BUFFALO, NY - Sep 22, 2015 : Ontario Junior Hockey League game action between Newmarket and Buffalo at the Showcase, Zach Evancho #19 follows the play during the first period. (Photo by Brian Watts / OJHL Images)

PHOTO: Brian Watts / OJHL Images

Buffalo Jr. Sabres captain Zach Evancho has announced his commitment to play Division-1 hockey for the United States Military Academy. Evancho will join the Army Black Knights beginning with the 2016-17 season.

For Evancho, he said the decision to commit to West Point came down to a little more than hockey.

“It’s a chance to be a part of something that’s bigger than myself,” he said.

“The schooling is exceptional; the coaching staff and players were great to me,” Evancho added.

Evancho, a 20-year-old Derby, NY native, will be the first in fhis family to attend West Point.

He credits his best friend, who currently plays Division-1 hockey at Air Force, with helping him on his decision to commit to the United States Military Academy.

“It’s the chance of a lifetime,” Evancho said.

Evancho is in his second season with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres’ OJHL team. Evancho has registered eight points in as many games this season; his four goals and four assists are tied for the team lead in those respective categories.

In addition, his three power-play points are tied for most on the team.

Last season, Evancho was tied for fourth in scoring on the team with 35 points in 37 games. He registered 18 goals and 17 assists, with nearly a third of his points coming on special teams. He also registered three points – all assists – in seven games against the Georgetown Raiders in the first round of the OJHL playoffs.

He was named captain of the Jr. Sabres prior to the 2015-2016 OJHL season.

Prior to joining the Jr. Sabres, Evancho spent several years playing with the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL. He also previously played for the U18 Jr. Sabres club, as well as the U16 Buffalo Regals.

Although he’s looking forward to joining the Black Knights, Evancho’s focus is – and remains – on the Jr. Sabres season.

“We’ve got a great group of guys in there,” he said. “I know I can count on this team to be there for me, and they can count on me.”

“It’s still a long season ahead,” Evancho noted. “We’re only eight games into it, but we’re going to turn it around fast.”