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Recent U18 AAA Esmark Stars News

Kozlina Signs with North Iowa Bulls

By DLG 01/10/2022, 3:45pm EST

Esmark Stars 18U Forward Signs NAHL Tender

Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) are pleased to announce that 18U forward Shane Kozlina has signed a North American Hockey League (NAHL) tender agreement with the North Iowa Bulls.

Kozlina, a 17-year old Cranberry Township, PA, resident has skated for Esmark for a pair of season, this year with Star's U18 AAA Midget Major team and during the 2020-21 season with Star's 16U AAA Midget Minor team.

The (5'11", 165 lbs.) senior at Seneca Valley High School, has registered 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists), including three shorthanded goals, one power play goal and two game-winning-goals, in 20 regular season NAPHL games played to date.

He also notched a pair of assists at the 2021 NAPHL 18U All-Star game to help Team Grey to 5-1 win.

Overall, Kozlina has registered 47 points (21 goals, 26 assists), including 2 power play goals and 4 shorthanded goals, in 37 games played to date during the '21-'22 season.

During the 2020-21 season, Kozlina registered 14 points (8 goals, 6 assists), including two shorthanded goals and two game-winning-goal, in 20 regular season NAPHL games and 2 points (2 goals), in five NAPHL Dixon Cup Playoff games for Esmark's U16 Stars.

"Shane is a high energy forward with an off the charts work ethic ... and a knack for the net," said Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick. "His work ethic has created a tremendous amount of interest from several NAHL Junior teams."

"He will be a great pick-up for the Bulls and Coach Sanden," Kosick added. "His ability to fill multiple roles can make him an important asset to North Iowa."

Kozlina becomes the first member of the 2021-2022 Esmark 18U AAA team to sign a tender with an NAHL club. Last season, the Stars had nine players sign Junior A Tender offers.

The Bulls, who relocated to Mason City, Iowa, from Amarillo, Texas, beginning this season, play in the six-team NAHL Central Division.

Geregach Commits to Mercyhurst University

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."

Esmark Stars Well Represented

The Esmark Stars U18 AAA squad was well represented at the 2021 North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) 18U AAA All-Star game in Blaine, MN, held Sunday, Dec. 19.

Esmark forward Shane Kozlina, defenseman Liam Varmecky, goaltender Nikita Volski, as well as Stars U18 head coach Dave Kosick, were all selected to the Team Grey squad.

Team Grey would skate to a 5-1 win over Team Black as Kozlina picked up a pair of assists and Volski stopped all 6 shots he faced in goal during a period of action.

Players were selected for the game based upon evaluation by the NAPHL's Central Scouting, post nomination by team's coaching staffs, as well as recommendation from NAHL coaches.

Over 70 scouts, including NCAA Division I and NAHL scouts and coaches, were in attendance, as well as a standing room only crowd, in Minnesota.