Monday, 08.22.2016 / 1:18 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell
Wildcats left-winger Austin Albrecht has committed to play Division I NCAA hockey at the University of Massachusetts Amherst of the Hockey East Conference. He will begin his college hockey career at the start of the 2017-2018 season.
“UMass offered me a deal I couldn’t pass up on,” Albrecht said. “I loved the campus and the coaching staff there. Playing under John LaFontaine really taught me a lot as a person and a player. Lots of credit goes to him, but overall the Wildcats are a great organization that committed to helping me reach my goals.”
Now the tenth Division I commit from the Wildcats’ 2015-2016 roster, Albrecht will join longtime friend and teammate Jonny Lazarus with the Minutemen. The two of them will be reunited after having played together since 2013 when they were with the New Jersey Rockets of the EHL. The pair played alongside each other on the Wildcats’ most productive line last season on the flanks of Nick Rosa, and have built the kind of chemistry that might lead to them sharing ice time again at Amherst.
“Austin was a big-time leader on the ice for us last year,” Wildcats Assistant Coach Josh Nelson said. “His effort and attitude was always there. He’s a competitor. Amherst has a very good player coming in.”
Albrecht lead the Wildcats in both postseason and regular season scoring last year. The 6’0” 185 pound winger tallied 12 points in the playoffs and 60 throughout the season, putting himself in elite company alongside just eight other players in franchise history to reach the 60-point plateau in a single season. He is also tied with Austin Beaulieu as the Wildcats’ all-time leader in career playoff points with 16.
Though he was known for putting up big numbers, the Flemington, New Jersey native also brought intangible assets to the table. After Max Reisinger was traded mid-season, Albrecht became the longest tenured Wildcat on the roster. He was the only one to have played briefly under another Wildcats coach besides John LaFontaine, having played briefly under Paul Baxter in 2013.
He brought experience, grit, and an almost unmatched compete-level as demonstrated by the amount of fights and the 84 penalty minutes he had throughout the season. Over his stay in Wichita Falls, he earned a reputation as a player who could do it all.