Middletown North sniper Khristian Acosta emerged in 2015 as not only one of the top talents in the Shore Conference, but in the state of New Jersey, and that fact was confirmed earlier this summer when the winger announced his commitment to play Division I hockey at Quinnipiac University.
“To have my decision made is really exciting,” said Acosta, who led the State Championship winning Lions with 74 points on 32 goals and 42 assists. “I’ve strived to play Division I college hockey. It’s always been the goal of mine. And being able to play at Quinnipiac is a dream come true.”
According to Acosta, who also received a scholarship offers from Boston University, Northeastern, Vermont, and the University of New Hampshire (home to both James and Trevor vanRiemsdyk), when Quinnipiac came around, it was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.
“The other schools I was considering made great offers to me but Quinnipiac was always my first choice, and they made my decision an easy one. I couldn’t resist,” Acosta said of the Bobcats, who have made three consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament since 2013. “As well as being a great school with a great hockey program, it’s a place I know I’ll be comfortable both on and off the ice.”
That comfort is derived from the familiarity Acosta will have with several of his future Bobcats teammates.
As well as starring at Middletown North, Acosta is also a top point producer for the New Jersey Hitmen, one of the top travel hockey programs in New Jersey and a nationally revered Tier III Junior A club that boasts 198 past and present players with collegiate commitments and five alumni with NHL contracts.
Including Acosta, the Hitmen have had six players sign with Quinnipiac in recent years, including 2015 grads Alex Whelan (who scored two goals for Ramsey against Acosta and the Lions in the state finals), and James Callahan of Morristown-Beard.
Potentially making the transition from Middletown to the Hamden, Connecticut based campus that much smoother for Acosta will be the possible presence of former CBA products and Hitmen standouts Connor and Tim Clifton, who completed their sophomore seasons with the Bobcats in 2015. Though the NHL could be soon be calling for both, as Connor is the property of the Arizona Coyotes (who made him a fifth round pick in 2013), and Tim was a development camp invitee of the Montreal Canadiens earlier this summer.
“The Cliftons are good friends of mine,” Acosta said of the Matawan brothers. “I’ve had the opportunity to play with Timmy for the Hitmen, and Connor is like an older brother to me. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to play with them.”
According to Acosta, he does plan to return to Middletown North for his senior season, stating “I want to work on my grades and get another shot at a state title.” But before he does that, the winger is preparing to play with other Class A North and B North talents in the inaugural Asbury Park Press All-Star Hockey Classic at Middletown Ice World on Aug. 23.
“It’ll be lots of fun playing with the best guys from the area,” Acosta said. “And I’m really looking forward to skating with (Middletown North captain) Tom Terranova. He’s a great leader and it’ll be fun playing with him in the high school setting one last time.”
The Details: Presented by Trinity Financial Sports & Entertainment Management, and sponsored by Avon Pond, Beacon Awards & Signs, and the New Jersey Devils, the Asbury Park Press invites fans to join the festivities at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 23 for this fundraising all-star event.
Tickets for the inaugural APP All-Star Hockey Classic are $10 and will be available at Middletown Ice World on the day of the event, which will feature a free autograph session by former NHL players like Grant Marshall of the New Jersey Devils and Nicholas Fotiu of the New York Rangers.
The event will help raise money and awareness for the JBJ Soul Kitchen, a community-based nonprofit program operated by the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, which has dining locations in Red Bank and Toms River.
The JBJ Soul Kitchen will be the beneficiary of a charity raffle held on site with 100 percent of proceeds going to the program. Raffle items will include autographed memorabilia from NHL, NFL, and MLB greats — including a signed Devils team stick, and autographed Ken Daneyko and Grant Marshall jerseys — among other prizes.
A portion of funds raised by ticket and program sales will also be donated to the JBJ Soul Kitchen.
The JBJ Soul Kitchen was established in 2011 by Garden State rocker and philanthropist Jon Bon Jovi, and founded on the idea that no one should be without a hot and nutritious meal, regardless of their financial situation. With that notion in mind, the JBJ Soul Kitchen’s menu has no prices, instead asking its customer to pay a minimum donation, or to volunteer their time in exchange for a meal.
Stay with the Press and APP.com in the upcoming weeks for more information. If you are interested in getting involved in the inaugural Asbury Park Press Hockey Classic, contact hockey beat writer Chris Rotolo at firstname.lastname@example.org.