First year Colorado College head coach Mike Haviland has received a commitment from one of the better 1998-born shutdown defenders in the country. New Jersey Titans 18U defenseman Zachary Berzolla, an affiliate player of the USHL's Muskegon Lumberjacks, announced Monday on Twitter that he'd be playing his college hockey for the Tigers.
Berzolla, who has four goals and three assists in 14 games this season for the Titans in the NAPHL, was one of the more impressive physical blue liners at this July's USA Hockey Select 16 Festival in Amherst, NY. This writer ranked him as the 22nd best defenseman at the camp, but raved about his play in his own end.
22. Zachary Berzolla (#3 Black) 6-2/187 NJ Devils U16 AAA - He's a big physical defenseman who was really strong in the corner. One of the best prototypical shutdown defenders at camp, but struggled reading plays and pushing the puck up ice in transition.
After having seen Berzolla twice since then including at the USHL Atlantic Challenge in September, it is clear that the Howell, NJ native's stock is on the rise. He's big, six-foot-three and solid, and has a lot of upside. His Ontario Hockey League (OHL) rights are owned by the Sudbury Wolves.
Berzolla, who is slated to arrive in Colorado Springs for the 2016-17 season, will likely play a year in the USHL with Muskegon next season. He will join Selects Academy 18U forward Connor Sundquist who announced his verbal commitment to CC last week.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.