Six more NAHL alumni earn NCAA DI honors
January 15, 2014
Another week and six more NAHL alumni earning honors across the NCAA Division I landscape.
Former Aberdeen Wings forward and current Bemidji State University forward Cory Ward, who led all league players with four scoring points last weekend as the Beavers earned a two-game road sweep at Lake Superior State, was named the the WCHA Men's Offensive Player of the Week. A 5-10, 194-pound sophomore center from Las Vegas, Nev., Ward had four assists, including a career-best three in one game and another on a game-winning goal as Bemidji State earned its second league road sweep of the season and moved into fourth place in the WCHA race. Ward, who finished the weekend with a +2 plus/minus rating and also had three shots on goal, leads Bemidji State in scoring this season with 20 points (12g, 8a) while playing in all 24 games.
Ward played two years in the NAHL for Aberdeen from 2010-12 and also played in the NAPHL during the 2009-10 season. He played in two NAHL Top Prospects Tournaments and had 120 points in 113 career NAHL games. He was also a member of the All-Rookie Team and All-Central Division Team during his time in the league.
After earning his first collegiate shutout thanks to a 34-save performance on Saturday at Clarkson University, junior goaltender Rasmus Tirronen of the Merrimack College men's ice hockey team has been named the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week for the first time in his collegiate career. Tirronen played in the NAHL for the Topeka RoadRunners. The Espoo, Finland, netminder was brilliant for the Warriors last weekend in a two-game set against 11th-ranked Clarkson. Tirronen allowed three goals over 116:56 between the pipes, recording a 1.54 goals-against average in the process. He turned away 50 of the 53 shots he faced on the weekend, finishing with a .943 save percentage, as well. Tirronen, continues to add to his stellar season that has seen him rise among the national goaltending statistical leaders. His 1.82 goals-against average on the season is the third-best in the country, while his overall save percentage of .932 ranks seventh. Tirronen's record in net now stands at 4-4-3 on the year.
Tirronen played in the NAHL during the 2010-11 season for the Topeka RoadRunners. In 36 games played, he posted a 2.41 goals against average and a 90.8% save percentage.
Former Alexandria Blizzard and current University of Alaska Anchorage goaltender Chris Kamal, who backstopped his team to a sweep of pre-season WCHA favorite Minnesota State last weekend, was named the WCHA Men's Defensive Player of the Week. A 5-10, 184-pound senior from Alpharetta, Ga., Kamal stopped 62 of 64 shots on goal for a .969 save percentage, had double-digit save totals in five of six periods, had four shutout periods, and held MSU to one power-play goal in 10 opportunities. The Mavericks, who outshot UAA 28-10 in game one and 36-16 in game two, had averaged 3.9 goals over their previous nine outings. Kamal, who has started the last five games with a 4-1 record, has a 2.10 season GAA and .922 SV%.
Kamal played for the Blizzard during the 2009-10 season where he posted a 2.50 goals against average and a 91.7% save percentage in 38 games played.
Former Johnstown Tomahawks and current Air Force goaltender Chris Truehl was named the Atlantic Hockey Association Rookie of the Week as he helped lead Air Force to a sweep at Army as he allowed just three goals in two games at West Point. He made a career high 20 saves in the 3-1 win on Friday and made 14 saves on Saturday in the 4-2 win. In the series, Truehl had a 1.50 GAA and a .919 saves percentage.
Truehl spent the 2012-13 season with the Johnstown Tomahawks in the NAHL where he played in 38 games and posted a goals against average of 2.33 and a save percentage of 92.3%.
Two players who played in the NAHL during the USNTDP years were also honored.
Former USNTDP member Chase Balisy was named the NCHC Offensive Player of the Week. Balisy led the Western Michigan Broncos to their first sweep of Miami since 2003, recording five points on the weekend, including three short-handed, on two goals and three assists, while posting an impressive +5 rating. In Friday’s 5-4 victory, the senior center logged his third career three-point game, assisting on the opening goal of the game, then tying the game at 3-3 with a short-handed breakaway goal and setting up the game-winning goal, also short-handed, in the closing seconds of the game after forcing a turnover. The Nashville Predators prospect was also +3 in the contest and was named the game’s second star. The next night, Balisy added two more points in a 3-2 win and had a +2 rating. He tallied his second short-handed goal of the weekend in the opening minutes Saturday, then again forced a turnover on a penalty kill in the third period to set up WMU’s game-winning goal for a second straight night.
Balisy played in 42 NAHL games for the USNTDP team during the 2008-09 season where he recorded 22 points.
Former USNTDP forward Michael Mersch was named the Big 10’s #1 star this past week. He Registered five points (three goals, two assists) to lead the Wisconsin Badgers to a series sweep of Michigan. He notched his first career hat trick and second career four-point game during Friday’s 5-2 win and also recorded the primary assist on the game-winning goal in Saturday’s 3-1 victory. Mersch leads all Big Ten players with 14 goals and is tied for second with 24 points.
Like Balisy, Mersch played in the NAHL during the 2008-09 season for the USNTDP team where he recorded 28 points in 42 career NAHL games.