The Minot Minotauros got off to a good start to their season at the NAHL Showcase posting a 3-1 record. Forward Keenan Lund, 20, led the way for the Minotauros at the event with seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) in the four games. The 5’11/183 lbs. native of Sartell, Minnesota, recorded at least a point in all four games and had two multi-point games. His best outing came in a 4-0 win over the Corpus Christi IceRays where he had the game-winning goal and two assists. “Keenan really came into his own the second half and was a key member of our success down the stretch last season. There are big expectations for him this year, and he responded with an exceptional Showcase. His skating is excellent and he can make plays in small areas. He’s a great story for our league working his way up through the NA3HL and I have no doubt he could be an asset to a NCAA Division I program,” said Minot head coach Marty Murray.
2nd Star: Kaleb Johnson, G, Minnesota Wilderness
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Sam Antenucci, F, Brookings Blizzard – Taylor Lantz, F, Minot Minotauros – Aaron Myers, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Alex Pollock, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Dante Sheriff, F, Austin Bruins – Nic Sicoly, F, Aberdeen Wings – Ryan Taylor, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Matt Vernon, G, Aberdeen Wings – Andy Willis, F, Austin Bruins
Johnstown Tomahawks forward Chad Merrell, 20, led his team to a 2-2 record at the NAHL Showcase and recorded at least a point in all four games. The 6’0/170 lbs. native of Boca Raton, Florida, had six points during the event, which included five goals. Merrell had back-to-back two-goal games in a 4-3 win over Fairbanks and a 3-1 win over Springfield. For the season, he has seven points in six games played. “Chad had a great Showcase for us. He produced offense in every game including back-to-back two-goal games. He showed off his speed and scoring touch, which included a short-handed goal on Saturday. It was great to see Chad demonstrate his abilities in front of the incredible amount of scouts that were at the Showcase and I hope that he was able to attract some good interest because he deserved to.He has had a great start to the season so far and we look forward to him continuing to contribute our team even more as the season goes on.said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.
2nd Star: Connor Pooley, F, Maryland Black Bears
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Matteo Menotti, F, Maryland Black Bears
Minnesota Magicians rookie goalie Ethan Haider, a Clarkson University commit, left the NAHL Showcase the league’s shutout leader with two. Haider, who just turned 17-years-old earlier this month, played in three games and posted two shutouts at the NAHL Showcase. The 6’2/205 lbs. native of Maple Grove, Minnesota, had a 34-save shutout in a 3-0 win over Aberdeen and a 32-save shutout in a 2-0 win against Odessa. He also had 22 saves in a loss to 4-0 Topeka. For the week, Haider stopped 88 of a possible 91 shots on goal. “We are very happy with Ethan’s performance this weekend. He gave us a chance to win in all three games he played. His preparation for a young goalie is very impressive and it gives his team mates confidence when he is in the net,” said Magicians head coach AJ Bucchino.
2nd Star: Ben Schmidling, F, Springfield Jr. Blues
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Justin Daly, F, Kenai River Brown Bears – David Schmidling, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Matt Stanton, F, Minnesota Magicians – Dennis Westergard, G, Kenai River Brown Bears
The Amarillo Bulls were one of two teams to go a perfect 4-0 at the NAHL Showcase and forward Alex Peterson was a big factor behind the Bulls success. The 5’11/183 lbs. native of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, had seven points in the four wins, which included five goals and two assists. Peterson also recorded game-winning goals in two of the contests and had a three-point game in a 9-0 win over Jamestown. His eight points this season is tied for 3rd in league scoring. “Alex has been an offensive force and a leader for us since the beginning of the season. He has worked very hard to put himself in this position and earned the success that he has had to this point. He will be a tremendous addition to the NCAA Division I program that he selects,” said Amarillo head coach Rocky Russo.
2nd Star: Emil Gransoe, G, Topeka Pilots
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brenden Datema, D, Amarillo Bulls – Santeri Hartikainen, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – CJ McGee, D, Shreveport Mudbugs – Jordan Randall, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Brenden Rons, D, Topeka Pilots – Anton Rubtsov, F, Shreveport Mudbugs
Veteran Johnstown forward Samuel Solensky, 20, helped his team to a weekend road sweep of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights this weekend to get the season started. On Friday, the 5’10/170 lbs. native of Michalovce, Slovakia, had an assist in a 3-2 win and on Saturday, he had two goals, including the game-winner and an assist in a 5-1 win. “It was a step in the right direction for us to open our season with two wins on the road. Sam was a very big part of our offense. As usual, he was creating a lot of plays and was around the puck all game. He set up our game-winning goal on Friday night with a great play, then on Saturday he was a big force for us with two goals and setting up another. I felt he was dangerous all weekend when he was on the ice. Heading into the Showcase this week it was some positive momentum for him as I feel he is a very strong NCAA Division 1 prospect and hopefully his quality play carries right into the upcoming week,” said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.
2nd Star: Matt Ladd, G, New Jersey Titans
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Kyler Head, F, New Jersey Titans – Cameron Hebert, F, Johnstown Tomahawks
The Kenai River Brown Bears got an early season boost as they went into Janesville, Wisconsin this past weekend and picked up a weekend sweep of the Jets. Defenseman JJ Boucher, 19, was a huge factor in the two wins as the 6’2/180 lbs. native of Ottawa, Ontario had four assists and was +4 in the two wins. On Friday, Boucher had an assist in a 5-2 win and on Saturday, he had three assists in a 7-3 win. “This award could have gone to anyone on our team, but JJ had an exceptional weekend. He was instrumental in the wins and was really good defensively in addition to offensive production he put up. He was doing a little bit of everything like blocking shots and making good passes. He is a legit NCAA Division I prospect and we are looking forward to watching him grow as a player,” said Brown Bears head coach Josh Petrich.
2nd Star: Connor Szmul, F, Chippewa Steel
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Luke Ciolli, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Jacob Dirks, F, Chippewa Steel – Michael Spethmann, F, Kenai River Brown Bears – John Stampohar, D, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
The Shreveport Mudbugs picked up right where they left off from last season with two wins in their opening weekend series against the Corpus Christi IceRays. The Mdubugs had a new face in goal in Leo Chuard, but the veteran netminder didn’t miss a beat, giving up two goals during the weekend. On Thursday, the 20-year-old native of Geneva, Switzerland, made 35 saves in his NAHL debut in a 4-1 and then on Saturday, Chaurd (6’2/198 lbs.) made 30 saves in another 4-1 win. “Having lost both goalies from a season ago, we were looking for Leo to provide a veteran presence and leadership on the ice and that’s exactly what he did that past weekend. I thought he was composed and played with a lot of poise,” said Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell.
2nd Star: Michal Stinil, F, Lone Star Brahmas
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brett Abdelnour, F, Amarillo Bulls – Jason Brancheau, F, Amarillo Bulls – Jared Christy, F, Odessa Jackalopes - Quinn Green, F, Topeka Pilots – Matt Guerra, F, Lone Star Brahmas – Austin McCarthy, F, Topeka Pilots – Rex Moe, F, Odessa Jackalopes - Kyle Moore, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Anton Rubtsov, F, Shreveport Mudbugs