Six NAHL alums earn weekly awards
December 18, 2013
Four NAHL alumni were honored this past week by their respective NCAA Division I conferences. Ferris State goaltender CJ Motte was named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week. Vermont forward Mario Puskarich was named the Hockey East Rookie of the Week. Michigan goaltender Zach Nagelvoort was named the Big 10’s #1 Star of the Week and Wisconsin forward Michael Mersch was named the Big 10’s #2 Star of the Week.
Goaltender C.J. Motte of red-hot Ferris State University is the WCHA Men's Defensive Player of the Week for Dec. 17, 2013 after backstopping the Bulldogs to an unbeaten mark in two road games against Big 10 Conference opponents last week.
A 6-0, 190-pound junior from St. Clair, Mich., Motte had another impressive week of play, compiling a 0.96 goals-against average, a .957 save percentage and five shutout periods in a 2-2 overtime tie at Michigan on Dec. 11 and a 2-0 victory at Michigan State on Dec. 14. WCHA-leading Ferris State also pushed it's nation-leading and school record-tying unbeaten streak to 15 games (13-0-2) last week. In 17 games this season, Motte sports a 14-0-3 record, 2.15 goals-against average, and .927 save percentage. The Bulldogs, who are the first team to reach 14 victories this season, have moved up to a No. 2 national ranking this week. Motte played in the NAHL during the 2008-09 season for the Traverse City North Stars, appearing in 34 games that season.
University of Vermont men's hockey freshman forward Mario Puskarich has been named the Pro Ambitions Hockey East Rookie of the Week. The league announced its weekly award winners on Monday.
Puskarich posted two assists and a plus-2 rating in Vermont's 5-1 win over St. Lawrence on Saturday, helping the Catamounts push their winning streak to five games. He is currently riding a five-game point streak with two goals, five assists, 17 shots on goal, and a plus-4 rating in that span. The Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. native ranks fifth in Hockey East in points per game among rookies, collecting five goals and six assists in just 13 games this year. Puskarich has also tallied four power play goals, which is tied for fourth among Hockey East skaters and second among freshmen. Puskarich played in the NAHL during the 2010-11 season for the Wenatchee Wild where he had nine points in 14 regular season games. In seven playoff games he had six points.
University of Michigan goaltender Zach Nagelvoort was named the Big 10’s #1star of the week. He stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced to help Michigan tie No. 4 Ferris State on Wednesday. He led all Big Ten goalies this week in save percentage (.935) and goals-against average (1.85). Nagelvoort ranks second in the nation in goals-against average (1.67) and fourth nationally in save percentage (.944). He has allowed two goals or less in eight of his 10 appearances this season. This is Nagelvoort’s fourth career Big Ten weekly award.
Nagelvoort spent two seasons in the NAHL during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. Most recently, he played for the Aberdeen Wings where he posted a record of 8-1-1 with a 1.66 goals against average and a 94.9% save percentage. Prior to Aberdeen, Nagelvoort also spent time in the NAHL with the Soo Eagles, Traverse City North Stars and Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings.
Wisconsin forward Michael Mersch was named the Big 10’s #2 Star of the Week. He scored two goals on five shots to lead Wisconsin to a weekend sweep of Colorado College at the Kohl Center. He notched his 100th career point with his goal in Friday’s 4-1 victory. Mersch gave the Badgers their first lead of the game on Saturday en route to a 4-3 overtime win. Mersch leads all Big Ten players with 10 goals this season and has scored in five consecutive games.
Mersch played in the NAHL during the 2008-09 season for the USNTDP team. In 42 career NAHL regular season games, Mersch had 28 points. He also appeared in nine NAHL Robertson Cup playoff games during the 2009 playoffs, where he had seven points.
NCAA Division III honors
Northeast 10 Conference Rookie of the Week: Brett Oldaker - Franklin Pierce, Fr. (Chicago Hitmen, 2011-12)
WIAC Athlete of the Week: Joe Krause - Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Jr. (Fairbanks Ice Dogs 2008-10)