By Warren Kozireski —
Matthew Coronato, Charlie McAvoy, Tage Thompson, Shane Pinto, Marshall Warren, Robert Mastrosimone and Sonny Milano are familiar names as either NHL players or high draft picks hailing from the Long Island region.
Though not drafted, Copiague Harbor native Ross Mitton has used his junior season at Colgate to explode offensively while helping the Raiders earn home ice for the first round of the ECAC playoffs.
After scoring one goal his shortened freshman season and five as a sophomore, Mitton ended the regular season with eight goals and more than doubled his assist total from one year ago with 17.
“Honestly I’ve just been trying to be consistent and focusing on the little things; getting pucks to the net, play a strong defensive game getting the puck out and I’ve been playing really well with (linemates Alex) DiPaolo and (Matt) Veboon and we’ve been able to create a lot of offense and it’s been fun,” Mitton said.
Mitton started with the Long Island Royals for two years and then two more with the New Jersey Avalanche before heading to the USHL. In his first year with Fargo, the Force won the Clark Cup championship, but it wasn’t until the second half of his third year in the league (2019-20) that he found more success in the offensive zone with 11 goals and 27 points in 340 games with Omaha prior to coming to college.
“There is definitely a bunch of us in college hockey and, when we go home in the summer, we all train together and skate together and obviously when we play each other, we try to go hard, but it’s definitely fun with big friendships on all these other teams,” Mitton said about Long Island players.
Mitton uses his speed and, despite his 5’10”, 185 lb. frame, is often found hanging around the net in the attacking zone. He is seeing both power play and penalty kill unit time with the Raiders this season as well.
“(Coach) definitely wants me to shoot more; I think I could have a couple more goals if I decided to shoot the puck, but I was trying to look for my teammates backdoor.
Mitton has direct family to thank for getting him involved in hockey at a young age.
“My uncle (John Osei-Tutu) played growing up and I always watched him play and used to get on the ice with him a bunch. He was navigating with me trying to get me on different teams and such and then he became a hockey agent for pretty much all the guys on Long Island and some around the country, so I look up to him.”
Mitton also has ties to former Buffalo Sabres forward and now San Jose General Manager Mike Grier.
“I played in an all-minority tournament in the summer a couple of years ago and he called me and wanted me to join them and we were able to win that tournament, which was very cool and a cool experience because I had never played with an all-minority team before. And I still talk to a bunch of those guys today.”
The junior Economics major after hockey envisions himself working on Wall St. And has one of the more unique stories as to how he chose to wear his uniform number (17)?
“I had a dog—a Yorkie named Taffy—and was my dog for a very long time, and he died in my arms when he was 17 years old, so that’s why I wear 17.”
(Colgate Hockey Photo)