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May 11. 2014 7:10PM

UNH hockey’s Justin Agosta heading to Quinnipiac

Justin Agosta is trading in his Wildcats hockey jersey for a Bobcats shirt.

A University of New Hampshire regular on defense the last three years, Agosta wanted to get closer to his home in East Meadow, N.Y., and will play his final season of collegiate hockey for Quinnipiac University of Hamden, Conn., next year.

Agosta and fellow defenseman Eric Knodel did not play as freshmen at UNH and thus each had a year of eligibility remaining.

Knodel, a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, chose to sign with that organization within days of the end of UNH’s season and went to play with the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.

Agosta looked into signing an amateur tryout contract and joining an AHL team, too, but at the last minute an uncle suggested he look into playing another year in college.

The NCAA allows an athlete who has graduated to transfer to another school without sitting out a season.

“It came up late and everything kind of fell into place,” Agosta said on Friday, as he drove home for the weekend. “Quinnipiac is about 55 or 60 minutes from home, compared to about five hours. I haven’t lived at home in about eight or nine years and family can come see me play.

I still have family that hasn’t seen me play. It’s going to be good. Some days I’ll get home for dinner. ”

Agosta had three goals in 16 assists for 19 points in his first two seasons combined and had six goals and 20 assists for 26 points this past year. He was the second-highest scorer among defensemen for UNH and fourth best in Hockey East.

He will graduate with a degree in finance from UNH on Saturday and will pursue a masters in business administration at Quinnipiac.

Leaving UNH will be tough, Agosta said.

“It was a great four years,” he said. “I’m definitely going to miss it. I love coach Umile. We had a great meeting and it got emotional at the end. He understood my thinking and knew I wanted to move on. He knew I wanted a fresh start.”

Quinnipiac, coached by Bedford native Rand Pecknold, played in the NCAA tournament each of the last two seasons. In 2013, the Bobcats advanced to the championship game and lost to ECAC rival Yale, 4-0.

alessels@unionleader.com


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