The New Jersey 87's are excited to announce that Zach Tarantino has committed to play Division III hockey at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for the 2020-21 season.
Tarantino is a 20-year-old forward from Wall, N.J. and is a two-year veteran of the 87's EHL team. Last year in the team's inaugural season in the Eastern Hockey League, Tarantino recorded 46 points (19g, 27a) in 42 games as a rookie. This year he recorded 51 points (21g, 30a) in 40 regular-season games. In his 82-game career with the 87's, Tarantino has established himself as the current franchise leader in goals (40), assists (57) and points (97).
"I’d be lying if I said it isn’t cool to find out that I am the team’s leading scorer. I would like to thank the refs for all of the ghost points they gave me," Tarantino quipped about his career numbers.
When he wasn't racking up points on the scoresheet, Tarantino would find other ways to spend time at the rink. That usually involved officiating men's league games or volunteering as the scorekeeper for the 87's Premier team. Head coach Adam Houli spoke about Tarantino's two years with the 87's, and how he grew with the organization both on and off the ice.
"He is more than the most dynamic play maker we have ever seen here in the 87’s history; he is generally one of the greatest persons off the ice. It was truly an awesome experience to watch him play and develop over the two years here and he could not have earned this commitment anymore," Houli said. "Zach could have chosen to play hockey in college right out of school at the club level but he knew deep down he wanted to be an NCAA hockey player. With this commitment he now is exactly what he wanted to be."
UMass Dartmouth is a Division III program located in Dartmouth, Mass. Competing in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Corsairs are led by head coach Erik Noack.
Tarantino spoke about his commitment to the program while expressing gratitude to the 87's organization for getting him ready for the next level.
"Just to commit in general is something every player dreams of and I’m super happy that I was able to do that, but for it to be UMass Dartmouth gets me especially excited, he said. "The 87's program means so much to me I owe everything to coach (Adam) Houli and coach Matty (Kiernan). They took me in two years ago and have taught me so much not only about hockey but also about doing the right things off the ice. For anyone deciding where to play next year I couldn’t think of any two better people to play for because as much as they want to win (and we win a lot) they want to see their players succeed in life just as much. If you put the work in they will do everything they can to help you move on to wherever it is you want to go."
Tarantino also made sure to give thanks to his family for helping him throughout his hockey career. "I also want to thank my parents for everything they’ve done for me in hockey from driving me all through youth to watching every game in juniors," he said.
The 87's would like to congratulate Zach and his family as he gets ready to advance his hockey career to the Division III collegiate level.
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