Reese Farrell of the Maine Nordiques tries to skate away from a Northeast Generals’ Carson Asper in a NAHL game earlier this season at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. Ron Morin

Reese Farrell got off to a blazing start to his junior hockey career this fall.

The 19-year-old Auburn native scored in each of his first four games in a Maine Nordiques uniform and added two assists in that time frame. His fast start raised the eyebrows of the coaching staff at Army. On Tuesday night, Farrell gave his college commitment to Army.

Farrell will join the Black Knights program which is a member of the Division I Atlantic Hockey conference — in the fall of 2022. He’s undecided on what he will study while at the US Military Academy in West Point, New York.

“It was three or so games in, I talked to them on our bus ride back from Johnstown and we got in contact and everything took off right there,” Farrell said. “They thought (I was a right fit) and they gave the offer.”

The Nordiques were in Johnstown on Oct. 1617, but Farrell wanted to take his time before giving his commitment to the program. Farrell said he reached out to 25 to 30 people on what he should do. One of the people he talked to was Maine Nordiques Academy 18U goaltender Ansel “Gus” Holt, who committed to Army in October.

At first, Farrell didn’t realize the opportunity he had with the offer from Army and didn’t have any family connections who served in the Army or in the military.

“(Off) the bat, 95% of the people come back and tell you: ‘Hey, you are set for life, that’s a tremendous opportunity.’ You get this feeling, the desire to kind of go to that school,” Farrell said.

Reese Farrell of the Maine Nordiques battles for the puck in a game against the Johnstown Tomahawks earlier this month at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.

Farrell spoke to the Nordiques coaching staff, including associate head coach Matt Pinchevsky, who was coached by Army head coach Brian Riley at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota in the late 90s.

“The impact (Riley) had on me as a player at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, I really wanted to let Reese know if you were being recruited by the No. 1 preseason-ranked NCAA team, that’s fine and great. I am sure there’s reasons they there. But as far as playing for a good man, excellent mentor and leader and an icon in New England college hockey, even in the pro circles, the Riley family, what they do in the game is special.”

Riley’s father Jack Riley was the head coach for the 1960 USA Olympic Team that won the gold medal and coached Army from 1950-86.

Things have cooled off on the scoresheet for Farrell after the six points in four games to start the season, as he has five goals and four assists in 16 total games.

Farrell, who was a star as a freshman at St. Dominic Academy as he led the Saints with 10 goals and 25 assists in 18 games in the 2015-16 season, feels like he is still being a contributor to the Nordiques (11-6-0, 22 points) on the ice.

“It started better than I was expecting,” Farrell said of his first season with the Nordiques. “I started hot and if I am being completely honest, I think I have played some of my best hockey recently, even though the point (total) doesn’t show it.”

Pinchevsky felt Farrell carried his offensive game over from his final prep hockey season last year with Northfield Mount Hermon School in Gill, Mass.

“I think he’s someone who brings a certain expectation and standard to his game,” Pinchevsky said. “As far as ability goes, he makes more offensively potent and there are a lot of lessons to be learned in junior hockey. The more he soaks up, the better it will prepare him for when he hits West Point’s campus and playing in their rink.”

Pinchevsky believes that Farrell has a bright future with the Nordiques and at Army. He believes Farrell has gotten better at winning the competitive battles, like winning 50-50 pucks and battling in the corners.

Farrell has been in touch with Army associate head coach Zach McKelvie, who told Farrell that the coaching staff expects Farrell to be a key contributor with the Black Knights team. The Army staff doesn’t see too many holes in Farrell’s game.

The big thing is getting as much junior hockey games he can for the remainder of the 2020-21 season and the 2021-22 season.

Auburn native Reese Farrell who plays for the Maine Nordiques skates along the boards at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. Ron Morin

“It’s definitely the experience aspect, getting as many games under (my) belt as possible,” Farrell said. “Nothing is changing from my standpoint; I am always going to put in the work on and off the ice. I am going to carry my character and pride with me and just continue to develop and gain experience from the league.”

After his freshman season with the Saints, Farrell played two seasons at North Yarmouth Academy from 2016-18 (28 goals and 15 assists in 56 games) and another two seasons of prep hockey at Northfield Mount Hermon (17 goals and 44 assists in 56 games) from 2018-2020.

Farrell was the first pick by the Nordiques in the North American Hockey League supplemental draft this past summer. He was also a draft pick of the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft in 2017.

Farrell becomes the third player for the Nordiques NAHL squad to commit to a Division I school this season, joining Tyler Gaulin (University of Maine) and Isaiah Fox (Long Island University). The team has had six players with Division I commitments to suit up this season as Ignat Belov (University of Connecticut), Aidan Connolly (Sacred Heart University) and Jack Kurrle (University of Vermont) committed prior to joining the Nordiques.

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