Another member of the Amarillo Bulls will be playing NCAA hockey in his home state this fall.
The Amarillo Bulls of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) have announced that forward TJ Sarcona has committed to Niagara University, Division I, Atlantic Hockey, for the 2012-13 season. Niagara University is located in Lewiston, New York.
“Every person who plays junior hockey has the dream of playing Division I hockey, and I have succeeded in that dream,” said Sarcona. “Playing in Niagara means being a lot closer to home so that my parents can come up and see me play in a weekend series.”
In 47 games for the Bulls, Sarcona, who is second on the team in scoring, has notched 20 goals and added 30 assists for 50 points. The West Islip, New York native has collected four power play goals and added three more shorthanded. He is plus 29 and has 128 shots.
Sarcona recently appeared for team South in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in Troy, MI, from February 20-22. He was third on team South in scoring with three points in three games played.
Amarillo Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams says the commitment to Niagara University is a huge accomplishment for TJ. “To be able to coach TJ for the last couple of years has been fantastic,” said Williams. “It’s an honor for me. I think the world of him as a player and as a person. I know for a fact that he is going to do a great job at the next level for Niagara. TJ will be an impact player not only on the ice but in the classroom and in the community.”
Sarcona has been one of the Bulls go-to players this season, taking important face-offs, playing on the power play or on the penalty kill. Williams said the coaching staff has a trust factor with TJ like they have with many of the players. “Whether we are up a goal or down a goal, he is always on the ice,” said Williams. “We expect him to continue his leadership down the stretch for us.”
In Sarcona’s first season with the Bulls he had 12 goals and 13 assists for 25 points in 53 games. He was plus 15 and had 115 shots. In the playoffs, Sarcona scored some big goals, including one that powered the Bulls back from a huge deficit against Topeka in the second game of the South Division Finals. He had 4 goals and 3 assists for 7 points in 13 games.
Sarcona said he owes much of his success to the Amarillo Bulls coaching staff. “The coaches have played a major part in this,” said Sarcona. “They work hard, non-stop on and off the ice, giving us opportunities, putting our names out there to schools. Ever since I came to Amarillo, I have not regretted that decision. Both coaches have done an amazing job with the team. Last year we didn’t make it as far as we would have liked but this year we are playing very well. I have to say thank you to them.”
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)