Draft

Players of the Month

March

Forward of the Month

Forward of the Month: Darian Romanko - Minnesota Wilderness

Darian Romanko

An 8-1-1 record in the month of March had the Minnesota Wilderness rolling into the NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs as the #2 seed in the Midwest Division. Wilderness forward Darian Romanko, stood out among his peers as the 19-year-old from Shoreview, Minnesota, put together his best month of the season. Of the 41 points that Romanko (6’1/195) recorded during the regular season, 13 of them came during the month of March, which included eight goals and five assists. Three of his eight goals during the month where game-winning goals. Romanko recorded at least a point in all but one of the 10 games he played during the month and he finished the regular season on a season-high six-game point streak. Romanko finished the season with 41 points, which ranked tied for 3rd on the Wilderness roster and his 20 goals ranked 2nd. “Darian has played for us all year long, but you could see it come together during the month of March. He is a gifted goal scorer, so when he shoots the puck he is very effective,” said Wilderness head coach Corey Millen. “I think once he got used to the first year rigors of playing junior hockey, he really showed that he was a guy who developed into a very good junior player very quickly and hopefully if he keeps developing at the pace he his, that will lead to an opportunity to play in the NCAA.”

As for Romanko, he echoed Millen’s thoughts about developing as a hockey player. “I think growing up playing high school hockey in Minnesota, you are used to playing a certain way and only in a limited number of games. Moving to the NAHL was a big jump and transition and learning experience the first couple of months, but learning from Coach Millen has been great and once I finally got used to the pace of the game and the physicality, I think I started to settle in,” said Romanko. “I have really enjoyed my time with the Wilderness. We have a team that is capable of doing well in the playoffs, but our division is very tough. It really has taught me that every game is valuable. I have enjoyed staying close to home and hope that I can continue to contribute and help the team and then from there hopefully I can play college hockey in the future.”

Runner-Up: Jordan Heller, Aberdeen Wings

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Alec Butcher, Kenai River Brown Bears – Jay Dickman, Austin Bruins – Brett Gervais, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Robin Hoglund, Janesville Jets – Russ Jordan, Brookings Blizzard – Eetu Karvinen, Minnesota Magicians – Tyler Ledford, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Michael Louria, Minot Minotauros – Aleksi Luhtalampi, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Wes Michaud, Corpus Christi IceRays – Tyler Poulsen, Topeka RoadRunners – Mike Severson, Springfield Jr. Blues – Bryan Yim, Port Huron Fighting Falcons.

 

Defenseman of the Month

Defenseman of the Month: Jake Horton - Aberdeen Wings

Jake Horton

For the second straight month, Aberdeen Wings defenseman Jake Horton, 19, has been named the NAHL Defenseman of the Month. T The native of Plymouth, Minnesota native helped the Wings to a perfect 10-0 record during the month as they finished in 2nd place in the Central Division, one point behind the Austin Bruins. Horton (5’11/190), a UMass recruit, tied for the NAHL lead for defensemen with 11 points in the month of March, which included three goals and eight assists. He also was an amazing +14 during the month. Horton registered a point in seven of the 10 games during the month and went a stretch of four straight games in which he had two points in each of the four. Horton’s 21 goals was one behind the team lead leads the Wings roster in scoring and his 46 points ranked 3rd. Horton ranks tops among all NAHL defensemen with his 21 goals and his 46 points ranked 2nd. “Jake has been great for us all year.  Our defensemen have done a great job developing and his leadership is a big reason why.  He’s consistent, he’s reliable and he’s leading us right now into the playoffs,” said Wings head coach Travis Winter. “There is a reason Jake is our captain and he will be an impact player at the next level of hockey in the NCAA.”

“I think the team has had a philosophy of getting better as the year goes along and I have tried to subscribe to that as well. We want to get stronger and better so that by the end of the season, we are playing our best hockey. That is a credit to Coach Winter because it happened last year and continued this season,” said Horton. “We respect Bismarck and know when it comes to playoff time, they are going to be a tough team to beat. We look at it as Game #61. We just want to continue to keep playing better as an extension of how we finished the regular season. I couldn’t be more excited for the challenge and we have to go out there and play hard every shift.”

Runner-Up: Sam Piazza, Wichita Falls Wildcats

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Alex Baskakov, Springfield Jr. Blues – Josh Bretner, Austin Bruins – Richard Buri, Minnesota Wilderness – Scott Dornbrock, Minot Minotauros – Marcus Ericsson, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Duggie Lagrone, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Nick LeSage, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Judd Loewenstein, Kenai River Brown Bears – Brandon Parker, Brookings Blizzard – Ryan Polin, Topeka RoadRunners – Alex Smith, Janesville Jets

 

Goalie of the Month

Goalie of the Month: Nick Schmit - Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees

Nick Schmit

Quietly, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees goaltender Nick Schmit has worked his way into the goaltending elite of the NAHL. The 19-year-old native of Fargo, North Dakota, spent the first half of the season backing up fellow Killer Bees netminder Olli Kalkaja.  However, the opportunity came in December for Schmit to show his stuff and he didn’t disappoint the remainder of the season, and particularly in March. Schmit (6’0/180) played in eight of Rio Grande Valley’s 10 games during the month and posted a 5-2-0 record with a 1.07 goals against averge and a 95% save percentage. During the month, Schmit never allowed more than two goals in a game as the Killer Bees fashioned a 7-3 record. Three of Schmit’s five wins were shutouts. During the month, Schmit stopped 132 of a possible 139 shots on goal. For the season, Schmit finished 4th in the NAHL in goals against average (1.66), tied for 4th in shutouts with six and in the Top 10 in save percentage at 92.6%. “Nick was our best player during the month. We weren’t playing our best hockey, so we gave up some opportunities and he was there to bail us out. He was the x-factor and is playing at the top of his game right now,” said Killer Bees head coach Joe Coombs. “We have had great goaltending all season from both of our goalies and it is one of the reasons that if we are going to have success in the playoffs, we will be looking to them to carry the load.”

Schmit said that the month of March was one were he was focused and trying to take advantage of the playing time given to him. “I saw the puck really well and felt like I was really focused. We have a very good team defense and some very talented players in front of me so it makes it a little easier to know that they are going to do everything they can to limit the other team’s chances,” said Schmit. “I have really enjoyed my time down here in the Rio Grande Valley. Being from North Dakota, it is definitely a unique experience, but one that has been very positive. The weather is great, the arena is first-class, the fan support has been really good, so the entire experience has been a lot of fun. I hope to just keep working hard and try and win the South Division playoffs. After that hopefully I get a opportunity to play NCAA Division I hockey.”

Runner-Up: Max Milosek, Port Huron Fighting Falcons

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): PJ Bridges, Topeka RoadRunners – Henry Dill, Aberdeen Wings – Logan Halladay, Janesville Jets – Tyger Howat, Springfield Jr. Blues – Kasimir Kaskisuo, Minnesota Wilderness – Nick Lehr, Austin Bruins – Chase Munroe, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Kris Oldham, Kenai River Brown Bears – Brandon Wildung, Minot Minotauros

 
February

Forward of the Month

Forward of the Month: Tyler Poulsen - Topeka RoadRunners

Tyler Poulsen

As the Topeka RoadRunners put together a 6-2 record in the month of February, one name stood out amongst the rest in regards to peak performance. Forward Tyler Poulsen, 20, who leads the team in scoring, has been on a tear since early January and his performance in February was an exclamation point to his season to date. The native of Arvada, Colorado, played in six of the eight games during the month and recorded 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists). Poulsen (5’7/150), who is committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of Alabama-Huntsville in the WCHA next season, registered a point in five of his six games during the month and was also a +3. Three of his games were of the multi-point variety including a five-point game in a win over Rio Grande Valley on February 28th and a four-point game in a win at Corpus Christi on February 7th. For the season, Poulsen has 52 points in 46 games played this season. “Tyler is a great leader on and off the ice and it is something that makes him an exceptional player,” said Topeka head coach Scott Langer. “Tyler is so competitive and about his team and his teammates that as a coach, you never have to motivate him. I think he is a great example for his teammates because even though he has a Division I commitment, he is one of the hardest workers we have on the team. He never stops and he is driven to succeed. That is something his teammates really look up to.”

Poulsen said that his success is a reflection of the team. “I think it is a special group of guys and we are on a mission. I think when Peter Halash passed away, we all took a step back and rededicated ourselves. You realize that every day is a unique opportunity to do something special and work to the best of your abilities,” said Poulsen. “I have been fortunate that my linemates Jake Kamrass and Yu Hikosaka have been playing really well because it makes things easier for me. I am motivated to go into Alabama-Huntsville next season and make an impact right away, and the only way that is going to happen is if I continue to improve and work hard to become a better player.”

Runner-Up: Shane Bednard, Johnstown Tomahawks

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Kyle Bauman, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Trevor Boyd, Soo Eagles – Alec Butcher, Kenai River Brown Bears – Matt Colford, Minnesota Magicians – Jake Durflinger, Corpus Christi IceRays – Ben Greiner, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Jordan Heller, Aberdeen Wings – Evan Hesse, Brookings Blizzard – Jordan Himley, Janesville Jets – Jacob Howie, Minot Minotauros – Mac Jansen, Coulee Region Chill – Max Kalter, Springfield Jr. Blues – Troy Loggins, Wenatchee Wild – Eric Purcell, Amarillo Bulls – Colton Wolter, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Bryan Yim, Port Huron Fighting Falcons

 

Defenseman of the Month

Defenseman of the Month: Jake Horton - Aberdeen Wings

Jake Horton

February is a month that Aberdeen Wings defenseman Jake Horton, 19, will remember for a long time and for good reason. First, the Plymouth, Minnesota native helped the Wings to a 6-2-1 record during the month as they moved into 2nd place in the Central Division. Next, Horton (5’11/190) was selected to play on the Central team at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. Then, just a week following his experience and performance there, he announced his NCAA Division I commitment to the University of Massachusetts. Now, Horton has been named the NAHL Defenseman of the Month for February thanks to a month in which he recorded eight points (3 goals, 5 assists) in the nine games and was a +3. Out of the nine games during the month, Horton was a minus in just one of them and it also included a three-game point streak. His 18 goals leads the Wings roster in scoring and his 35 points rank 3rd. Horton ranks tops among all NAHL defensemen with his 18 goals and his 35 points is tied for 2nd. “Jake has been our most consistent player since Day 1 and been our leader. He has worked hard to get to the point where is he now and all of the recent success with the appearance in Top Prospects and the NCAA commitment is a result of his dedication to himself and his team,” said Wings head coach Travis Winter. “There is a reason Jake is our captain and he will be an impact player at the next level of hockey in the NCAA.”

Horton remarked that the month of February will be one that he remembers for a long time. “February was memorable for me and the team. I think as the month ended we were playing some of our best hockey of the year. We know it is going to be a dogfight to the end. I think our recent success is a result of hard and determination by everyone,” said Horton. “I thought the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You get to see and collaborate with other guys in the same shoes you are in and the competition level is what sets the event apart from anything else. As a result, I was able to secure that NCAA Division I commitment that has been my dream since arriving in the NAHL, but I don’t want to let up.  I want to get better and I know we have a team that has the capability of accomplishing a lot and hopefully earn the opportunity to play for the Robertson Cup.”

Runner-Up: Duggie Lagrone, Fairbanks Ice Dogs

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Sam Becker, Minnesota Magicians – Darren Brady, Soo Eagles – Mitch Demario, Wenatchee Wild – Marcus Ericsson, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Kyle Froese, Corpus Christi IceRays – Jonathan Kopacka, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Jon Lizotte, Minot Minotauros – Dakoda Menslage, Johnstown Tomahawks – Brandon Parker, Brookings Blizzard – Sam Piazza, Wichita Falls Wildcats - Ryan Polin, Topeka RoadRunners – Alex Smith, Janesville Jets – Vincent Stefan, Kenai River Brown Bears – Brett Szajner, Amarillo Bulls

 

Goalie of the Month

Goalie of the Month: Bryan Nies - Minnesota Magicians

Bryan Nies

In one of the tightest races for goalie of the month this season, Minnesota Magicians goaltender Bryan Nies, 20, was truly a difference maker for his club as the Magicians got things turned around with a 4-1 record in February. Nies, a native of Grand Forks, North Dakota, was in goal for all four wins as he put together a perfect 4-0 month. Nies (5’11/185) faced a total of 130 shots in the four games and stopped 126 of those shots, good for an astounding 96.9% save percentage during the month. He also allowed just four goals in those four games, posting a goals against average of just 1.00.  Nies and Magicians got things turned around with a 31-save performance in a win in Springfield on February 1st. That was followed by back-to-back wins over the Jr. Blues at home the next weekend, which included a 27-save shutout. Nies finished the month with a 34-save win against Coulee Region on February 22nd. For the season, Nies has a 7-6-3 record with a 3.02 goals against average and a 90.6% save percentage. “I think that early in the season Bryan was still trying to find his game and his role with the team, but we gave him very little support when he was in goal. However, something you want to see as a coach is that your goalies get better as the season goes along and that is certainly the case with Bryan,” said Magicians head coach Scott Meyer. “I think everyone, Brian included, played their best hockey in February, and we are fortunate to have the depth in goal that we do because it has been one of the strengths of the team this season.”

As for Nies, it took a bit of reflection during the second half of the season to get things turned around. “The first half didn’t go like I wanted so to start the second half of the season I just took a step back and looked at the overall picture. It dawned on me that this is my last couple of months of junior hockey and to try and make the most of it. Coach Meyer said he would play whoever was playing the best so I used that as a chance to make a statement for the rest of the season,” said Nies. “I have learned a lot in my time in the NAHL whether it was with Bismarck last year or Minnesota this year. Both sets of coaches really know how to develop goalies and make you improve. I think that for the final month of the season, the focus will be continuing to play well and just winning every game we can. I think we have some momentum going into March so anything is possible.”

Runner-Up: PJ Bridges, Topeka RoadRunners

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Paul Berrafato, Amarillo Bulls – Adam Carlson, Coulee Region Chill – Henry Dill, Aberdeen Wings – Connor Girard, Brookings Blizzard – Olli Kalkaja, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Brock Kautz, Janesville Jets – Nick Lehr, Austin Bruins – Stefanos Lekkas, Springfield Jr. Blues – Merrick Madsen, Minot Minotauros – Max Milosek, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Alex Okicki, Johnstown Tomahawks – Chase Perry, Wenatchee Wild – Zach Quinn, Kenai River Brown Bears

 
January

Forward of the Month

Forward of the Month: Mike Davis - Amarillo Bulls

Mike Davis

After going through their longest losing streak in organizational history in December, the Amarillo Bulls got back on track in January posting a 10-1 record and vaulting themselves back atop of the South Division. 20-year-old veteran forward and captain Mike Davis had 14 points in those 11 games in January, which included seven goals, seven assists and a remarkable +15 rating during the month. The native of Newark, Delaware also had three game-winning goals during the month, which came in three consecutive weekends. Davis (5’9/185) had four multi-point games during the month, which included a four-point game in a 4-2 win over Rio Grande Valley back on January 10th. For the season, Davis not only leads the Bulls in scoring with 49 points in 46 games played, but he is also tied for the NAHL lead in scoring. His 30 assists also rank 2nd in the league. “We went through a slump in December and following that Mike stepped it up as captain and took it upon himself to make the team better on the ice and in the lockerroom,” said Bulls head coach Dennis Williams. “Mike is the ultimate competitor and warrior. He does the little things to make him and his team successful and it will make him a great NCAA Division I hockey player someday.”

“I think losing in December made us stronger as a team. It is something none of us have gone through before playing in Amarillo and it brought us back down to earth and made us realize that in order to be successful this season, we are going to continue to have to work hard every day because nothing is going to come easy,” said Davis. “We needed a break and in January we got back to basics. We just have to take things one game at a time. Winning the cup last season was a great experience and we want to build off that and become better, but we understand that there is a big target on our back. This is a different team and one that is just as capable of winning a championship again, I just want to provide the right leadership. I want to play well and take advantage of the opportunity of being invited to Top Prospects and hope that continued success down the road will lead to a Division I opportunity.”

Runner-Up: Troy Loggins, Wenatchee Wild

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Zach Badalamenti, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Shane Bednard, Johnstown Tomahawks – Alec Butcher, Kenai River Brown Bears – Scott Cuthrell, Soo Eagles – Brett Gervais, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Evan Hesse, Brookings Blizzard – Max Kalter, Springfield Jr. Blues - Jake Kamrass, Topeka RoadRunners – Blake Kelley, Coulee Region Chill – Jakob Romo, Minnesota Wilderness – TJ Roo, Aberdeen Wings – Malo Ville, Corpus Christi IceRays – Will Vosejpka, Wichita Falls Wildcats

 

Defenseman of the Month

Defenseman of the Month: Brendan Vetter - Amarillo Bulls

Brendan Vetter

20-year-old defenseman Brendan Vetter was also a big part of the Bulls getting back on track in January. The native of North Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, was effective at both ends of the ice as he not only racked up 11 points in the 11 games during the month, but he was also a +11. Vetter (6’1/190) was named the South Division Star of the Week last week for his five-point week in games against Odessa. Vetter also shined at the beginning of the month in a sweep of Corpus Christi. During the 11 games in January, Vetter was minus in just one of the games. Vetter has 25 points to date, which ranks 2nd on the Bulls roster for all defensemen and ranks 8th overall in the NAHL. Vetter is a veteran of 138 career NAHL regular season games having spent time with Wenatchee in 2011-12 and Kalamazoo last season. “Brendan has improved every day since he arrived in Amarillo and he is now an elite defenseman. I think once he got through the first 25-30 games, he really started to understand what he needed to do to make he and his team successful,” said Bulls head coach Dennis Williams. “Brendan does a great job at getting pucks to the net and he is responsible at both ends of the ice. It is something that is going to make him a great NCAA Division I hockey player someday.”

“I think after our losing streak in December, we just tried to get back to basics in January. We stuck with our systems and focused on being a defense-first type team,” said Vetter. “Personally, I try to focus on defense first and be a plus guy in every game. If I can do that, the offensive part of the game should come along with it. We are focused on becoming a better team every day so that by the time the playoffs roll around, we are playing our best hockey of the season and can try and defend the Robertson Cup. After that I want to improve to the point where I can play Division I hockey in the near future.”

Runner-Up: Tyler Andrews, Kenai River Brown Bears

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Michael Caruso, Soo Eagles – Cody Champagne, Topeka RoadRunners – Kyle Froese, Corpus Christi IceRays – Mitch Hall, Johnstown Tomahawks – Jake Horton, Aberdeen Wings – Jonathan Kopacka, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Lester Lancaster, Springfield Jr. Blues – Terry Leabo, Minnesota Wilderness – Matt Nuttle, Wenatchee Wild – Brandon Parker, Brookings Blizzard – Jake Townsend, Wichita Falls Wildcats

 

Goalie of the Month

Goalie of the Month: PJ Bridges - Topeka RoadRunners

PJ Bridges

It was a successful, yet emotional month for Topeka goaltender PJ Bridges. The 20-year-old native of Waterford, Michigan, began the month with a pair of wins over Wichita Falls, but following that came the tragic death of teammate and roommate Peter Halash. Following the tragedy, Bridges (6’0/185) won South Star of the Week honors thanks to two more wins in a weekend sweep in Springfield, which was followed by two more wins at the end of the month. During January, Bridges finished with a 6-0-1 record with a 1.27 goals against average and a 94.8% save percentage. He faced 172 shots during the month and stopped 163 of them. Bridges posted two shutouts in January, a 29-save performance in a 2-0 win over Wichita Falls on January 3rd and a 24-save performance in a 3-0 win over Springfield on January 17th. Bridges currently leads in the NAHL with a 1.34 goals against average and ranks 2nd in save percentage (94.7%) and shutouts (6). “PJ is such a strong leader and really has been the backbone of the team since his arrival,” said Topeka head coach Scott Langer. “He is so strong mentally, which makes him such an effective goaltender. We want to be in a situation at the end of the season where he is playing his best so we can be successful.”

Bridges said that the month was bittersweet for him. “It was a hard month because I lost a really good friend and roommate in Peter. We have known each other for a while now because we grew up playing hockey together in Michigan. It was an incredible loss and Peter was an incredible person.  However, it made me focus and rededicate myself. Just when I think times are tough, I think of what Peter went through and what his family is going through and it puts everything in perspective. Everything we are doing as a team from this point forward is dedicated to him,” said Bridges. “For the rest of the season, I will continue to work harder and work longer knowing it will pay off. I have some great teammates in front of me, which makes it easier for me to play better. I am really looking forward to playing in the Top Prospects Tournament and it was an honor to be selected.  I just want to give my team a chance to win the rest of our games. Longer term, I would like to play NCAA Division I hockey next year.”

Runner-Up: Collin Delia, Amarillo Bulls

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Blake Cates, Coulee Region Chill – Connor Girard, Brookings Blizzard – Nathan Klebe, Soo Eagles – Stefanos Lekkas, Springfield Jr. Blues – Max Milosek, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Ben Myers, Corpus Christi IceRays – Alex Okicki, Johnstown Tomahawks – Frank Oplinger, Minnesota Wilderness – Chase Perry, Wenatchee Wild – Zach Quinn, Kenai River Brown Bears

 
December

Forward of the Month

Forward of the Month: Tayler Munson - Fairbanks Ice Dogs

Tayler Munson

As the Ice Dogs fashioned a 5-3 record in the month of December and stayed in 1st place in the Midwest Division, they were elevated by the play of forward Tayler Munson. The 20-year-old Fairbanks native continued to show why he is one of the best veteran forwards in the NAHL by recording 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) during the month of December. Munson (6’1/195), who is already committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks next fall, recorded a point in all eight game during the month of December and is currently riding a 14-game point streak, which is currently the longest streak in the NAHL to date. Three of his eight games in the month of December were multi-point games. Munson currently leads the Ice Dogs in scoring with 35 points in 34 games played. His 35 points also is tied for 4th in league scoring. This is Munson’s fourth full season in the NAHL. He has played in 172 career NAHL regular season games and amassed 150 career points. “Tayler understands how to lead and manage adversity and it has made him a better and stronger player,” said Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart. “He understands what he needs to do to make his team successful. He has really matured into a leader on and off the ice and he really has taken himself seriously when it comes to his off the ice training and knows that will be important at the next level.”

Munson said that he and entire team were riding a wave of momentum that began back in November. “I think everyone, myself included, lost our identity a bit and got away from doing to simple things. I think we embraced our roles and bought into the team concept and things really started to click again,” said Munson. “I have tried to stay focused on the team and would like to bring another Championship back here to Fairbanks. I am just trying to be a good team leader and show the younger guys how to handle the different situations that come along with playing in the NAHL on a daily basis.”

Runner-Up: Conor Andrle, Brookings Blizzard

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Erik Baskin, Aberdeen Wings – Shane Bednard, Johnstown Tomahawks – Mike Davis, Amarillo Bulls – Jordan Himley, Janesville Jets – Jack Gessert, Kenai River Brown Bears - Martin Hojbjerg, Corpus Christi IceRays – Max Kalter, Springfield Jr. Blues – Jake Kamrass, Topeka RoadRunners – Ben Kucera, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Eddie Matsushima, Coulee Region Chill – Jake McCann, Minot Minotauros – Mike Sabatini, Soo Eagles – Evan Schmidbauer, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Huba Sekesi, Bismarck Bobcats – Parker Tuomie, Wenatchee Wild – Bryan Yim, Port Huron Fighting Falcons

 

Defenseman of the Month

Defenseman of the Month: Brandon Parker - Brookings Blizzard

Brandon Parker

Brookings Blizzard defenseman Brandon Parker was not only a defensive pillar in the month of December, but he also put up some incredible numbers for a defenseman, showing his true two-way value to the club. The 20-year-old from Faribault, Minnesota, had 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) during the month of December and was also a +9. Parker (5’8/180) recorded at least a point in seven of the nine games as Brookings went 5-3-1 during the month and got back in the Central Division playoff race. Parker did not record a minus ratings in any of the nine games and had two three-point games. With 20 points in 35 games played this season, Parker is 4th in team scoring and ranks 9th overall in scoring for all NAHL defensemen. In 76 career NAHL games, Parker has 35 points and is a +7. “I think Brandon brings so much to the table from both ends of the ice. He is a great skater and he really is making good decisions with the puck right now. I think most of all, he is strong with the puck and doesn’t give it up easily, which takes a huge burden off the rest of the team,” said Blizzard head coach Cory Laylin. “I think Brandon is a NCAA Division I prospect because of his dedication to the game and his strength. He has developed a very good shot, which makes him a great all-around defenseman.”

As for Parker, he believes that with each passing day, the Blizzard have become a better team, which peaked during the month of December. “I think everyone realized that December was a big month for us to gel as a team and get better. We put all individual egos aside and really focused on what everyone needed to do to win some games and become a playoff contender,” said Parker. “Personally, I just wanted to do the little things it was going to take for us to win. We have a great group of talented guys here and it makes my job earlier to know they are working hard to make the team successful. I think it got us right back in the race and we are really shooting to make the playoffs. I just want to keep playing well and focus on making myself and the team better. I would love the chance to play NCAA hockey next season, but I know that’s only going to happen with hard work and dedication.”

Runner-Up: Mitch Hall, Johnstown Tomahawks

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Alex Archibald, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Kyle Froese, Corpus Christi IceRays – Clint Garris, Topeka RoadRunners – Jake Horton, Aberdeen Wings – Dan Kovar, Bismarck Bobcats – Jon Lizotte, Minot Minotauros – Judd Loewenstein, Kenai River Brown Bears – Sean Mostrom, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Matt Nuttle, Wenatchee Wild – Jack Sloan, Springfield Jr. Blues – Dante Suffredini, Soo Eagles – Brett Szjaner, Amarillo Bulls - Jake Townsend, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Carson Vance, Janesville Jets

 

Goalie of the Month

Goalie of the Month: Logan Halladay - Janesville Jets

Logan Halladay

The NAHL has a rich history of producing players that make it all the way to the NHL and although he is just 17-years-old, Janesville Jets goaltender Logan Halladay may be an early candidate of one day joining that long list of names, particularly at the goaltending position. The native of Cary, North Carolina enjoyed a perfect month of December as the Jets got right back in the playoff race in the North Division. The Jets went 5-1 with Halladay (6’2/180) picking up all five wins and no losses. It capped off a streak of eight consecutive starts that Halladay didn’t lose a game. Halladay allowed just seven goals in six appearances giving him a goals against average of just 1.32 during the month. He stopped 192 of 199 shots that came his way, which was good for a 96.5% save percentage during December. He recorded a career-high 51 saves in a 2-1 win over Springfield back on December 13th. Halladay has a 10-4-1 record to date with a 2.55 goals against average and a 92.7% save percentage, which ranks 9th in the NAHL. He is also an NAPHL graduate, having played for the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes 16U team during the 2011-12 season. “Logan was giving our team confidence and giving us a chance to win every night, which is why we continued to try and ride that momentum. Although he is young, he is a pro when it comes to taking care of himself and making sure he is physically and mentally prepared to handles the rigors of the position,” said Jets head coach Joe Dibble. “We know there are a lot of eyes on him right now, but it is all about the team success with Logan. He puts the Jets first and he knows that his performance is 100% about the team. He is mature beyond his years and has a very bright future ahead of him at the next levels of hockey.”

As for Halladay, he echoed Dibble’s sentiment about team success being first and foremost in his mind, especially with the success in December. “I think we got back to having fun and really tried to take in each moment. Playing at this level is something not a lot of guys get to do, so we tried to focus on just playing in a team concept.  I wanted to slow things down and not put so much pressure on myself. I was happy to be out there and doing well and not let the stats dictate my attitude towards it,” said Halladay. “I would love to play college and pro hockey someday and that is definitely something I think about, but I don’t allow myself to think about it a whole lot. Our coaches have kept us focused on getting better one day at a time and just preparing for the next practice and game. I just want to become a better and more experienced goalie each time I step on the ice.”

Runner-Up: PJ Bridges, Topeka RoadRunners

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Paul Berrafato, Amarillo Bulls – Blake Cates, Coulee Region Chill - Chad Catt, Aberdeen Wings – Connor Girard, Brookings Blizzard – Gustaf Johansson, Wenatchee Wild – Stefanos Lekkas, Springfield Jr. Blues – Merrick Madsen, Minot Minotauros – Max Milosek, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Jake Moore, Johnstown Tomahawks – Ben Myers, Corpus Christi IceRays – Aaron Nelson, Bismarck Bobcats – Zach Quinn, Kenai River Brown Bears – Nick Schmit, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Landon Trutt, Soo Eagles – David Zevnik, Wichita Falls Wildcats

 
November

Forward of the Month

Forward of the Month: Tyler Gernhofer - Amarillo Bulls

Tyler Gernhofer

It was a month to remember for NAHL leading scorer Tyler Gernhofer.  The 18-year-old from Grapevine, Texas, picked up 18 of his current 34 points during the month, which included 11 goals and 7 assists. Remarkably, five of Gernhofer’s 11 goals during the month were game-winning goals. Gernhofer (5’10/195) currently leads the NAHL in goals (21), points (34) and game-winning goals (7). Gernhofer picked up points in nine of the 12 games played during the month. Six of those games were multi-point games including two, four-point games. Gernhofer was named as the South Division Star of the Week on November 11th. This is his second season in the NAHL. Last season, Gernhofer had 26 points in 48 games. For his NAHL career, Gernhofer has 60 career points in 74 career regular season games. “Tyler came back this season with a renewed focus to prove that he can be an elite goal-scorer,” said Bulls head coach Dennis Williams. “The majority of his goals are good, clean goals and he has a great release. I don’t know in my four years in Amarillo and in the NAHL that I have seen a player with a better release and shot than Tyler has.”

Gernhofer led the Bulls to a 10-2 record during November, something he says that happened because the team started to play like they were capable of. “I think Coach Williams found some combinations and chemistry that really worked and guys finally started to play together and play to their abilities. I think the difference for me this season was that I knew what to expect. There aren’t those rookie jitters and you know what needs to happen in order to be successful. I think short-term we would like to keep playing well and win another Robertson Cup and long term I hope to keep developing and playing well enough to earn an NCAA Division I opportunity.”

Runner-Up: Richard Zehnal, Coulee Region Chill

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Conor Andrle, Brookings Blizzard – Zach Badalamenti, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Bruno Birzitis, Soo Eagles – Trey Bradley, Wenatchee Wild – Patrick Curry, Springfield Jr. Blues – Jay Dickman, Austin Bruins – Jake Durflinger, Corpus Christi IceRays – Jasen Fernsler, Topeka RoadRunners – Ben Greiner, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees - Kyle Haak, Aberdeen Wings – Jordan Himley, Janesville Jets – Jake Howie, Minot Minotauros – Albin Karlsson, Kenai River Brown Bears – Tayler Munson, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Brandon Reinholz, Johnstown Tomahawks – Jakob Romo, Minnesota Wilderness – Will Vosejpka, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Cullen Willox, Bismarck Bobcats

 

Defenseman of the Month

Defenseman of the Month: Doug Rose - Fairbanks Ice Dogs

Doug Rose

Fairbanks got back to winning in November, posting an 8-2 record and are threatening to move back into 1st place again. Third-year defenseman Doug Rose, 20, was the rock along the blueline during the successful month, which saw the defenseman from Sewell, New Jersey put up some incredible numbers. Rose (5’11/190) totaled eight points in the 10 games, which included five goals and three assists.  He was also a +11 during the month of November. Of Rose’s five goals during November, three of them were of the game-winning variety. During the month, Rose had two multi-point games, which game in back-to-back nights earning him the Midwest Star of the Week honors for November 25th. Of the 10 games he appeared in during November he was even or better in nine of them.  For the season, Rose leads all Ice Dogs defensemen in scoring with 15 points in 25 games played. “There is no secret that this honor for Doug goes hand-in-hand with our success in November because he has been that type of leader for us,” said Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart. “Doug is a terrific skater and that allows him to take chances offensively and jump in the play and create offense.  He loves coming to the rink everyday and playing hockey and we love that kind of enthusiasm.”

“I think we have a very talented team this season, but most of all, the guys really worked hard in November.  We worked hard in practice and didn’t complain when we got skated because we knew it was going to make us better. Being a veteran, you understand the type of work you have to put in to see the team succeed,” said Rose. “I think we have a team that can contend for the Robertson Cup.  Beyond that, I really want to play college hockey, so I am really focused on working hard and trying to get that opportunity to the next level. I think if we stay focused and working hard, both of those goals can be accomplished.”

Runner-Up: Joe Grabowski, Amarillo Bulls

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Josh Bretner, Austin Bruins – Jake Bushey, Kenai River Brown Bears – Mitch Hall, Johnstown Tomahawks – Jake Horton, Aberdeen Wings – Grant Hutton, Corpus Christi IceRays – Jonathan Kopacka, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Dan Kovar, Bismarck Bobcats – Kyle Kruenegel, Minot Minotauros - Terry Leabo, Minnesota Wilderness – Sean Mostrom, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Bradley Mueller, Soo Eagles – Natt Nuttle, Wenatchee Wild – Brandon Parker, Brookings Blizzard – Andrew Roye, Topeka RoadRunners – Carson Vance, Janesville Jets

 

Goalie of the Month

Goalie of the Month: Kasimir Kaskisuo - Minnesota Wilderness

Kasimir Kaskisuo

The NAHL record books for goaltenders may be seeing history develop right before its very eyes this season as Minnesota Wilderness netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo has put an assault on those record books the first three months of the season. The 20-year-old from Vantaa, Finland, has numbers so mind-boggling, that it is hard to ignore. During the month of November, Kaskisuo (6’3/195) posted a 5-2-1 record with a .74 goals against average and a 97.5% save percentage. Four of Kaskisuo’s five wins during the month came via the shutout. Out of 241 shots faced during the month of November, Kaskisuo stopped 235 of them. Kaskisuo leads the NAHL in almost every conceivable goaltending category including goals against average (1.04), save percentage (96.1%) and shutouts (7). He also ranks 2nd in wins with 13. It is also no surprise then that the Wilderness have the highest ranked penalty kill in the league as they have only allowed one power play goal this season out of 98 chances. “Kasimir has been remarkable this season and everyone has taken notice. He has been so solid and is a big reason behind our team success. The biggest thing about Kasimir thus far has been the way he has been able to be consistent on a game-in and game-out basis,” said Wilderness head coach Corey Millen.

Despite the record-breaking numbers and pace that Kaskisuo is on, he remains remarkably humble when talking about the season he has had to date. “I am just having a lot of fun playing in goal. Our team battles every single night so you think you have a chance to win every single game and that is great motivation for me and the rest of the guys,” said Kaskisuo. “I think a lot of the success is a reflection of the team and the systems that are in place. I think the NAHL game is more physical and you see a lot more shots because the ice surface is smaller and not so spread out like in Europe.  I just want to keep playing well enough to someday be a starting goalie at the NCAA Division I level.”

Runner-Up: Nick Lehr, Austin Bruins

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Kevin Aldridge, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Paul Berrafato, Amarillo Bulls - Alex Blankenburg, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – PJ Bridges, Topeka RoadRunners – Chad Catt, Aberdeen Wings – Logan Halladay, Janesville Jets – Stefanos Lekkas, Springfield Jr. Blues – Ben Myers, Corpus Christi IceRays – Aaron Nelson, Bismarck Bobcats – Alex Okicki, Johnstown Tomahawks – Kris Oldham, Kenai River Brown Bears – Chase Perry, Wenatchee Wild – Austin Priebe, Brookings Blizzard – Nick Schmit, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Paige Skoog, Soo Eagles – Brandon Wildung, Minot Minotauros

 
October

Forward of the Month

Forward of the Month: Alec Butcher - Kenai River Brown Bears

Alec Butcher

As the runner-up for the Forward of Month award last month, Kenai River forward Alec Butcher, 19, did himself one better in October and won the award. Butcher (5’11/175) used to month to vault himself to the top of the NAHL scoring race. The native of Anchorage, Alaska, led the Brown Bears to a perfect record during the month and help them climb to the top of the Midwest Division standings.  In seven games, Butcher had 11 points, which included four goals and seven assists.  He was also a remarkable +10 during the month, showing his attention to detail at both ends of the ice. Butcher had multi-point games in four of the seven outings and recorded at least a point in six of the seven contests. His best outing in October was a three-point night in a 3-1 win in Wenatchee on October 26th. He also had seven of his 11 points during that weekend in which Kenai River swept the Wild in a three-game set in Wenatchee. Butcher also had a two-point game on October 4th in a 3-2 win over Coulee Region. For the season, Butcher leads the NAHL in scoring with 23 points. “Alec is the ultimate competitor.  He is a guy that hates to lose and he demands perfection of himself.  I have never seen someone prepare like he does. He relishes and embraces the challenge of being the go-to guy on our hockey club,” said Brown Bears head coach Geoff Beauparlant. “When you mix his competitiveness and grit with his talent with the puck, it makes for a pretty high-end hockey player. He wants to be the guy with the puck with the game on the line.”

As for Butcher, he believes his success is because of the team around him. “We have a young group of guys this year, but there is a lot of talent. I would have be able to have the success I have had to so far without them,” said Butcher. “We are excited to play this year for Coach Beauparlant and we think we have a team that is going to have a lot of success. I wanted to come into this season trying to be a better all-around player. I think short term I would like to just keep playing well and trying to help the team have success. Long term, I would just like to keep playing hockey and trying to get to the next level. I think that is a dream that most of us share.”

Runner-Up: Troy Loggins, Wenatchee Wild

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Patrick Curry, Springfield Jr. Blues – Nick DeCenzo, Brookings Blizzard – Joe Drabin, Johnstown Tomahawks – Ben Greiner, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Jordan Heller, Aberdeen Wings – Martin Hojbjerg, Corpus Christi IceRays – AJ Jarosz, Soo Eagles – Eetu Karvinen, Minnesota Magicians – Logan Lambdin, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Thomas Lindstrom, Minnesota Wilderness – Tyler Poulsen, Topeka RoadRunners – Matt Sieckhaus, Amarillo Bulls – Filip Starzynski, Bismarck Bobcats – Colin Staub, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Jesse Tredinnick, Coulee Region Chill

 

Defenseman of the Month

Defenseman of the Month: Josh Bretner - Austin Bruins

Josh Bretner

Another one of the 1st place clubs in the NAHL is the Austin Bruins. Last month, forward Jay Dickman was honored as the Forward of the Month, but this month the recognition turned to the defensive side as teammate Josh Bretner, 20, earned the NAHL Defenseman of the Month award for October. Bretner (5’8/180) not only proved himself from a defensive side of things with a +5 rating during the month, but he also was a key ingredient in the offensive success of the Bruins. During October, the Bruins went 5-2 and Brenter recorded eight points (2 goals, 6 assists) in those seven games. The native of North Potomac, Maryland, began the month with a five-assist effort in a weekend sweep of Brookings. He then had a two-goal night in a 4-1 win at Aberdeen on October 18th. Bretner’s 15 points to date is third on the Bruins roster in scoring and ranks 2nd among all NAHL defensemen. His +12 rating to date is also second best among NAHL defensemen. “Josh does a great job of creating on the ice. He can move the puck on the ice and break the puck out of the zone and then transition that into offensive chances,” said Bruins head coach Chris Tok. “He has very quick feet and he is very competitive. He is very strong for his size and he is always in good position defensively.”

“I think that since I have been in the NAHL, I have learned to play at both ends of the ice. There are some really good players in this league and if you aren’t solid defensively first and foremost, then you aren’t going to last long. I was an offense first type of player when I came into the league, but I feel I really have evolved into a defenseman who is responsible first on the defensive end,” said Bretner. “We have a great group of players this season. I think we just try and worry about one game at a time. I think if we get caught looking down the road or thinking about the playoffs, it could hurt us. I think we have a team that is capable of some great things. I think long term, I just want to keep improving to the point where I get a NCAA Division I opportunity.”

Runner-Up: Nate Repensky, Bismarck Bobcats

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Dylan Abood, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Tyler Andrews, Kenai River Brown Bears – Michael Caruso, Soo Eagles – Ryan Cook, Aberdeen Wings – Joe Grabowski, Amarillo Bulls – Grant Hutton, Corpus Christi IceRays – Alex Jaeckle, Johnstown Tomahawks – Jonathan Kopacka, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Terry Leabo, Minnesota Wilderness – Ryan Polin, Topeka RoadRunners – Brogan Rafferty, Coulee Region Chill – River Rymsha, Wenatchee Wild

 

Goalie of the Month

Goalie of the Month: Collin Delia - Amarillo Bulls

Collin Delia

Although he was thrilled to be a part of a National Championship club last season, Bulls second-year goaltender Collin Delia, 19, was in mostly a supportive role last season to teammate Paul Berrafato. However, with a new season, brought new opportunity for the Rancho Cucamonga, California, native. Going into the season, head coach Dennis Williams made it clear that Delia (6’2/180) and Berrafato would split the game time 50/50, and Delia has ran with the new situation. Delia is currently the top goaltender in the NAHL and his month of October was a big reason why. Delia went a perfect 4-0 and allowed just two goals in 243+ minutes of action. His goals against average during the month was a miniscule .49 and his save percentage was 98.1%. Delia had two shutouts in October as he blanked Wichita Falls on October 4th and then Topeka on October 11th. He allowed just one goal in a 7-1 win over Corpus Christi on October 18th and allowed just one goal in a 2-1 win over Rio Grande Valley on October 25th. Delia’s .93 goals against average and 96.5% save percentage both current lead in the NAHL. Bulls head coach Dennis Williams said that Delia has risen to the challenge so far this season. “I think what stands out most about Collin this season is his confidence. He believes that no matter the situation or the difficulty, he can stop every shot that is going to come his way. When you combine that with his size and his skill set, you get a guy who has really performed well in goal this season,” said Williams. Williams said that despite the success that Delia has had this season, his plan is to stick with the current 50/50 rotation with him and Berrafato. “I think both guys want to be #1 and I think the formula we have right now is working for the entire team. I think both guys know when they are going to play and prepare as such. Both are battling hard and when it comes to crunch time, we will just have to see where we stand.”

Delia said that he relishes the competition with Berrafato this season because it only helps the team. “I think I really have gotten into a good grove because you know when you are going to play and you prepare for it. I think Paul and I push each other. We have a great working relationship and push one another to become better goalies,” said Delia. “I really worked hard in the off-season to get in better shape and be able to perform anytime I am called upon. I know that is what is going to get me to the next level. I just want to remain confident in my abilities and know that I will be there anytime I am called upon to make saves.”

Runner-Up: Kasimir Kaskisuo, Minnesota Wilderness

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Alex Blankenburg, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Colin Brennan, Soo Eagles – Chad Catt, Aberdeen Wings – Olli Kalkaja, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Nick Lehr, Austin Bruins – Stefanos Lekkas, Springfield Jr. Blues – Ben Myers, Corpus Christi IceRays – Aaron Nelson, Bismarck Bobcats – Alex Okicki, Johnstown Tomahawks – Zach Quinn, Kenai River Brown Bears – Atte Tolvanen, Minnesota Magicians – David Zevnik, Wichita Falls Wildcats

 
September

Forward of the Month

Forward of the Month: Jay Dickman - Austin Bruins

Jay Dickman

Austin Bruins forward Jay Dickman, 20, was virtually unstoppable during the month of September. The Shoreview, Minnesota native made a bold statement during the month that he is going to make his final season in the NAHL count. Dickman (6’6/225) led to Bruins to a 5-1-0 record during the month and capture a share of the Central Division lead.  For the month, Dickman was tied for second in NAHL scoring with 10 points in just six games played and his seven goals led the NAHL. Dickman was also a +9 during the month of September, which was tops among all NAHL forwards. He recorded eight points in four games at the NAHL Showcase, including a four-goal game, which earned him NAHL Central Division Star of the Week honors back on September 23rd. Last season, Dickman recorded 55 points in 55 regular season games for the Bruins and was named to the NAHL All-Rookie Team. “Jay has had a huge role in our success so far this season and he has really showed a lot of leadership,” said Bruins head coach Chris Tok. “I think the most impressive part about Jay is his skill set and his hands.  You rarely see someone with his size with that type of high-end skill. It is something that has attracted a lot of interest from NCAA Division I scouts, so our focus right now is to make sure he keeps improving. He has the ability to score goals in a variety of different ways and that is what makes him so effective.”

“It is an important year for me and this team, so it was important to get off to a quick start.  I think we have a really good team this year and there is a lot of skill and speed,” said Dickman. “However, we are always looking to get better and improve. That was one of the things I worked really hard on this summer was to always keep improving my game, come into the season in the best shape possible and ready to play my best from the first game. Ultimately, I would like a chance to play NCAA Division I hockey, but I know that is only going to happen if I continue to work hard and show and I can be a leader on and off the ice.”

Runner-Up: Alec Butcher, Kenai River Brown Bears

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tim Donohue, Minot Minotauros – Billy Exell, Minnesota Wilderness – Tyler Gernhofer, Amarillo Bulls – Evan Hesse, Brookings Blizzard – Jordan Himley, Janesville Jets – Nick Kuchera, Minnesota Magicians – Tyler Ledford, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Mitch Maloney, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Jacob McDowell, Soo Eagles – Eric Purcell, Corpus Christi IceRays – Brandon Reinholz, Johnstown Tomahawks – Kyle Shreve, Springfield Jr. Blues – Bjorn Sigurdarson, Aberdeen Wings – Filip Starzynski, Bismarck Bobcats – Michal Uhrik Topeka RoadRunners – Richard Zehnal, Coulee Region Chill

 

Defenseman of the Month

Defenseman of the Month: Nate Repensky - Bismarck Bobcats

Nate Repensky

Veteran Bismarck Bobcats defenseman Nate Repensky, 20, has picked up right where he left off last season. The native of Duluth, Minnesota, helped the Bobcats to a 4-2-0 record in the month of September and in the process was able to tie for the league lead in scoring for all defensemen. What makes Repensky (5’11/175) so effective is his consistency. He was able to register a point in each of Bismarck’s six games during the month and finished with nine points in six games. He was also able to take care of things on the defensive end, as he finished with a +3 rating during the month. Last season, Repensky recorded 27 points in 37 regular season games for the Bobcats and was named to the NAHL All-Rookie Team. “Nate has been key in our success so far. He was such a big part of the team last year and one of the goals this season is for him to really take on a leadership role,” said Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie. “I think what is so valuable about Nate is that he is such a responsible two-way defenseman. He really knows how to move the puck and run a power play, but he also takes care of things in his own end. I think it is one of the things that makes him so attractive to NCAA Division I scouts.”

“I think we have gotten better each game so far this season. I think for the most part we are happy with where we are after six games. I think personally, I owe a lot to my teammates, who did a good job of scoring goals and producing offense that allowed me to have the numbers I had during the month,” said Repensky. “You have to have guys who can create and finish and I think we have a very talent group of players on this team that are able to do that when you put the puck on their stick. I think the experience of the Robertson Cup last year has really motivated us this season. We want to get back there and win it. I think long term I just want to keep playing well and working hard to earn an NCAA Division I opportunity.”

Runner-Up: Dillon Eichstadt, Aberdeen Wings

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Alex Archibald, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Kristofers Bindulis, Soo Eagles – Jake Bushey, Kenai River Brown Bears – Cody Champagne, Topeka RoadRunners – Scott Dornbrock, Minot Minotauros – Mitch Hall, Johnstown Tomahawks – Grant Hutton, Corpus Christi IceRays – Derick Kuchera, Minnesota Magicians – Terry Leabo, Minnesota Wilderness – Michael Mylchreest, Springfield Jr. Blues – Sam Piazza, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Brendan Vetter, Amarillo Bulls – Jake Zeleznikar, Coulee Region Chill.

 

Goalie of the Month

Goalie of the Month: Adam Carlson - Coulee Region Chill

Adam Carlson

Virtually out of the blue this past month came 19-year-old Coulee Region goaltender Adam Carlson. When the Chill deciding their goalies for the season, the only sure thing was returner Blake Cates. Then came Carlson, who made the team through a successful main camp and then the native of Edina, Minnesota was thrust into the spotlight at the NAHL Showcase. Carlson (6’3/175) responded with the calmness of a veteran during the month as in 153 minutes of play and four games, he allowed just three goals. He ended up leading the NAHL during the month in goals against average (1.18) and save percentage (95.6%). Carlson, who spent last season playing Tier III juniors between the NA3HL and the MNJHL, won his NAHL debut in a 3-2 win over Corpus Christi and followed it up with a 4-1 win over Janesville last weekend. It is quite a leap for a goaltender who didn’t even start on his high school team in Minnesota, but who has developed quickly in his time spent in the NAHL. “Adam is quite the story so far and is following a similar path to those recent NAHL goaltenders who have had success in the league, who may have flown under the radar up until this point,” said Chill head coach AJ Degenhardt. “He is a big kid who can move well and has great agility.  He is fundamentally sound and I think his underdog-type story is something that motivates him on a daily basis.”

“It has been a long road up until this point, but I never stopped working hard and believing.  I don’t want to take anything for granted and that motivates me to continually to try and get better and be there for my teammates,” said Carlson. “The moment I drove into Onalaska to potentially play for the Chill, I had a really good and positive feeling about the entire situation. I felt like I belonged there and I was going to do everything in my power to earn some playing time. I think finally realizing that goal and playing the way I did the first couple of games was something that was very emotional for my family and I, knowing the path I had taken to this point. We have a really tight and close group of players on this team and my goal is to get better every day and take advantage of the opportunity that I have right now.”

Runner-Up: Kasimir Kaskisuo, Minnesota Wilderness

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Sandro Aeschlimann, Springfield Jr. Blues – Chad Catt, Aberdeen Wings – Collin Delia, Amarillo Bulls – Logan Halladay, Janesville Jets – Nick Lehr, Austin Bruins – Max Milosek, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Chase Munroe, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Aaron Nelson, Bismarck Bobcats – Alex Okicki, Johnstown Tomahawks – Zach Quinn, Kenai River Brown Bears – Paige Skoog, Soo Eagles – Atte Tolvanen, Minnesota Magicians – Drew Vogler, Topeka RoadRunners – Brandon Wildung, Minot Minotauros.

 
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