Three more New Jersey Junior Titans players, including the captain of last year’s Atlantic Junior Hockey League team, are off to play college hockey.
Defenseman Cameron Bregenzer has played in the Junior Titans organization since he was a youngster and was captain of his last three teams. He is headed to Johnson and Wales University, a NCAA Division 3 program based in Providence, R.I.
Goalie Caleb Neal is going to the University of Rhode Island, which plays in the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association, a Division 1 conference of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
Forward Anthony Stempin will play for Northland College, a NCAA Division 3 program in Ashland, Wis. Stempin was the Junior Titansâ€™ second-leading scorer last season with 15 goals and 21 assists, good for 36 points, in 38 games.
Junior Titans assistant coach Randy Walker said Bregenzer was â€œall you want in a captain.â€
â€œHe’s undersized (5-feet-11-inches, 175 pounds), but tough as nails,â€ Walker said. â€œHe’s a two-way player who can move the puck and will sacrifice his body to block shots.â€
As for Bregenzerâ€™s captainâ€™s duties, â€œCameron had control of the locker room and he was a positive, vocal guy,â€ Walker said. â€œHe also led by example. He was the first guy on the ice and the last one off the ice at practice.â€
Bregenzer had two goals and six assists in 43 games last season. His 61 penalty minutes was second on the team behind defenseman Chris Pantaleo, who had 62.
Walker said Bregenzer, from Hopewell, N.J., is the first ex-Junior Titan to play for Johnson and Wales.
Ben Hammock, who coaches the Junior Titansâ€™ team in the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League team, was a captain at Rhode Island when he played there. He helped Neal, from Columbia, Mo., land a spot with the Rams.
â€œCaleb was a model billet player for us,â€ Walker said. â€œHe provided a good veteransâ€™ presence and took rookies under his wing. He’ll do well at Rhode Island.â€
Neal was 4-9-1 in 19 games last season with a 3.34 goals-against average, .906 save percentage, and the team’s lone shutout.
The 6-feet, 180-pounder played in the Junior Titans organization for two years after coming from the Springfield Jr. Blues of the North American Hockey League.
Stempin was with the Junior Titans for one season. The Livonia, Mich., nativeâ€™s previous stop was in Alaska with Kenai River of the NAHL.
â€œAnthony makes his living in front of the net. He scores a lot of goals in that tough area,â€ Walker said.
– by Steve Stein
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