Julianna Iafallo and Allison Gasuik have known for quite a while they were going to take their hockey talents to Ohio State, but on Monday morning they made it official.
The two hockey stars along with four other Nichols senior athletes signed their respective Division I and II letters of intent during a ceremony at Dann Memorial Rink.
“It feels real, finally signing,” said Iafallo, a center who has recorded 40 goals and 75 points over the last two seasons with Nichols and the Tier I Buffalo Bisons travel teams. “Sealing the deal feels amazing.”
Iafallo and Gasuik are among five Nichols girls hockey players who will play Division I hockey next season. They along with Madison Sansone (Providence), Annika Zalewski (Colgate) and Brandy Streeter (Union) are the latest Western New Yorkers to earn the dream. There are currently six Buffalo-area females playing Division I hockey – including two of Iafallo’s and Gasuik’s ex-teammates: Maddie Elia (Boston University) and Kelly Seward (Penn State).
“I just can’t describe it,” said Gasuik, who’s amassed 76 goals and 140 points the last three seasons with Nichols and the Bisons. “It’s a dream come true.”
Lacrosse players Margaret Janiga and Greg White also signed on the dotted lines during Monday’s ceremony.
Having five players from one hockey team earn the Division I dream is, as Sansone summed up: “a really big deal.”
“It shows how much of a program there is here. … It’s impressive,” said Sansone, a speedy forward who has developed quite the scoring touch the last three seasons (59 goals 113 points).
Zalewski, who moved to the area from Utica to attend Nichols, comes from a hockey family with three older brothers who have played Division I. One of her siblings, Steven, played seven games with the New Jersey Devils during the 2011-12 season.
Streeter, who was unable to attend the ceremony, has been an anchor on the Vikings’ defense, executing the assignment of shutting down the opposing teams’ top lines since her sophomore season.
White, a midfielder who has recorded 694 goals and 129 assists the past three seasons, signed with reigning Division II national champion LeMoyne.
Janiga, a three-sport athlete who also plays field and ice hockey, will take her goaltending talents to NAIA School Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio. She has played and played well at various national-level tournaments.
“It’s the next step in my education,” said Janiga, whose older sister, Emily, currently plays Division I hockey at Mercyhurst. “It’s a huge day for me.”