NAHL announces monthly awards for November
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its monthly player awards for the month of November. The Easton Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month is Blake Lizotte from the Minot Minotauros. The Easton Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month is Lester Lancaster from the Springfield Jr. Blues. The Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month is Adam Carlson from the Coulee Region Chill. Only players who are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the NAHL monthly awards.
Easton Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month: Blake Lizotte, Minot Minotauros
The Minot Minotauros took over 1st place in the Central Division during November and a budding, young forward led the way for the team. Blake Lizotte, 16, was named the NAHL Forward of the Month for his outstanding effort in November. During the month, the native of Lindstrom, Minnesota, recorded 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) in 10 games and had a remarkable +11 rating. Minot put together a 6-3-1 record during the month and Lizotte (5’7/140) registered at least a point in eight of the 10 games. Lizotte recorded multi-point games in six of the 10 outings including three-point efforts in back-to-back games during a home-and-home series with Bismarck back on November 21-22, which earned him Central Star of the Week honors. Lizotte not only currently leads the Minotauros in scoring, but he also is tied for 3rd in league scoring with 31 points and ranks 2nd in the NAHL with 23 assists, a remarkable feat for a 16-year-old. “Blake is a special individual on and off the ice. He is very mature for his age and has developed some great leadership qualities thus far and he has a bright future ahead of him,” said Minot head coach Marty Murray. “We noticed Blake at a camp this summer and we really liked his hockey sense. We brought him to Minot to start the year and it was still on more of a tryout basis, but he took the opportunity and ran with it. He thinks the game very well. He is always one-step ahead of the play and he has the heart and the compete level to be successful in the NAHL.”
Lizotte remained humbled and had the tone of a veteran when he got news of the award. “We had a great month of November as a team, but I owe a lot of credit to my linemates because they are the ones that gave me the opportunity to have some success on the ice. I wasn’t really expecting to stay in Minot to start the season, but as things started happening and I started to get it and have success in the league, things really started to snowball and go my way. I think as the team has developed, come together and played well, so have I. It is an exciting set of circumstances for me. I would ultimately like to play professional hockey someday, but I know I have to take it a step at a time. The short term goal to earn an NCAA opportunity, but after that I would like to keep working hard and getting better and see where this will take me,” said Lizotte.
Runner-Up: Evan Giesler, Bismarck Bobcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Mike Coyne, Wenatchee Wild – Taylor Fernandez, Keystone Ice Miners – Dominik Florian, Coulee Region Chill – Jack Gessert, Kenai River Brown Bears – Cody Gylling, Amarillo Bulls – Jacob Hetz, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Zach Lavalle, Janesville Jets – Beau Michaud, Brookings Blizzard – Wes Michaud, Corpus Christi IceRays – Aaron Miller, Minnesota Wilderness – Keegan Miller, Soo Eagles – Trevor Recktenwald, Johnstown Tomahawks – Daniel Rzavsky, Topeka RoadRunners – Michael Soucier, Aberdeen Wings – Colin Staub, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Brady Tomlak, Springfield Jr. Blues
Easton Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month: Lester Lancaster, Springfield Jr. Blues
The Springfield Jr. Blues kept pace in the North Division with a 6-4-1 record in the month of November. Defenseman Lester Lancaster, 19, led he team during the month with 10 points (1 goal, 9 assists) in the 11 games played. The Mercyhurst recruit and native of Ypsilanti, Michigan, began the month on a roll as he recorded seven of his points in a weekend on the road against the Soo Eagles as he earned North Division Star of the Week honors. He also had points in wins over South Division-leading Topeka on November 15th and 22nd. For the season, Lancaster (5’11/170) leads the Jr. Blues team in scoring with 19 points in 25 games played. His 19 points ranks 4th for all NAHL defensemen and his 17 assists ranks 2nd. “Lester is playing very well right now. He is understanding when to jump into the play and when to hold back. He is a big reason we are winning right now and big reason behind our recent power play success. He has been the ultimate team leader for us so far this season. I think knowing he has a commitment already has made him a better player because he holds himself to a higher standard. He keeps getting better, which is not only a benefit to us, but will be one for the future and his career at Mercyhurst,” said Jr. Blues head coach Tony Zasowski.
“I think one thing that helped us in November is that we found an identity using our speed and our grit. Once we knew we could play with the top teams in the league, that gave us some confidence and we kind of rolled with it from there. I feel as a player that is committed to the NCAA already I have more responsibility on me now. You have to go out each and be the hardest worker on and off the ice and be a good example for your teammates. I like being in the leadership role and it is something that has made me a better person and player,” said Lancaster.
Runner-Up: Chris Jones, Wenatchee Wild
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Alex Archibald, Keystone Ice Miners – Tobias Bjorklund, Minnesota Wilderness – Daniel Brickley, Topeka RoadRunners – Ben Campbell, Kenai River Brown Bears – Anthony Cortese, Corpus Christi IceRays – Kasper Emanuelsson, Amarillo Bulls – Tony German, Bismarck Bobcats – Jon Lizotte, Minot Minotauros – Dakoda Menslage, Johnstown Tomahawks – Ian Scheid, Austin Bruins – John Teets, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Jake Townsend, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Dan Weaver, Soo Eagles – Zach Yoder, Janesville Jets
Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month: Adam Carlson, Coulee Region Chill
Back when Coulee Region goaltender Adam Carlson won NAHL Goaltender of the Month honors in September of 2013, he was an unknown rookie and a surprise. This time around, the 20-year-old from Edina, Minnesota, is a veteran who has developed into one of the NAHL’s elite. Carlson (6’3/180) started and played in all nine Chill games during the month, amassing a 6-1-2 record. Carlson faced a total of 313 shots during the month and made 296 saves. That equated to a 94.6% save percentage and a 1.84 goals against average. Carlson was named the Midwest Star of the Week during the final week in November as he allowed just one goal in each game of a two-game home-and-home sweep of the Minnesota Magicians. Carlson is tied for 2nd in the NAHL with 11 wins and he leads the league in both games and minutes played. His 93.5% save percentage ranks 3rd and his 2.19 goals against ranks tied for 6th. “Adam’s story is what the NAHL is all about. He came to our team as an under the radar guy. He wasn’t the star on his high school team and he had to work is way up. He worked his way into the final spot of our camp back in 2013 and the rest is history. It is a story about a guy who was given a chance and ran with it. He has earned the right to start almost every game for us. It is tough not to start him with the way he is playing and the confidence that he has. He is a super athletic kid and a self-motivator. The biggest compliment I can give him is that he is a competitor. He plays hard in all situations… practices and games. His level of motivation and competition never strays,” said Chill head coach AJ Degenhardt.
“I think when I was honored with this same award back in September of 2013, I felt it was more of a burst onto the scene surprise. I feel a lot more mature now. I know ahead of time I am going to be playing, so a lot has to go into that. I have to be mentally and physically ready all the time. I know it sounds cliché, but I really hate getting scored on. I think my love for the sport and the position has grown in my time in the NAHL with the Chill. I know there are a lot of eyes on me right now and I want to set myself apart from the competition by the way I compete. I never want to give up on a play or a puck. I don’t want my emotions to get too high or too low,” said Carlson.
Runner-Up: Patrick Munson, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Ryan Bednard, Johnstown Tomahawks – Alex Bitsakis, Bismarck Bobcats – Alex Blankenburg, Keystone Ice Miners – Matt Jurusik, Janesville Jets – Brock Kautz, Minnesota Wilderness – Sean Keating, Soo Eagles – Ryan Kubic, Brookings Blizzard – Dryden McKay, Springfield Jr. Blues – Luke Pickar, Corpus Christi IceRays – Zach Quinn, Wenatchee Wild – Matej Tomek, Topeka RoadRunners – Atte Tolvanen, Minot Minotauros – Jacob Weatherly, Amarillo Bulls – David Zevnik, Wichita Falls Wildcats
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Vaughn is the official Goaltending Equipment Partner to the NAHL and serves as the Preferred Goaltending Equipment Supplier of the NA3HL and NAPHL. Founded in 1982, Vaughn became one of the first major hockey production companies to use multiple foam layers in equipment. As strictly a goalie equipment company, the main focus for Vaughn is the innovation and quality of their product. Visit Vaughn online at: www.vaughnhockey.com