Odessa forward Somoza makes NCAA commitment
February 12, 2018
The Odessa Jackalopes of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) are proud to announce that forward Evan Somoza has committed to play NCAA Division III hockey for Utica College, beginning in the 2018-19 season. Utica College are members of the United Collegiate Hockey Conference.
“I had a really good connection with Coach Heenan at Utica from the beginning,” says Somoza. “Utica also has high academic standards and the smaller class settings brings a more personal attention to my academic progress.”
Somoza, 20, has had an outstanding season to this point, leading the Jacks in all three major categories with 15 goals and 31 assists for 46 points.
“We’re very happy for Evan,” says head coach Greg Gatto. “It’s a extremely well deserved commitment. He’s a great player who knows how to win. Somoza’s going to great program that will help him advance his career both on and off the ice”.
The native of Simi Valley, California joined the Jackalopes roster this season. Before coming to Odessa, Somoza started out with the California Titans in the NAPHL, playing three seasons in the league from 2012-15. During his time with the Titans, he played in 60 career NAPHL games and had 63 career points.
He later would break into the NAHL two years ago with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Somoza won a Robertson Cup championship with Fairbanks in 2015-16, but was traded to the Northeast Generals before last season. Midway through last year, Somoza was traded to the Johnstown Tomahawks for their playoff run down the stretch.
At 6’0/170lbs., Somoza’s game has soared to new heights when he joined the combination of Peyton Frantti and Ricky Carballo. Somoza has the ability to play center, but has thrived more on the wing.
“There is definitely some relief now knowing I have somewhere to play next year,” explains Somoza. “Now I can just play my game and focus on finishing this season on a strong note”.
Somoza is approaching his 150th career game, and should surpass the mark on March 2nd when the team heads to Corpus Christi to take on the IceRays. Over his first 147 games, Somoza has accumulated 37 goals and 59 assists for a total of 96 points.
Somoza will be the second Jackalope to enter Utica College, following Tyler Pietrowski who currently dons Pioneers’ navy and orange after committing last season.