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Islanders Hockey Club Standout Prifrel Set For NCAA Future With Worcester State University

By Joshua Boyd / USPHL.com, 05/13/22, 1:00PM EDT

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Worcester State University just got richer in talent with the recent commitment from Islanders Hockey Club forward Shane Prifrel. 

The 2001-born native of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., split this past season between the NCDC and Premier Islanders teams, and he was a key part of the sixth-seeded Premier team’s push through two higher seeds in the playoffs all the way to the USPHL Nationals. Prifrel is certainly excited for the opportunity to bring his game to the NCAA level.  

“I started talking to Worcester State during the first round of playoffs. My coach loved my speed, size and how I was able to incorporate that into my game,” said Prifrel. “He said I have a lot of skill and knowing where to be to score.” 

Prifrel obviously liked his one year in Massachusetts, as he’ll remain in the state and move just about 40 miles from the Islanders’ base in North Andover to Worcester, the second largest city in both Massachusetts and the New England region overall. 

“I liked that the school is bigger than many of the schools I was looking at with the degree I wanted to pursue. The hockey family was the main reason for my commitment. Every player buys into the greater good of winning and plays for one another,” said Prifrel.

He’s excited to play for Head Coach Bob Deraney, who has several decades of coaching experience at the NCAA Division I and III levels for both men’s and women’s hockey. An unstoppable teacher of the game, Deraney also runs coaching courses for USA Hockey certification. Prifrel knows he’s going from one dedicated mentor in Islanders Coach Jay Punsky to another in Deraney.

“I love Coach Deraney and Coach [Jay] Punsky. Every player that I talked to on the team has told me they’ve never had a better coach than Deraney. He’s so dedicated to the game and believes in the team,” said Prifrel. “I went to the Worcester State campus and loved it right away. People were everywhere and very nice.” 

Prifrel was able to consider himself part of both the Premier and NCDC teams, playing games with both over the entire season as he moved back and forth depending on team needs. 

“I loved the new opportunities that it brought along with new teammates and friendships that I have made on both teams,” said Prifrel. “I feel that my decision-making on the ice improved throughout the year playing on NCDC. I also feel that my confidence as a player and goal scorer has increased. The differences between NCDC and Premier are mainly in the pace of play. The NCDC is faster off the transitions and breakouts where Premier might take another second.” 

In the postseason, the Islanders played two overtime games, including a three-overtime game (and win) against the Bridgewater Bandits that broke the record for the USPHL Premier’s longest game at 109 minutes and 35 seconds. They went from Bridgewater Ice Arena to the Junior Bruins’ New England Sports Center home ice to win two road series and qualify for Nationals as the New England Division’s sixth seed. 

“My postseason experience was one of my favorite moments so far in my hockey career,” said Prifrel. “We had a great group of guys who truly believed we could go all the way and I had the best time competing side by side with them along the way.” 

He’s looking forward to the same chemistry with his Worcester State teammates, and knows that he’ll have to continue to up his game to make an impact there. 

“I will get a step or two quicker and faster during this off-season,” he said. “I will work to be the best skater I can be, and master new and better ways to find the back of the net.” 

The USPHL congratulates Shane Prifrel, his family, the Islanders Hockey Club and Worcester State University for his commitment.