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Brooks Bandits Duo Commits to UMass

Five players on the current UMass hockey roster hail from Alberta, including leading goal scorer Branden Gracel who is from Calgary.

UMass hockey coach John Micheletto received a pair of commitments from two members of the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Brooks Bandits. Forward Kyler Nachtigall and defenseman Shane Bear both pledged to play their college hockey for the Minutemen.

Nachtigall, a left wing from Calgary, Alberta, is in his first full season with the Bandits after playing midget hockey with the Calgary Northstars organization. He has five goals and 13 assists in 28 games so far this season in the AJHL.

"Kyler is a high energy offensive player. He has good puck skill and a nose for the net," said his junior coach, Ryan Papaioannou. "He skates very well and is great through transition. He's a skill forward that has some size," added the former QMJHL goaltender.

Nachtigall, a '96, will arrive in Amherst for the 2015-2016 season.

Bear is a right shot defenseman who is also from Calgary. The '97 is an undersized defenseman who is known for his ability to step into the offense from the blue line.

"Shane is a puck moving, skating defenseman. He jumps into the rush and runs a power play unit for our team. He's a very intelligent player that understands how to defend, but also has a knack for adding offense," said Papaioannou, the 2013 CJHL Coach of the Year.

Bear has three goals and nine assists in his first season playing in the AJHL. He will come to UMass a year later, joining the team in the fall of 2016.

The pair are playing for a top notch organization. The Bandits won the 2013 RBC Cup as the top junior team in Canada, and the organization has also won back-to-back Dave Duchak trophies as the regular season champions in the AJHL.

Papaioannou said UMass is getting two outstanding student-athletes. "Both are great people. They are strong in school and will become leaders for our club moving forward."

Jeff Cox covers college and junior hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.