The New Jersey 87’s are proud to announce that Matt Anastasio and Tobin Winslow have committed to play NCAA Division III hockey at SUNY Brockport for the 2022-2023 season.
Anastasio is a 20-year-old forward from North Babylon, New York and Winslow is a 21-year-old defenseman from Jacksonville, Florida. Both players joined the 87’s midway through the 2021-22 season and made an immediate impact with the EHL team. Anastasio recorded 35 points (16g, 19a) in 31 games in the regular season, and Winslow notched 12 points (4g, 8a) in 24 games.
Head coach Adam Houli spoke about Anastasio and Winslow committing to Brockport. “They’re both great young men and it’s been a pleasure to have them on our program when they got here. For both to go to coach (Brian) Dickinson and the Brockport team, they’re getting two phenomenal hockey players and two phenomenal human beings. To be honest it’s a really good match for them because coach Brian has done a great job there and he’s getting two impact players now,” he said.
SUNY Brockport is a Division III program located in Brockport, New York. Competing in the State University of New York Athletic Conference, the Golden Eagles are led by head coach Brian Dickinson.
Anastasio, who was the first of the duo to join the 87’s, spoke about committing to Brockport and what the accomplishment means to him.
“It feels really good overall, honestly, I’m still kind of soaking it in. Since the first time I’ve talked to (coach) Brian, I had a good connection with him and going up to see the school and everything, it just really felt like a good fit. Gelled a little bit with some of the guys on the team and I’m real excited to head there next year,” Anastasio said.
Winslow, who made his 87’s debut just a few games after Anastasio, also talked about the prospect of playing collegiate hockey. “It’s awesome, I’ve played hockey my whole life working to play NCAA hockey, and it’s finally there so it feels really good,” Winslow said.
Prior to joining the 87’s, Anastasio and Winslow started the 2021-22 season with the Twin City Thunder of the NCDC and were roommates. After Anastasio joined the 87’s, Winslow said he was convinced to reunite with him in New Jersey. According to the 21-year-old defenseman, the move was worth it.
“It’s honestly been great in each different environment,” Winslow said. “He’s just been a positive guy, fun to be around, easy to chat with and it’s been nice living with him too. I mean, sometimes he beats me in NHL 22 too much, but it happens.”
For Anastasio, having a familiar face on the team meant even better results on the ice.
“It’s really special, we’ve grown really close over the year, and even had some nice chemistry together, especially on the power play that we’ve been working on together throughout the season. But it’s gone really smoothly and we just became really close as players and off the ice as well,” he said.
Shortly after joining the 87’s, Anastasio went on a 10-game point streak and helped jumpstart an offense that was struggling early in the season, turning an eight-game losing streak into a 15-game winning streak. He spoke about his time in New Jersey and how his offensive production surged with the team. “(Adam) Houli and the 87’s have really given me the opportunity to get better, I get plenty of work on the ice day in and day out. The way my line has clicked since we were put together, it’s really helped me excel overall as a player in all aspects of the game,” he said.
Though Winslow’s offensive numbers were not as flashy as Anastasio’s, the Florida native quickly established himself as one of the top two-way defensemen on the team. He credited the coaching staff for preparing him for the collegiate level.
“Coach Houli has been really great with me, working on the specifics of my game. A lot of things that he’s helped me with are things like staying between the dots, making sure you’re always supporting your defense partner, being behind him a lot more, working hard to get back and just these little things that have helped me so much in my growth as a hockey player,” Winslow said.
Houli spoke about their development with the team and why they became important players for the team in the regular season and the upcoming postseason.
“They came here, we cared about them and we knew what we could get out of them and wanted to work with them, and I think they felt that,” Houli said. “They felt confident in their game finally and they had a staff that was willing to work with them and give them every opportunity, and then you could see what they can be as a player. That’s been the fun part from our side is to continue to develop them and get them to the level that they’re going to be ready to play at Brockport next fall.”
The 87’s would like to congratulate Matt and Tobin along with their families, as they get ready to advance their hockey careers to the Division III collegiate level.