New Jersey goalie Perrone makes NCAA DI commitment
May 14, 2019
The New Jersey Titans of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) are pleased to announce that goaltender Brandon Perrone has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey at the University of Alaska Anchorage for the 2019-20 season.
Perrone is a 20-year old goaltender from Smithtown, New York and is a three-year NAHL veteran of the Titans. Throughout his tenure in New Jersey, he has forged the record book in just about every category, while being an active member of the community off the ice.
In 90 career games with the Titans, Perrone has a record of 41-32-9 while posting a save percentage of .916 and a goals against average of 2.93. He also has five shutouts while amassing 5,031 minutes played. Perrone spoke about his accomplishment and what it means to him.
"It definitely feels like a weight was taken off my shoulders. I have been playing juniors for five years to achieve the goal of playing Division I hockey, which was a dream of mine since I was five years old, so I couldn’t be more excited," Perrone said. "To go to a school like the University of Alaska Anchorage makes it even better. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to live in Alaska and play hockey there and not many people can say that. I’m very excited for the opportunity and I feel very fortunate."
Perrone is another great example of the NA3HL to NAHL ladder of development success story. Perrone broke into junior hockey with the Texas Brahmas of the NA3HL during the 2015-16, playing in 27 games that season, also making his NAHL debut with the Lone Star Brahmas that season. He also played in the 2016 NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament that season.
At the start of the 2016-17 season, Perrone made it to the final all-star game in the Titans' main camp, but did not make the final roster. He started the year with the Long Island Royals of the NA3AHL and was called up for his Titans debut on October 22, 2016. He played in the third period and stopped all eight shots he faced in an 11-4 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights.
Titans head coach Craig Doremus, who also finished his third season in New Jersey, spoke about Perrone and how special it is to see him grow from his debut in 2016 to earning that long-awaited Division I commitment.
"Brandon is one of the guys who has been here for three years with me. He has grown with the program and will always hold a special place in my heart. I could not be more happy or proud of him. He has continued to work hard and improve despite having the odds against him," Doremus said. "He means a great deal to everyone who is associated with our franchise. Fellow players, staff, volunteers, fans and friends. BP has found a way to make a positive impact on all those around him. His work ethic, compassion and drive have been infectious for all those he encountered."
The road to Division I hockey did not come easy for Perrone, and as Doremus put it throughout the season, it came with the peaks and valleys of junior hockey. In the 2017-18 season, Perrone was among the league leaders with a .926 save percentage and a record of 15-9-7, earning him a trip to the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. In the offseason, he served as a fill-in at the New Jersey Devils rookie camp, making acrobatic saves on future NHLers such as Brett Seney and Max Veronneau.
Just when everything seemed to go right for Perrone, he stumbled out of the gate in the regular season, losing five of his first seven starts. By the end of the 2018 season, he had a record of 6-8-0 while sporting a 3.90 goals against average and a .895 save percentage. Doremus, as a result, turned to Matt Ladd as the team's number one goaltender.
What others did not know at the time, Brandon's mother, Michelle, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and required an operation. As the holiday break drew near for the Titans, Perrone stepped away from the team to be with his family.
"I think everything changed for me when I went home for my mom’s ovarian cancer surgery. I missed a weekend and got to spend time with my family and just not worry about hockey," Perrone said. "That’s all I thought about and I was wearing myself out. I needed to start enjoying hockey again and understanding that was huge for me. I was able to find a great balance in that. I needed to make sure I got everything done that I needed to to get my body prepared to be at the highest level."
By the time 2019 rolled around, Brandon's mother had recovered from a successful surgery while Ladd had left the team to play Division I hockey for Canisius, leaving the starter's role up for grabs. In response, Perrone finished the second half of the season with a 10-8-2 record, along with a 2.74 GAA and .924 save percentage.
In the postseason, he guaranteed the team would dig itself out of an 0-2 hole against the Jamestown Rebels in a best-of-five series, and backed it up by making 100 saves on 104 shots in Games 3-5, completing an incredible reverse sweep for the team's second ever playoff series win.
"Brandon deserves a ton of credit for his resurgence. He faced adversity at the rink and in his personal life and he didn't let it deter him. It inspired him to be better and work harder," Doremus said of Perrone's roller-coaster season. "He is a player whose legacy will last forever in the Titans' franchise, and his impact in Middletown is legendary. Players and fans alike will talk about him for many years to come, and we can't wait to follow his college career and hope he comes back to visit our club many times."
In addition to his on-ice accolades, Perrone left his mark in the Middletown community off the ice. He was at the forefront of the Titans' anti-bullying program by visiting numerous schools throughout Monmouth County and was a big contributor to the team's collaboration with the Blessing Bag Brigade. He also served as a mentor for goalies in the Titans' youth hockey program. As a result, Perrone established himself as a fan favorite while earning the 2018-19 NAHL’s Community Service Award.
Through his work ethic, perseverance and off-ice work, Perrone has set the standard for what it means to be a New Jersey Titan. When talking about his growth both as a player and person over the last three years, he credited all of those around him for his success.
"My three years with the Titans have been amazing. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. From my first year not even making it, to the final all star game at main camp, to being on the team a few months later was crazy," he said. "Playing for New Jersey really helped me develop as a player and teammate. and I was lucky enough to have great coaches and goalie coaches as well. Having a great team three years in a row makes it more fun too. The fans were always so supportive which made playing here extra special as well and I would like to thank the whole Titans organization and my teammates and the fans for everything. I wouldn’t be here without them."