The Springfield Jr. Blues, longest consecutive franchise in the North American Hockey League, have announced that goaltender, Gabe Antoni has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey next season for Bentley University Falcons in the Atlantic Hockey League.
“Bentley University has a bright future with a young talented team with a great coaching staff, I cannot wait to be a part of their program, stated Antoni. “I’m looking forward to playing for the Falcons and immersing myself in the college life.”
Antoni came to the Springfield Jr. Blues in a trade with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL and has been instrumental in the team’s turnaround since January, 2012. He is 14 – 3 – 1 in eighteen games played for the Jr. Blues, and has a combined record this year of 24 – 7 – 2 with the two teams. He continues to put up great numbers in goal for Springfield with a GAA of 2.51 and a .921 Save percentage.
Jr. Blues Head Coach, Joe Dibble said of Antoni, “Gabe is a proven winner, everywhere he has played in his career he has been successful, a lot of that is because of how hard he competes on every puck. He is a big reason for the turnaround we’ve had the second half of this season. Gabe is a leader both on and off the ice and will be a major asset for Bentley University.”
“Springfield has been a great place to play with their awesome fans, and our team has an understanding on what it takes to win. They understand how to back one another up and they understand why they are here. This has been an outstanding experience for me, and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to play and be a member of this team,” Antoni said.
Antoni believes his time in junior hockey and especially with the Springfield Jr. Blues has been invaluable in preparing him to take his game to the next level at Bentley. “The NAHL allows you to grow and mature against some of the best hockey players night in and night out. It teaches you quickly how to handle the responsibility of playing at this level. You have to bring your “A-game” every time you take the ice, because you’re playing against guys who know how to ‘bring it’ every minute of the game. I know I’m a much better goalie now and I am better prepared to be an NCAA goalie because of playing for the Springfield Jr. Blues in the North American Hockey League.”