Ogden Mustangs co-captain Austin Dittenhafer has committed to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for the 2018-19 season.

Dittenhafer set the Mustangs’ single-season points record for a defenseman this season after racking up 13 goals and 39 assists for 52 points in 43 games.

“I’m really excited to be heading to Umass Dartmouth,” Dittenhafer said. “This is an opportunity to fulfill my dream of being a college hockey player. It’s been a long, seven-year junior career, but I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.”

It was a winding junior hockey road for Dittenhafer, starting off in his home state of Pennsylvania. He then played in the prestigious OHL Cup in 2012-13. Next he played for the Hartford Jr. Wolfpack in the EHL for two seasons. In 2015-16 he reached a pinnacle of playing four games for Sioux City in the USHL. After that, he went to the Cheyenne Stampede, making his first impression in the WSHL. At last season’s trade deadline, he came to Ogden and helped the Mustangs big-time in their Thorne Cup Finals playoff run. He picked up right where he left off to start this season.

“There have been a lot of people who have helped me along the way, and I couldn’t thank them enough,” Dittenhafer said. “Most important were the past two years in Ogden, where I met an owner, coach and town that wanted me here to play hockey. The Mustangs and Jake Laime welcomed me in, changed me as a person, and I’m grateful that its given me an opportunity to play at the next level. One final thank you to my parents for supporting throughout this journey. I most definitely could not have done any of it without them. I’m looking forward to starting the next chapter in my hockey career”

Dittenhafer has been the top Mustang defender since arriving in Ogden. He makes the game of hockey look effortless at times with a long, smooth skating stride and ability to move the puck quickly. He also has a rocket of a shot and can play with a big-time physical edge.

UMass Dartmouth is one of five UMass campuses. Dartmouth is located in southern Massachusetts, just 30 minutes outside of Providence, Rhode Island. The UMass Dartmouth hockey program competes in the NCAA Division III MASCAC conference. They went 12-13-3 this season, facing off against a couple of teams with former Mustangs on their rosters: Worcester State and Plymouth State.

The Mustangs continue to lead the WSHL in NCAA placement. They’ve had the highest NCAA placement rate in the Western States Hockey League over the past six seasons. Dittenhafer is the second Mustang from this season’s squad to announce a commitment, joining his fellow co-captain Matus Spodniak, who’ll move to NCAA Division I next season.