It’s kind of a good thing that it takes about four and a half hours to drive each way between Hanover, N.H., and Wayne, N.J.
After all, that gave first-year New Jersey Hitmen defenseman Tyler Borsch and his father plenty of time to talk through everything they knew about Dartmouth College and how that school could help Tyler both academically and athletically.
“I did visit Monday, but it was an unofficial visit. I went up there, and I really liked the campus and it felt like home,” said Borsch. “On the car ride back, my Dad and I talked things over and came to the decision.”
Borsch, a 2000-born Maple Grove, Minn., resident, made his commitment to Dartmouth for 2020-21 official on Tuesday, and he becomes the third current member of the Hitmen to hold a commitment to the Big Green program. Borsch joins fellow defenseman Tanner Palocsik and forward Greg Koutsomitis as Dartmouth recruits skating for the Wayne-based Hitmen.
“It was definitely a big accomplishment for me [to commit], and I’m happy, but I still have a whole season ahead of me to play and I still have to prove myself,” said Borsch, who had nine points through 13 games.
The Hitmen defense has certainly proven itself over and over again. They currently lead the league in lowest goals against (1.93) and no other NDC team comes within a half a goal of that number. The Hitmen feature three returning players on the blue line and four blueliners now have Division 1 commitments.
“Tyler is a smooth-skating defenseman that defends and distributes the puck as well as any D in the NCDC,” said head coach Toby Harris. “He rarely gets himself into trouble with the puck and uses his speed to join the play and add offense from the back end. Dartmouth is getting a complete defenseman that has the ability to be an academic and athletic All-American in the future.”
“I play simple. I feel like I’m reliable and good at breakouts,” added Borsch. “I’m good at passing, and that kind of goes with how the Hitmen play. We play a simple game - go north, get to the net - so it kind of goes hand in hand.”
The Hitmen’s and Big Green’s gain was the USHL’s loss, after Borsch was a late cut from the Tri-City Storm just before the start of their season.
“From Minnesota, I heard good things about the Hitmen and their staff from my advisor. Ultimately, I did want to go to a good academic school on the East Coast and I felt like coming out here would give me the best chance to do so,” said Borsch. “Obviously things worked out for the best.”
He also gets a chance to develop alongside his fellow future Big Green members, although he and Palocsik play on different defensive pairings.
“It definitely helped. I’m good friends with both of the guys, and it’s good knowing that when I go there, they’ll be on the team with me,” said Borsch.
He’s a game over a third of the way through the 2018-19 season, and with a lot of hockey to be played this year (and next year), he certainly has a lot of items for improvement on his checklist.
“I’d just like to get stronger, get bigger, put on a few pounds, [work on] a harder shot,” said Borsch. “I feel like the rest of this year and next year will help me a lot.”
Academically, Borsch certainly has the credentials for Dartmouth College, graduating with a 3.85 grade point average from Maple Grove High School last spring. As for a focus for his academic future, he will be making that decision over the next two to three years.
“I still have to decide on what major I want to go into,” he said. “Just knowing Dartmouth as an Ivy League school, I know when I graduate from there, the opportunities will be endless for me.”