The Wenatchee Wild, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), have announced that goaltender Robert Nichols (Dallas, Texas), who broke two single-season NAHL records as a rookie, has committed to Division I UConn for the 2013-14 season.
"I'm relieved," said Nichols, who noted that he would like to return for a second season with the Wild in 2012-13. "It felt great to get [the commitment] done. They're very interested in me, and I felt very comfortable."
Named to the NAHL All-Rookie 2nd Team Tuesday, Nichols owned a 24-6-4 record in 2011-12. He set new NAHL single-season standards in goals-against average (1.49) and shutouts (10).
"We're obviously very excited for Robbie," said Wild assistant coach Chris Clark. "He definitely deserves it."
The NAHL named Nichols goalie of the month in January and March. He went 4-2 with three shutouts in January with a goals-against average of 1.18 and a save percentage of .949. He went 5-1-1 in March with three shutouts, a goals-against average of 1.12 and a save percentage of .942.
Nichols was honored as one of the NAHL's three starts of the week on four occasions in 2011-12: March 12 (second star), Feb. 27 (third star), Jan. 17 (first star), Sept. 27 (third star).
Nichols, who is leaning toward a major in Civil Engineering, is the third member from this year's Wild team to commit to UConn. Defenseman Kyle Huson (Parker, Colo.) and center Shawn Pauly (Bellingham, Wash.) committed to the Huskies in January and April, respectively.
The Huskies, who compete in the Atlantic Hockey Association (AHA), are under the direction of 24-year head coach Bruce Marshall. UConn went 16-19-4 in 2011-12 before being knocked out of the AHA quarterfinals by Air Force.
Nichols is the ninth player on the Wild's active roster to commit to a Division I school this season. The others are: Huson and Pauly (UConn), Ben Carey and Blake Saylor (Air Force), Matt Cope (Robert Morris University), Greg Lewis (Clarkson University), Blake Roubos (Niagara University) and Kyle Vogel (Army).