NAHL Alumni Update
March 2, 2016
Former Blizzard and NAHL defenseman Gage Torrel was named the WCHA Rookie of the Month for February.
WCHA Rookie of the Month: Gage Torrel, Lake Superior St. (Alexandria Blizzard, 2011-12)
Torrel, part of Lake Superior State's talented rookie corps, led all WCHA freshmen (and tied for 15th nationally) with seven points as the Lakers clinched a playoff berth with a 3-1-0 run to end February. The freshman from Monticello, Minn. also tied for the league rookie lead with four goals, while pacing freshmen with a 0.88 points-per-game mark and three power-play points (1g-2a). Torrel tied for fifth in the WCHA overall for scoring and third in goals, while he notched a pair of assists on game-winning goals (Feb. 13 vs. Bemidji State and Feb. 26 vs. Northern Michigan). He also keyed a LSSU penalty-kill unit that led the WCHA with a 92.9 percentage in February, while playing on a power-play group that was fifth with a 15.4 mark. Torrel wrapped up the month by helping Lake Superior State earn the Cappo Cup with a three-point weekend against NMU, including factoring in both goals during Saturday's Cup-clinching, 2-2 tie.
Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week: Greg Gibson, Robert Morris (Amarillo Bulls, 2011-12)
Greg Gibson scored 5 goals and 1 assist in the Colonials weekend sweep of Canisius. Friday night, Gibson's 2 goals helped RMU lock up the conference regular season championship. Saturday night, Gibson notched his second hat trick of the season. Gibson now has a league-high 28 goals and is second in points with 47. Gibson's 5-goal weekend helped the senior move into second all-time in goals at RMU reaching 65 for his career and is 3 goals shy of tying the RMU single-season record.
Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week: Drew Vogler, Merrimack (Topeka RoadRunners, 2013-15)
Vogler backed Merrimack to a weekend sweep of Vermont to clinch the No. 7 seed and home ice in the Hockey East opening round. Vogler stopped 49 of 50 shots in two games on the weekend, posting 0.50/.980 numbers. The Missouri product stopped 49-of-50 shots in two games on the weekend. Among all Division I goalies nationwide, Vogler ranked second in both categories over the weekend.
NCHC Defenseman of the Week: Taylor Richart, Miami (Aberdeen Wings, 2010-11)
Richart had a senior weekend to remember, netting a goal in both contests against Colorado College to help Miami sweep the Tigers. He had scored just one goal in his previous 127 career games prior to the weekend. Defensively he was stout as well, leading the RedHawks to pitch back-to-back shutouts. In Friday’s 3-0 victory, Richart scored Miami’s second goal of the game in the second period, which came short-handed, marking his first career short-handed goal and Miami’s first short-handed goal this season, while it was Richart’s first goal of any kind this season. He also blocked a shot and posted a plus-2 rating in the win to earn Second Star of the Game, while anchoring a penalty kill unit that went 7-for-7, including a pair of five-minute major penalties. The next night, Richart struck again for his third career goal, which broke a scoreless deadlock in the second period and proved to be the game-winner. He again posted a plus-2 rating and blocked four shots as he was named the game’s First Star in the 4-0 win. Richart totaled two goals, a plus-4 rating and five blocked shots in the series, while helping Miami’s penalty kill go a perfect 10-for-10 on the weekend.
Former Corpus Christi IceRays (2010-11) and NAPHL goaltender Pheonix Copley made his NHL debut this past week with the St. Louis Blues. During his most recent recall to the St. Louis Blues following the injury to Brian Elliot, the North Pole, Alaska native was brought into Saturday afternoon’s game between the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators with 4:26 left in the second period of a 4-0 blowout. During his first 24:26 minutes of ice time, the 24-year-old make five saves on six shots in the eventual 5-0 loss. After Saturday’s game, he was sent back to the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League (AHL) to make room for new acquisition Anders Nilsson from the Edmonton Oilers.
Former NAHL and Aberdeen Wings/Kenai River Brown Bears/Wenatchee Wild (2010-13) and current Salem State (NCAA DIII) goalie Marcus Zelzer was named the 2015-16 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Ice Hockey Player of the Year. Zelzer led Salem State to a 16-2 record in conference play, and the league regular season title and top seed in the MASCAC Tournament. Zelzer finished the regular season first in the MASCAC in both goals against average (1.76) and save percentage (.932). He also tallied a 16-1 record which was the best winning percentage in the conference at .941 and recorded four shutouts on the year. Zelzer also tied the mark for most wins in the nation in Division III and is tied for second for most wins in a season at Salem State.
A total of 10 NAHL goaltending alumni are one of the 26 nominees for the 2016 Mike Richter Award, which honors the most outstanding goaltender in NCAA men’s hockey. The third annual award will be presented by Mike Richter at the 2016 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla. They are (alphabetical order): Paul Berrafato/Holy Cross, Kasimir Kaskisuo/Minnesota-Duluth, Greg Lewis/Clarkson, Merrick Madsen/Harvard, Eamon McAdam/Penn State, Packy Munson/Vermont, Rob Nichols/UConn, Cal Petersen/Notre Dame, Steve Racine/Michigan, Ryan Ruck/Northeastern (read