Niagara Gazette — Niagara Falls natives Patrick Conte and Vincent Muto are among ten recruits formally introduced Tuesday by the Niagara University hockey team.
Both join the Purple Eagles after spending the 2012-13 season in the United States Hockey League, the nation's top-level junior league.
Conte, who also played from 2008 through 2011 for the Buffalo Junior Sabres in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, skated with the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms last season, where the 22-year-old appeared in 56 games, scoring six goals and five assists.
"Pat is a rugged power forward who is extremely hard to play against," said Niagara assistant coach Tim Madsen in prepared remarks released by the NU athletics department. "He excels in finishing his hits, blocking shots and being a high character player."
Muto, 20, started last season with the USHL's Lincoln Stars but was traded after just two games to the Sioux Falls Stampede. The defenseman appeared in 54 games for the Stampede, scoring four goals and 12 assists.
In the previous season Muto played for the Cowichan Valley Capitals of the British Columbia Hockey League, where he was named Rookie of the Year.
"Vinny is a big, strong and reliable defenseman who comes from the best junior hockey league in North America," said Madsen in released remarks. "We expect Vinny to play in all situations."
The remainder of the recruits are a mix of players from both sides of the border, with two of the Canadians coming in fresh off a league championship. Goaltender Adrian Ignagni, from Mississauga, and forward Stephen Pietrobon, from Toronto, both played leading roles for the St. Michael's Buzzers in their championship run this past spring in the OJHL.
Other Canadian recruits include: defenseman Tyler Akeson (Ottawa native, played for Smiths Falls Bears of the Central Canada Hockey League), center Brock Edwards (Kingston, Ont., played for Carleton Place Canadians in the CCHL) and Jackson Teichroeb (London, Ont., played for the Lincoln Stars of the USHL).
Niagara's American recruits are: Philip Nasca (Cleveland native, played for the Nepean Raiders of the CCHL), Kevin Patterson (Colorado Springs, played for the Topeka Roadrunners of the North American Hockey League) and Thomas Sarcona (West Islip, played for the Amarillo Bulls of the NAHL).
The Purple Eagles open their 2013-14 season on Oct. 5, when they host Clarkson at Dwyer Arena.