named to NCHA All-Freshman Team … Played for New York Aviators (USPHL Premier) between 2018-20, registering 81 goals, 73 assists and 154 points in 77 games career games … His 81 goals are third all-time in the USPHL Premier, and 154 points stands ninth all-time … He and his twin brother Filimon Ledenkov, also an Aviators alum and current St. Scholastica player, are the only two players in the USPHL All-Time Top 10 to have played just two seasons … Arkhip stands second all-time in scoring to Filimon (180 points) in Aviators history … Has registered 12 goals and six assists for 18 points in 11 NCAA games. 

 

NCHA All-Conference Team

Garrett Gintoli, F, Milwaukee School of Engineering (South Shore Kings)

Jack Nickels, D, Milwaukee School of Engineering (Boston Junior Bruins)

Arkhip Ledenkov, F, College of St. Scholastica (New York Aviators)

 

NCHA All-Freshman Team

Filimon Ledenkov, F, College of St. Scholastica (New York Aviators)

Arkhip Ledenkov, F, College of St. Scholastica (New York Aviators)

Kyle Gierman, D, Lawrence University (Metro Jets Organizational Alum)

 

Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Newcomer Of The Year

Vilho Saariluoma, F, University of Wisconsin-River Falls (Jersey Hitmen)

Also named to WIAC All-Conference Team … Played for Jersey Hitmen during the 2019-20 NCDC season, registering a 7-11-18 line in 18 games … Registered a 5-8-13 line in his first 10 NCAA games this season. 

 

Scholar-Athlete Of The Year

Christian Hausinger, D, University of Wisconsin-River Falls (Skipjacks Hockey Club)

Also named to WIAC All-Conference Team … Played for Skipjacks Hockey Club USPHL 18U team in 2013-14 … Led all USPHL 18U defensemen in scoring with 33 points in 27 games … Has registered a career line of 16-55-71 in 96 NCAA games … Was named a First Team All-American in 2019-20 … Was named WIAC Player Of The Year and also named to WIAC All-Conference Team in 2019-20 … Listed on All-USCHO.com NCAA Division III team in 2019-20. 

 

WIAC All-Conference Team

Vilho Saariluoma, F, University of Wisconsin-River Falls (Jersey Hitmen)

Christian Hausinger, D, University of Wisconsin-River Falls (Skipjacks Hockey Club)

Dean Buchholz, G, University of Wisconsin-River Falls (Detroit Fighting Irish)

Chad Lopez, F, University of Wisconsin-Stout (Richmond Generals/P.A.L. Jr. Islanders)