Johnstown Tomahawks forward Dalton Hunter, 19, made the most of his month of December despite the team playing in just six games. The 6’3/200 lbs. native of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, recorded 10 points in six games during the month as the Tomahawks went undefeated with a 6-0 record. That included 6 goals, 4 assists and a +10 rating for Hunter. He currently leads the Tomahawks in scoring this season with 37 points in 30 games, which ranks 2nd in NAHL scoring overall. His 19 goals are currently tied for the league lead. “Dalton has been outstanding for us since the first game of the season. His offensive contributions have been at a high level and he really has grown into an elite player. Most of all, I am proud of his commitment to his overall game and the character he has provided for our club. We were fortunate to have an undefeated month of December and Dalton was a huge catalyst for our success. His NCAA recognition has been growing daily and I know wherever he is fortunate enough to go, that program will be getting not only a strong hockey player, but an exceptional young man as well,” said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.
Hunter said that his personal success in the month also coincided with team success. “I think we had to go through losing some games to really learn what was going to make us successful in the long run. I think once I got comfortable with the linemates, things really started to click. I think we played smarter hockey in December,” said Hunter. “We just want to keep putting together more wins and try and win a Robertson Cup. NCAA Division I hockey is also a goal. I want to play as long as I can because playing this sport is something I have been doing since I was little and I love to go to the rink every day.”
Runner-Up: George Mika, Amarillo Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Ricky Carballo, Wichita Falls Wildcats – John DeRouche, Topeka RoadRunners – Kevin Fitzgerald, Aberdeen Wings – Fabio Hollenstein, Springfield Jr. Blues – Tyler Jeanson, Minot Minotauros – Larry Jungwirth, Coulee Region Chill – Travis Kothenbeutel, Austin Bruins – Paul Maust, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Dylan Mills, Minnesota Wilderness – Jared Resseguie, Bismarck Bobcats – Sam Ruffin, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Mitchel Slattery, Minnesota Magicians – Hunter Stanley, Lone Star Brahmas – Josh Tripp, Corpus Christi IceRays – Zach Zech, Odessa Jackalopes
Amarillo Bulls defenseman Jeff Solow, 20, had a torrid month of December as the native of Naples, Florida, helped the Bulls climb the South standings with 11 points in 9 games played during the month. That included 2 goals, 9 assists and a team-leading +5 rating. Solow (6’0/193) recorded at least a point in five of the nine games and had three multi-point outings. Solow, who spent some time developing in the NA3HL last season with the North Iowa Bulls, ranked tied for 4th among all NAHL defensemen in scoring with 24 points in 28 games played so far this season. “The Bulls organization is proud of Jeff being the recipient of the December Defenseman of the Month award. This honor is a by-product of his strong play for our team and he has continued to be a key member of our defensive corps. We believe that if Jeff continues to play a strong two-way game that he will be a very attractive candidate for an NCAA Division I program,” said Bulls head coach Matt Nicholson.
Solow said that his success has been a product of improving at all levels. “This is my third year in the league and I have learned something at each stop, be it Soo, Kenai River, North Iowa or Amarillo. Coach Todd Sanden in North Iowa and Coach Matt Nicholson here in Amarillo have been instrumental in helping me develop and improve and have given me a chance to succeed,” said Solow. “My goal is to play NCAA Division I hockey and I’d like to see myself try and get 40 points. Beyond that, I would like to take my career as far as it can go.”
Runner-Up: Dorian Dawson, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Matthew Barnes, Topeka RoadRunners – Andy Carroll, Aberdeen Wings – Jake Dittel, Minot Minotauros – Matt Doran, Coulee Region Chill – Jiei Halliday Bismarck Bobcats – Aaron McPheters, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Ryan Orgel, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Adam Pilewicz, Johnstown Tomahawks – Tucker White, Corpus Christi IceRays
Johnstown Tomahawks goalie Drew Hotte, 20, had a perfect month of December to coincide with his team’s perfect month. The 6’1/185 lbs. native of Gwynedd, Pennsylvania, posted a perfect 5-0-0 record during the month of December, allowing just five goals in those five games. Overall, Hotte faced 131 shots and made 121 saves, which was good for a 1.13 goals against average and a 96.0% save percentage. That included a 32-save shutout on New Year’s Eve, which capped off Hotte being named the East Division Star of the Week. “Drew had a fantastic month of December. His individual numbers were great and he helped us to win every game we had in the month, which was the most important part. He is someone that we can rely on night in and night out to give us an opportunity to win hockey games, as well as be a role model of preparation and character to the rest of our club. I am extremely proud off Drew for the way he succeeded this month, throughout the season to this point, and for what he means to our hockey club and the Johnstown community,” said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.
“The team really played well and played with more discipline in December. We also got some new players in and team chemistry changed right away and the new players fit in. It was a wake up call for us. It took the safety net and comfort level away and gave us a sense of desperation. Our team is very capable of a very deep run into the playoffs,” said Hotte. “I think I tracked the puck pretty well in December. Each game that goes along I feel more comfortable. I have gotten used to the pace of the league and controlling the rebounds. Hopefully, I can keep working hard and developing and earn an NCAA Division I commitment,”
Runner-Up: Jared Dempsey, Wichita Falls Wildcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Nikita Babintsev, Amarillo Bulls – Alec Calvaruso, Lone Star Brahmas – Jon Flakne, Odessa Jackalopes – Colt Hanks, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Camden Haugenoe, Bismarck Bobcats – Trevor Micucci, Minnesota Wilderness – Lucas Murray, Minot Minotauros – Forbes Ploszaj, Aberdeen Wings – Ivan Prosvetov, Minnesota Magicians – Ryan Snowden, Topeka RoadRunners – Tomas Vomacka, Corpus Christi IceRays
Janesville Jets forward Adrian Holesinsky, 20, stood out among his NAHL peers in November, leading all players in scoring with 17 points (3 goals, 14 assists) in nine games played as the Jets maintained their lead in the Midwest Division with a 7-1-1 record. The native of Cadca, Slovakia, recorded at least a point in eight of the nine games and had six multi-point games along with a +5 rating. For the season, Holesinsky (6’0/180) is tied for the NAHL scoring lead with 30 points and is also tied for the league lead in assists with 22. “Adrian was a big part to our success over this past month. He made big plays for us all month and scored big goals in key situations. He makes everyone around him better everyday. He is an elite player with an elite skill set and a high hockey IQ which is why he is a NCAA Division I prospect,” said Jets head coach Joe Dibble.
“I think the team really came together in November. The feeling here is one of family and everyone feeds off of one another,” said Holesinsky. “I think the goal for me the rest of the season is to hopefully earn an NCAA Division I scholarship and help my team win a Robertson Cup Championship.”
Runner-Up: Luke Radetic, Kenai River Brown Bears
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Khristian Acosta, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Colin Bilek, Northeast Generals – Gianluca Esteves, Aston Rebels – Kevin Fitzgerald, Aberdeen Wings - Tobias Fladeby, Bismarck Bobcats – Will Hammer, Minnesota Magicians – Max Harper, Topeka RoadRunners – Travis Kothenbeutel, Austin Bruins – Mason Krueger, Corpus Christi IceRays – Matt Long, Springfield Jr. Blues – Tim Nicksic, Minnesota Wilderness – Charlie Singerhouse, Amarillo Bulls – Joe Sofo, Coulee Region Chill – Reid Stefanson, Minot Minotauros
It was quite the month for Aston Rebels defenseman Brennan Kapcheck. The 20-year-old native of Chicago, Illinois, totaled eight points (6 goals, 2 assist) and a +12 rating during the month of November as the Rebels maintained the NAHL’s best record with a 6-0-1 mark in November. Kapcheck (5’9/160) recorded at least a points in five of the seven games. He also committed to play NCAA Division I hockey during the month of November to American International College. He currently leads all NAHL defensemen in scoring with 23 points to date. “Brennan can flat out play hockey. For an undersized defenseman, he plays with lots of fire and compete level, but his skill set is very good. American International College is getting a great player. He has been a big player for our organization for two years and will certainly be missed next season,” said Rebels head coach Joe Coombs.
“Getting a commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey is something I have been working towards for a long time, so to see it become a reality was a dream come true. I am exciting to be joining a team and program at AIC that is up and coming and heading in the right direction,” said Kapcheck. “I think the team has really pulled together as a group the last couple of months and it has helped accelerate all of our development.”
Runner-Up: Chris Lipe, Kenai River Brown Bears
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Travis Brown, Minnesota Magicians – Bray Crowder, Amarillo Bulls – Cody Fleckenstein, Corpus Christi IceRays – Jordan Fralich, Bismarck Bobcats – Connor Matsinger, Springfield Jr. Blues – Dan Petrick, Austin Bruins – Steven Quagliata, Coulee Region Chill – Adam Roeder, Janesville Jets – Jake Rosenbaum, Topeka RoadRunners – Tristan Rostagno, Minnesota Wilderness – Keenan Sabatini, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Nolan Sawchuk, Minot Minotauros
For the second consecutive month Aston Rebels goalie Mareks Mitens, 18, was named the NAHL Goaltender of the Month. The 6’1/176 lbs. native of Ventspids, Latvia, was very good in the month for the Rebels, posting a 5-0-0 record with a 0.99 goals against average and a 95.9% save percentage, which were better than his numbers in October. Mitens, who leads the NAHL in shutouts with six, had two more shutouts in November. He current leads all NAHL goalies in wins (15), goals against average (1.23), save percentage (94.8%) and shutouts (6). He will represent Lativia at the World Junior Championships in December as they play against the likes of the United States, Canada and Russia. “Mareks just continues to get better each time out. He is getting more comfortable as he plays and makes it look easy at times, which any of us know who play this game that goaltending is not easy. The best part about Mareks is his compete level in practice and the fun he has doing so. I believe he makes everyone better around him,” said Aston head coach Joe Coombs.
“The past three months have really helped me develop as a goalie. We have a very good team here in Aston and everyone puts in a lot of hard work to make sure we are successful,” said Mitens. “I am very excited to represent my country of Latvia at the World Junior Championship. It is something I have dreamed of since I was young and to be playing against the best in the world will be a very rewarding.”
Runner-Up: Evan Fear, Springfield Jr. Blues
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Nikita Babintsev, Amarillo Bulls – Jake Barczewski, Janesville Jets – Cam Burggrabe, Corpus Christi IceRays – Robbie Goor, Kenai River Brown Bears – Cam Haugenoe, Bismarck Bobcats – Ivan Prosvetov, Minnesota Magicians – Alex Schilling, Austin Bruins – Ryan Snowden, Topeka RoadRunners – Grant Valentine, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights forward Matt Kidney, 19, led all NAHL scorers in the month of October with 16 points (6 goals, 10 assists) in 11 games during the month. The native of Middletown, New Jersey, is currently ranked 2nd in the NAHL in points with 21 to date. His effort included being named the East Division Star of the Week October 24th. His month included a three point effort in a 6-2 win in New Jersey on October 19th and a four-goal game in a 6-3 home win over the Titans on October 23rd. “Matt has really stepped up and been one of our best players in October. It's why we selected him with our first round pick in the NAHL Draft. He's a serious player with a serious skill set and an NCAA Division I prospect,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal.
Kidney, who played two years in the NAPHL for the New Jersey Jr. Titans, said that one of the things that really clicked in October was working with his linemates. “I think I have adapted well to the NAHL and the level of play. I have clicked really well with Christian Acosta and Mike Gelatt, who have both enabled me to play well. There is a lot of chemistry there and they deserve a lot of credit,” said Kidney. “My dream is to put my name on the map and play NCAA Division I hockey.”
Runner-Up: Kevin Dineen, Coulee Region Chill
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Andrew Bellant, Aston Rebels – Chris Dodero, Janesville Jets – Tobias Fladeby, Bismarck Bobcats – Fabio Hollenstein, Springfield Jr. Blues – Carson Kelley, Lone Star Brahmas – Ryan Kero, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Jonny Marzec, Kenai River Brown Bears – George Mika, Amarillo Bulls – Jack Murphy, Minot Minotauros – Tim Nicksic, Minnesota Wilderness – Donovan Ott, Johnstown Tomahawks – Carter Roo, Aberdeen Wings – Marcus Russell, Topeka RoadRunners – Brendan Skarda, Minnesota Magicians – Ilya Skvortsov, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Josh Tripp, Corpus Christi IceRays
Coulee Region Chill defenseman Marshal Plunkett, 18, took his game to the next level in the month of October, as he led the Chill to a 6-1-1 record during the month. The 5’11/170 lbs. native of West Salem, Wisconsin, had nine points (3 goals, 6 assists) and was a +7 during the month of October. On October 10th, Plunkett got the nod as the Midwest Division Star of the Week, which highlighted a three-point effort in a weekend road sweep of Springfield. He also had three assists in a weekend home sweep this past weekend of his former team, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. “Marshal plays with a lot of confidence and I think his experience in the league last season has risen the expectations for him this season. His work ethic and maturity on the ice will be a huge asset for us throughout the rest of our season,” said Chill head coach Ryan Egan.
“I think our entire team played well in October, so that helped a lot. My teammates were there for me every step of the way and that helped in contributing on the offensive side and being productive at both ends of the ice,” said Plunkett. “I think we are focused on trying to make the playoffs and we are all here to develop to the point to where an NCAA Division I opportunity becomes a reality.”
Runner-Up: Dorian Dawson, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Travis Brown, Minnesota Magicians – Jake Dittel, Minot Minotauros – Cody Fleckenstein, Corpus Christi IceRays – Jordan Fralich, Bismarck Bobcats – Andy Iehle, Johnstown Tomahawks – Brennan Kapcheck, Aston Rebels – Connor Matsinger, Springfield Jr. Blues – Aaron McPheters, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Ryan Orgel, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Adam Roeder, Janesville Jets – Louis Roehl, Minnesota Wilderness – Jake Rosenbaum, Topeka RoadRunners – Matthew Thielmann, Kenai River Brown Bears
Aston Rebels goalie Mareks Mitens, 18, did himself one better than the month of September, when he was named as the runner-up for the Goaltender of the Month award. The 6’1/176 lbs. native of Ventspids, Latvia, was lights out in October for the Rebels, posting a 7-1-0 record with a 1.40 goals against average and a 93.9% save percentage. Mitens led the NAHL during the month of October in wins and minutes played. Mitens, who leads the NAHL in shutouts with four, had one shutout during the month in a 3-0 win over the Northeast Generals on October 10th. He currently leads all NAHL goalies in wins (10), goals against average (1.34), save percentage (94.2%) and shutouts (4). “We were very happy to get him this season. We tried to get him a year ago, but it didn’t work out. The biggest thing that stands out to me is his compete level. He fights to save every puck and stay in the play. There are brighter things to come for Mareks in the near future,” said Aston head coach Joe Coombs.
“I think the team has played well in front of me. There was some time where I had to adapt because having played in Europe prior to this year, the game over there is different. The ice surface here is smaller and the space for players to shoot from is a lot closer to me, so I really have been focus on my positioning and following the puck,” said Mitens. “I hope I can keep working hard and developing to the point where I can play NCAA Division I hockey and eventually professional hockey.”
Runner-Up: Erik Gordon, Lone Star Brahmas
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Drew Hotte, Johnstown Tomahawks – Luke Kania, Minnesota Wilderness – Evan Moyse, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Lucas Murray, Minot Minotauros – Ivan Prosvetov, Minnesota Magicians – Josh Sarlo, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Todd Scott, Coulee Region Chill – Bailey Seagraves, Kenai River Brown Bears – Ryan Snowden, Topeka RoadRunners – Will Ulrich, Bismarck Bobcats – Grant Valentine, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Tomas Vomacka, Corpus Christi IceRays
Amarillo Bulls veteran forward George Mika, 19, had a great month of September, finishing 2nd in scoring with 13 points, which was only one point behind teammate Kosta Likourezos. The native of Naples, Florida, finished with 5 goals and 8 assists and a +4 rating in 8 games during the month. Mika (5’11/181) had a five-game point streak during the month, which included 7 points at the NAHL Showcase as the Bulls went 3-0-1 at the event. 2016-17 marks his third year playing in the NAHL. In 83 career NAHL games, he has recorded 60 points. “Obviously, his point totals have contributed greatly to our success, but the bigger picture for George is the all-around player he has become. He plays at both ends of the ice, he plays on special teams, he is our best face-off man and he provides us with the leadership we need to be successful,” said Bulls head coach Matt Nicholson.
Runner-Up: Parker Mismash, Bismarck Bobcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Andrew Bellant, Aston Rebels – Ryan Burnett, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Kevin Dineen, Coulee Region Chill – Jack Gates, Janesville Jets - Andrew Hart, Topeka RoadRunners – Dalton Hunter, Johnstown Tomahawks – Austin Kamer, Lone Star Brahmas – Ryan Kero, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Matt Kidney, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Matt Long, Springfield Jr. Blues – Frankie Melton, Shreveport Mudbugs – Jack Murphy, Minot Minotauros – Brad Power, Corpus Christi IceRays – Brendan Skarda, Minnesota Magicians
September saw the debut of the Shreveport Mudbugs into the NAHL, which included the great play of defenseman Croix Evingson. The 6’5/210 lbs. native of Anchorage, Alaska, made an immediate impact for the Mudbugs, who posted a 3-2-1 record in their first six games of the season. The 19-year-old had 8 points in just six games during the month, which also included a +8 rating. Evingson also posted two three-point games during the month and had one goal and seven assists. “Croix is a legitimate NCAA Division I prospect. He has been a very solid player for us and we were excited to get him in the NAHL Draft this summer. We rely heavily on him in all situations and his combination of size and puck-moving ability makes him a great all-around defenseman,” said Shreveport head coach Karlis Zirnis.
Runner-Up: Jordan Fralich, Bismarck Bobcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Joseph Camplieto, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Matt Denman, Minnesota Magicians – Jake Dittel, Minot Minotauros - Seamus Donohue, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Matt Doran, Coulee Region – Cody Fleckenstein, Corpus Christi IceRays – Zak Galambos, Johnstown Tomahawks – Simon Loof, Lone Star Brahmas – Adam Roeder, Janesville Jets – Jake Rosenbaum, Topeka RoadRunners – Keenan Sabatini, Springfield Jr. Blues – Jeff Solow, Amarillo Bulls
Veteran goalie Luke Kania, 20, made an immediate impact for the Wilderness in his first action of the season, which came at the NAHL Showcase. The native of Chicago, Illinois, picked up right where he left off in last year’s Robertson Cup by putting up some incredible numbers in the month of September. Kania (6’2/190) posted a 3-1-0 record and allowed just five goals in four games. He faced a total of 138 shots and made 133 saves, which was good for a 96.2% save percentage and a 1.26 goals against average in September. The Brown University recruit also had one shutout in a 3-0 road win in Springfield on September 30th. “Luke gives us a chance to win every night. He carries himself like a true professional and has taken on a leadership role this year and earned a lot of respect from his teammates. He is a player that we have great confidence in and is an elite goaltender at this level,” said Wilderness head coach Tim Madsen.
Runner-Up: Mareks Mitens, Aston Rebels
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Nikita Babintsev, Amarillo Bulls – CJ Boothe, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Evan Fear, Springfield Jr. Blues – Daniil Gerasimov, Minnesota Magicians – Eric Gordon, Lone Star Brahmas - Colt Hanks, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Jonny Hogue, Odessa Jackalopes – Drew Hotte, Johnstown Tomahawks – Lucas Murray, Minot Minotauros – John Roberts, Shreveport Mudbugs – Mike Rockwell, Topeka RoadRunners – Derek Schaedig, Janesville Jets – Will Ulrich, Bismarck Bobcats – Tomas Vomacka, Corpus Christi IceRays