Junior Bruins (Empire) forward Frankie Vatrano has accepted a full scholarship offer from Boston College and will be heading to Chestnut Hill in the fall of 2012.
Vatrano, a '94 left shot forward from East Longmeadow, MA has been a long time Junior Bruin dating back to his days as a member of the 1994 Junior Bruins AAA tournament team. Last season he helped the B's to a record third consecutive Empire playoff title despite being one of the youngest players in the league. Vatrano has a pro level release with a deadly accurate and "heavy" shot. He has a scorer's touch and is near impossible to knock off the puck. He is off to a great start with the B's this year putting up 8 points in the teams opening weekend.
Vatrano, a long time member of the 1993 Minuteman Flames, first played with the B's in the summer of 2005 playing for the '94 AAA team. That team went on to have a 21-2 record en route to the Prospects, NEHC and Boston Selects tournament titles. It was there that he first played with future Junior Bruins (Empire) teammates Brian Morgan and Kevin McKernan.
The next year Vatrano helped lead the '94's to a semi finals appearance at the Icebreaker and a title at the North American Hockey Championships. In 2008 the '94's, after losing their first game to the Toronto Black Knights, won the next seven straight to win the Prospects title for the second time. That run included four playoff wins starting with Waterloo, Hasek's Hero's, the World Selects and Honeybaked (over time in the finals).
Last season, as one of the youngest players in the league, Vatrano helped lead the Bruins to a 45-14-6 record, an Empire playoff title and a birth at nationals. He was named as the team's MVP and had a 38 goal-38 assist-76 point season. He also led all players with 234 shots on goal (next closest was 155), second in game winning goals (6) and second in plus/minus (+24). He was also named to the Empire League's Future's Game on All Star monday. This past summer he was in Rochester, NY for the USA Hockey Select 15 Festival.
The recruiting trail heated up during the second half of last season and was red hot most of the summer. With a number of schools looking to set up visits, Vatrano set his sights on BC and BU and visited both within the last few weeks. In the end he chose Boston College and called coach York on Tuesday night to let him know. There is a family tie to BC as Vatrano's cousin Barry Almeida (former '88 AAA tournament team player for the Bruins) is presently a sophomore forward.
"Frankie has been making the ride from East Longmeadow to Marlboro since he was a squirt first playing for the Flames and now for us," coach Chris Masters commented, "and that speaks volumes about his commitment and sacrifice he has for the sport. As well as his parents. That is a lot of driving and time in the car and it is nice to see it paying off. In addition to his skill level, you can't get to be the player Frankie is without that type of commitment and the competitive intensity he has. It is that competitive intensity that will serve him well over the next few seasons and when he arrives at BC."
Congratulations to Frankie and the Vatrano family.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)