MIDDLETOWN – He’s no stranger to the captaincy.
When Tyler Antonnuci was an all-state caliber blue liner at Bergen Catholic (2012-2015) he wore the ‘C’ for the Crusaders.
The following season the Saddle Brook, NJ native was called upon once again to captain an nationally touted North Jersey Avalanche 18U AAA outfit, and led all Atlantic Youth Hockey League defensemen in point production (18) in the process.
After another standout campaign in 2016-17 at the junior hockey level with New Jersey Titans – a year in which he garnered NAHL All-Rookie honors – Anotonucci has once again earned the designation of ‘Captain,’ a decision coach Craig Doremus came to with relative ease, according to the second-year head man.
“Tyler does everything the right way, both on and off the ice, and he’s truly become an extension of the coaching staff,” Doremus said. “He’s a guy who is mature beyond his years. You pair that with his attention to detail and the way he not only prepares himself, but his teammates each day, and it was an easy decision for us to name him our captain…He’s the face of our program, and I couldn’t happier for him and his family.”
A two-way contributor who notched 27 points (5g, 22a) in 48 contests last season, Antonucci is on pace to meet those numbers in 2017-18, as he’s recorded four tallies and five helpers to go with a +4 rating through the Titans first 19 outings.
However, according to the 20-year old pivot, his focus remains on cultivating a positive environment around his club.
“I was new guy last year, and the veterans guys we had on this team did their best to make me feel comfortable,” said Antonucci, who is tied for third in team scoring.
“They helped make me feel at home and led me in the right direction on and off the ice. And that’s exactly what I’m trying to do here. I want to follow in their footsteps and be a good example for the new guys on this team.”
Fellow Titans defenseman Ryan Wheeler and forward Nick Yzaguirre have been named the club’s alternate captains.