Pittsburgh, PA - Former Esmark Stars U18 Defenseman Dustin Geregach has announced his commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA.
Geregach, 20, who is in his second full season playing in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) for the Johnstown Tomahawks, will be joining the Lakers immediately after the Christmas break and will begin his collegiate career as the calendar turns to 2022.
“I’m super excited to get started with Mercyhurst,” said Geregach. “I think it’s awesome that I have an opportunity to make an impact as soon as I get there.”
Geregach, who served as an assistant captain for the Tomahawks, has impacted the Johnstown scoresheet this season, posting 19 points (5 goals, 14 assists) in 28 games. Last year, in his first season with the Tomahawks, the 6’0/185 lbs. native of McKees Rocks, PA, tallied 17 points in 49 games. He was also selected to and played in the 2021 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for the East Division team in Blaine, MN.
Prior to Johnstown, Geregach spent a couple of seasons, 2018-19 and 2019-20, with the Esmark Stars 18U AAA team, helping lead the Stars to consecutive Mid-American District Championships and automatic berths at the USA Hockey U18 Tier I National Championships.
"Dusty has remained laser focused on his goals since the first day he put on a Esmark Stars uniform," offered Stars 18U head coach Dave Kosick. "And this day is one he has worked his tail off to achieve."
"He is a great young man who will not only help Mercyhurst on the ice ... but perhaps more importantly he will add to their student population the type of young man that any and all schools of higher education would love to call one of theirs," Kosick added.
During the 2019-20 season, Geregach tallied 60 points, 17 goals and 43 assists, in 62 games played for the Stars, including 10 power play goals, and +/- rating of +59 in helping lead the Midget Major club to a 47-7-6-3 overall record. This included 19 points, 6 goals and 13 assists, in 21 NAPHL regular season and playoff games played.
During the 2018-19 season, Gereagch tallied 47 points, 14 goals and 33 assists, in 61 games played for Esmark, including 5 power play goals and a +/- rating of +48 in helping lead the Midget Major club to a 46-14-1-1 overall record. This included 17 points, 3 goals and 14 assists, in 19 NAPHL regular season and playoff games played.
He also appeared in the 2019-20 NAPHL All-Star Game and the 2019 NAHL 18U Top Prospects Tournament for the East team.
"This is another example of the NAPHL to NAHL to NCAA ladder of development," offered NAPHL Commissioner Tony Zasowski. "Esmark was instrumental in getting Dusty on the right pathway that would lead his journey to Division I hockey."
The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that goaltender Nico Pidro has committed to play NCAA Division III hockey for Wilkes University in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC).
Pidro, from Canonsburg, PA, earned back-to-back Dixon Cup Championships with Stars as he helped guide the 18U Stars to their first Dixon Cup Championship this past season and the U16 Stars to their first Dixon Cup Championship during the 2016-17 season.
He was the winning goaltender in both NAPHL Playoff Championship games, defeating the 18U Tampa Scorpions 5-2 for the '17-'18 18U crown and earning the shutout and 1-0 win over the 16U Rocky Mountain RoughRiders for the '16-'17 16U crown.
During the 2017-18 campaign, the 6'2", 195 lbs. goaltender, appeared in 34 games for the U18 AAA Stars, compiling an 18-11-1-4 record with a goals against average (GAA) of 2.42 and a save percentage of .882. He also recorded 3 shut-outs.
Those numbers included appearances in eight regular season NAPHL games where he complied a 3-2-0-3 record with a goals against average (GAA) of 1.96 and a save percentage of .906 and a 2-1-0-0 record with a goals against average (GAA) of 1.67 and a save percentage of .930 in three Dixon Cup Playoff appearances.
During the 2016-17 season, Pidro skated for Esmark's U16 squad where he compiled a 6-4-0-1 record with a goals against average (GAA) of 2.25 and a save percentage of .904 in 11 regular season games and a 4-0-0-0 record with a goals against average (GAA) of 1.25 and a save percentage of .942 and two shutouts in four Dixon Cup Playoff appearances.
"Nico will be a great fit for the Colonels," said Esmark U18 AAA head coach Dave Kosick. "He obviously demonstrated over the past two seasons that he is a big game goaltender."
Wilkes, which is located in Wilkes-Barre, PA, will make its program debut Oct. 26 in Canton, NY, in a non-conference matchup against SUNY Canton. The game will be part of an ambitious 25-game regular-season schedule, which includes 18 games in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC).
The UCHC consists of Chatham University (PA), Elmira College (NY), King's College (PA), Lebanon Valley College (PA), Manhattanville College (NY), Nazareth College (NY), Neumann University (PA), Stevenson University (MD), and Utica College (NY).
Wilkes will also play eight games in the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC). The MAC has served as Wilkes' primary conference since 1947 and the Colonels will be joined in the UCHC by fellow MAC members King's, Lebanon Valley, Manhattanville and Stevenson.
Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that former Esmark forward Parker Brown has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Air Force Falcons of the Atlantic Hockey Conference.
Brown a Hanahan, SC, native, skated for the 18U AAA Esmark Stars during the 2017-18 season, during which he registered 57 points (21 goals and 36 assists) in 61 games played. Those numbers included 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) in 23 games in NAPHL action.
He signed a tender with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) during his 18U season for Esmark.
During his 2018-2019 campaign with Fairbanks, his rookie season, Brown (160 lbs., 5’9"), registered 41 points (15 goals, 26 assists) in 57 regular season games and helped lead the Ice Dogs to first place in the Mid-West Division.
“I was extremely excited to hear Brownie committed to Air Force,” said Esmark Stars U18 head coach Dave Kosick. "He has world-class skating ability and always comes to the rink prepared to play."
Brown becomes the 9th Ice Dog this season to commit to play Div I NCAA Hockey next season.
Brown will join former Esmark defenseman Carter Ekberg in Colorado Springs. Ekberg, who tendered with the Janesville Jets, during his 18U season with the Stars, committed to the Air Force Academy last season and appeared in 27 games with the Falcons during his freshman year last season.
"Much like Carter, Parker will be a great addition to the Air Force roster," Kosick said. "He is a solid young man ... on and off the ice."
The Falcons play at the nearly 2,500-seat Cadet Ice Arena in Colorado Springs, CO. Head coach Frank Serratore has held the reigns since 1997, and two seasons ago joined a group of just 22 with his 400th career NCAA Division I win.
With his NCAA D-I commitment secured, Brown can now focus on helping the Ice Dogs drive for a long playoff run.
The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that former Esmark Stars AAA Hockey forward Michael Lamison has committed to play NCAA Division III hockey for Chatham University in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC).
Lamison, from Johnstown, PA, skated for Esmark's U18 squad during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. During his tenure with the Stars, he would also participate in the NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament post the '15-'16 season and played in the U18 All-Star game during the '16-'17 campaign. In addition, he would served as captain of the U18 Stars during the 2016-17 season.
During the 2016-17 season, the 5'8", 160 lbs. center, tallied 51 points (23 goals, 28 assists) in 68 games, including 19 points (8 goals, 11 assists) in 26 NAPHL regular season and playoff games.
During the 2015-16 season, he had 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists) in 63 games, including 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) in 29 NAPHL regular season and playoff games. He also picked up 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) in four NAPHL Top Prospects games.
Lamison would go on to skate for the Southern Tier Xpress of the NA3HL during the 2017-18 season. In 42 games with the Express, Lamison recorded 42 points (10 goals, 32 assists) in 42 regular season games. He added 2 points (1 goals, 1 assists) in 2 NA3HL playoff games.
"Michael will be a great addition to the Cougars," said Esmark general manager Dave Kosick. "He represents all the great qualities a program looks for ... great student, gifted athlete, great teammate, super person."
Chatham, which is located in Pittsburgh, PA, is a member of the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC).
The UCHC consists of Wilkes University (PA), Elmira College (NY), King's College (PA), Lebanon Valley College (PA), Manhattanville College (NY), Nazareth College (NY), Neumann University (PA), Stevenson University (MD), and Utica College (NY).
Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that former Esmark forward Christian Gorscak has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Niagara University Purple Eagles of the Atlantic Hockey Association.
Gorscak, a native of Jeannette, PA, skated for the 16U AAA Esmark Stars during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, during which he registered 159 points (77 goals and 82 assists) in 141 games played. Those numbers included 60 points in 48 career games in NAPHL action.
During the 2016-17 season, he helped the Stars to the NAPHL 16U Dixon Cup Championship, appeared in the NAPHL 16U All-Star Game, and was named to the All-NAPHL 16U First Team.
He signed a tender with the Johnstown Tomahawks of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) following his second season on the Stars 16U squad.
Through 12 games this season, his third season with the Johnstown, Gorscak (185 lbs., 5’11"), has registered 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists), and is the current team leader in assists and tied for third in assists in the entire NAHL.
In three seasons of playing in the NAHL, Gorscak has appeared in 114 career regular season games and recorded 48 points.
"It is so great to see Christian rewarded with his commitment to Niagara University. He is a first class human being and his play on the ice has spoken for itself," said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.
”When we tendered Christian as a young rookie from the Esmark Stars U16 program out of the NAPHL, we knew he was a talented player, but it was remarkable to see his maturity at a young age. He has improved his game in various ways each season while maintaining his infectious positive attitude and team first mentality. I am extremely happy for him and his family because he truly deserves this. Niagara University is not just getting a great hockey player, but more importantly, an incredible person," Letizia added.
Gorscak is part of a growing number of Ladder of Development players that began playing in the NAPHL and have seen their careers move onto the NAHL and then eventually, NCAA Division I college hockey.
Since 2000, the Niagara University Purple Eagles have four NCAA tournament appearances, and have clinched four Conference Regular Season Championships and Three Conference Tournament Championships.
Gorscak's commitment begins with the 2021-22 collegiate season, affording him the opportunity to remain with the Tomahawks through this year and the 2020-21 season.
Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey organization of the North American Prospect Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that former Stars AAA Hockey player, Ethan Webb has committed to play NCAA Division III hockey for Stevenson University beginning in the 2021-22 season.
Webb is currently a standout veteran defenseman for the Johnstown Tomahawks, of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), whom he joined during the 2017-18 season
Since joining the Tomahawks, Webb, 21, has played a crucial role on and off the ice with the team. The 6’0/160 lbs. native of Lexington, South Carolina, was a part of the Tomahawks 2018-19 Robertson Cup run, where their season ended in the Robertson Cup semifinals This season he helped lead the Tomahawks to another regular season title in the NAHL's East Division and a spot in the upcoming NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs as the number one seed in the East Division.
“Ethan has been such a quality member of our team since arriving to Johnstown,” said Tomahawks Head Coach Mike Letizia. “His consistent play is something that as a coach you find so valuable.”
“He is a throwback type player who defends well and does whatever it takes for the team to win,” added Letizia. “He has grown and matured as a player over his time here and I think he will be a great asset to the Stevenson hockey program.”
Webb has appeared in 123 career NAHL regular season games during the past three years and recorded 30 points. During the 2020-21 season, he posted nine points in 40 games played and was named the assistant captain.
Prior to playing in the NAHL, Webb skated for the Esmark program for three seasons, following the "NAPHL to NAHL ladder of development."
He appeared in the 2017 NAPHL 16U All-Star Game and the 2018 NAPHL 18U All-Star Game, in addition to playing in the 2018 NAHL 18U Top Prospects Tournament for the NAPHL East Team.
In 45 career NAPHL games with the Esmark 18U and 16U teams, Webb recorded 29 points.
"Ethan is an old-school style player who truly prides himself on his defensive play," said Dave Kosick, Esmark Stars U18 AAA Head Coach.
"I am happy to hear about his NCAA commitment and would expect him to thrive in that environment as well," Kosick added.
The Esmark Stars, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that former Esmark Stars defenseman Carter Ekberg has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Air Force Falcons of Atlantic Hockey.
Ekberg played two seasons of 16U, Pittsburgh Viper Stars (2012-13) and the Esmark Stars (2013-14), and then one season, his senior year, with Esmark (2014-15), during which he registered 23 points in 24 NAPHL games. He signed a tender with the Janesville Jets of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) during his 18U season.
A McMurray, PA, native, Ekberg (180 lbs., 6’1") has played for the Jets for parts of four seasons. In 84 career NAHL games, all with Janesville, Ekberg has totaled 32 points.
Ekberg is the first Jets defenseman this season to earn his NCAA commitment.
“I’m extremely excited to commit to Air Force,” said Ekberg. “This year has been huge for me, becoming a leader on the team and having more chances to play and make big impacts on every game. It’s had a huge impact on my confidence.”
Ekberg joins forwards Kip Hoffmann (Robert Morris) and T.J. Polglaze (Michigan Tech) as 1997-born Jets veterans to earn their commitment this season.
“This year Carter has taken a huge step and evolved into a complete, two-way guy on the back end,” said assistant coach Corey Leivermann, who works with the team’s defensemen. “As the ‘D’ coach, he’s meant everything to me and to our group. When he’s healthy I lean on him heavily because I know he consistently gives us what we need in all situations. Whether it’s the power play, penalty kill, five-on-five, the first minute of a period, the last minute of a period, overtime, it doesn’t matter ... Carter Ekberg is our guy.”
"I think Carter realizes this day came to be because of a huge investment of blood, tears and sweat," said his U18 Esmark head coach Dave Kosick. "He is an extremely bright and skilled young man who will be a great addition to the Air Force Academy."
“As a young, developing guy, you sit out games, holding clipboards, battling to earn your spot every day. There are a lot of stories like that in this league with older guys getting commitments at the ends of their junior careers. I’m definitely not the first,” said Ekberg.
Ekberg’s junior career began in March of 2015 with two games as an affiliate player of the Jets. He started the following season with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers, suiting up for two games before rejoining to the Jets again in October.
Ekberg played 22 games with the Jets before getting another crack at the USHL with a call from the Youngstown Phantoms in February. He again returned to the Jets for the 2016-17 campaign with the Jets.
This season, Ekberg tops Janesville's blueliners in scoring with four goals and 18 total points, playing most of the season on the Jet's top pair.
“As a kid coming out of that Esmark Stars program, the first thing you noticed about Carter’s game was his mobility,” said former Jets head coach Joe Dibble, who brought Ekberg to the Jets and coached him for two seasons.
Dibble said he’s seen Ekberg take important strides both mentally and physically.
“He’s always been an elite skater who plays with his head up and has the skill to make plays, but I was especially impressed with his development this year. Last summer I think he really dedicated himself to becoming a college athlete. He worked on his strength and you see him now stronger on the puck, stronger in the corners, stronger in front of his own net," Dibble said.
"He’s always been a confident skater and playmaker, but now you see that confidence defensively and without the puck. He’s a complete defenseman who’s ready to become a student athlete at the Division I level," he added.
The Falcons play at the nearly 2,500-seat Cadet Ice Arena in Colorado Springs, CO. Head coach Frank Serratore has held the reigns since 1997, and last season joined a group of just 22 with his 400th career NCAA Division I win.
“The coaching staff was definitely one of the biggest reasons for choosing Air Force,” said Ekberg. “A bunch of them are alumni, or they played D-1, or they played pro, so they know what they’re talking about. They’re all great, knowledgeable people who made me feel super welcome and wanted there, which was important to me. I can’t say enough good things about that staff.”
To Leivermann, it’s an especially great fit for Ekberg as a student and as a person.
“That’s an amazing academic school out there in Colorado,” he said. “That works well for a smart kid like Ekberg. He’ll get good academics, he’ll get to play good hockey, and they do a great job helping their alumni find careers after their playing days, too.”
Air Force recorded five NCAA tournament appearances from 2007 through 2012, missing just once in 2010. Last spring, the Falcons qualified again, breaking a four-year drought. Their offense includes attacking defensemen, said Ekberg, which was a major reason in choosing the school.
“They like to get their ‘D’ involved in the offense,” Ekberg said. “Coach Serratore told me they try to activate them through the zones, which is a good fit for me. I like to take my chances when I see fit, and that’s something they’re big on. It’s a good opportunity for me to be an offensive guy on the back end.”
With his NCAA D-I commitment secured, Ekberg said he feels even more ready for a long playoff run with the Jets.