BOSTON, MA -- The First Round of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) playoffs has come and gone, with all four series being decided in just two games apiece. While they will go in the books as "sweeps", each matchup was challenging for the four teams that advanced to the Second Round.
WORCESTER, MA -- Blake Wojtala, an alumnus of the New York Applecore and Salve Regina University, has signed a professional contract with the Worcester Railers of the ECHL. The '94 native of Trenton, MI spent the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons with the Applecore. Following his two-year stint in the Eastern Hockey League (EHL), Wojtala became one of the top goaltenders in all of NCAA Division III hockey. He played four seasons for Salve Regina, as he finished his collegiate hockey career as the program's all-time leader in wins (63), saves (2900), save percentage (.927), goals against average (2.32), and shutouts (11).
"I am very excited and proud of Blake Wojtala," said Salve Regina head coach Zech Klann. "He has worked extremely hard throughout his career as a Seahawk for this opportunity to play professionally. Blake is an athlete that came to the rink everyday striving to become a better hockey player. Salve Regina Hockey expects to develop student athletes over their four years as Seahawks so they can have a chance to take their game professionally after working towards a degree. Blake Wojtala will be remembered as a great teammate and competitor. The Salve Regina coaching staff and I look forward to watching this special player develop at the professional ranks." -- Quote from SalveAthletics.com.
There are many performances that standout from Wojtala's NCAA career, but the most notable was the 55 saves he made against the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2018 NCAA Semi-Finals. The Seahawks ultimately fell in the National Championship game last year, but they never would have reached that point if it wasn't for Wojtala.
The EHL would like to congratulate Blake on a fantastic collegiate hockey career, that also included being named the Goalie of the Year twice in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC). We would like to wish Blake the best of luck as he now begins his professional hockey career.
BREWSTER, NY -- Ryan Lieth, a defenseman for the New York Applecore, has committed to SUNY Potsdam for the fall of 2019. The '98 native of Warwick, NY is in his second season with the Applecore, and to date, he's tallied 40 points in 86 career games in the Eastern Hockey League (EHL). Lieth and the Applecore hit the road tomorrow afternoon, as they get set to begin their three-game First Round playoff series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights.
The Knights are looking for revenge in this year's EHL Playoffs, as Lieth and the Applecore took last year's playoff series between the pair of Mid-Atlantic Conference rivals. New York will lean on their All-Star defenseman throughout the weekend, with the hopes of advancing to the Second Round, which would earn the team a matchup with the Philadelphia Little Flyers.
As for Lieth's 2018-19 regular season, the veteran defenseman tallied 20 total points, which is the exact total that he reach in his first year in the EHL (2017-18). As we mentioned before, Lieth represented the Applecore on the league's All-Star Team, and he's now the 14th player in EHL history to commit to join the Bears.
Last year's class of Potsdam commits, included five top players from the EHL:
Lieth will look to contribute the second he arrives on campus this fall, but for now, his first goal is to help his team make some noise in the postseason.
Learn more about the New York Applecore on the team's official website, and check out the full 2018-19 NCAA commitment list.