The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its monthly player awards for the month of October. The Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month is Matt Kidney from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. The Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month is Marshal Plunkett from the Coulee Region Chill. The Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month is Mareks Mitens from the Aston Rebels. Only players who are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the NAHL monthly awards.
Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month: Matt Kidney, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights forward Matt Kidney, 19, led all NAHL scorers in the month of October with 16 points (6 goals, 10 assists) in 11 games during the month. The native of Middletown, New Jersey, is currently ranked 2nd in the NAHL in points with 21 to date. His effort included being named the East Division Star of the Week October 24th. His month included a three point effort in a 6-2 win in New Jersey on October 19th and a four-goal game in a 6-3 home win over the Titans on October 23rd. “Matt has really stepped up and been one of our best players in October. It's why we selected him with our first round pick in the NAHL Draft. He's a serious player with a serious skill set and an NCAA Division I prospect,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal.
Kidney, who played two years in the NAPHL for the New Jersey Jr. Titans, said that one of the things that really clicked in October was working with his linemates. “I think I have adapted well to the NAHL and the level of play. I have clicked really well with Christian Acosta and Mike Gelatt, who have both enabled me to play well. There is a lot of chemistry there and they deserve a lot of credit,” said Kidney. “My dream is to put my name on the map and play NCAA Division I hockey.”
Runner-Up: Kevin Dineen, Coulee Region Chill
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Andrew Bellant, Aston Rebels – Chris Dodero, Janesville Jets – Tobias Fladeby, Bismarck Bobcats – Fabio Hollenstein, Springfield Jr. Blues – Carson Kelley, Lone Star Brahmas – Ryan Kero, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Jonny Marzec, Kenai River Brown Bears – George Mika, Amarillo Bulls – Jack Murphy, Minot Minotauros – Tim Nicksic, Minnesota Wilderness – Donovan Ott, Johnstown Tomahawks – Carter Roo, Aberdeen Wings – Marcus Russell, Topeka RoadRunners – Brendan Skarda, Minnesota Magicians – Ilya Skvortsov, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Josh Tripp, Corpus Christi IceRays
Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month: Marshal Plunkett, Coulee Region Chill
Coulee Region Chill defenseman Marshal Plunkett, 18, took his game to the next level in the month of October, as he led the Chill to a 6-1-1 record during the month. The 5’11/170 lbs. native of West Salem, Wisconsin, had nine points (3 goals, 6 assists) and was a +7 during the month of October. On October 10th, Plunkett got the nod as the Midwest Division Star of the Week, which highlighted a three-point effort in a weekend road sweep of Springfield. He also had three assists in a weekend home sweep this past weekend of his former team, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. “Marshal plays with a lot of confidence and I think his experience in the league last season has risen the expectations for him this season. His work ethic and maturity on the ice will be a huge asset for us throughout the rest of our season,” said Chill head coach Ryan Egan.
“I think our entire team played well in October, so that helped a lot. My teammates were there for me every step of the way and that helped in contributing on the offensive side and being productive at both ends of the ice,” said Plunkett. “I think we are focused on trying to make the playoffs and we are all here to develop to the point to where an NCAA Division I opportunity becomes a reality.”
Runner-Up: Dorian Dawson, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Travis Brown, Minnesota Magicians – Jake Dittel, Minot Minotauros – Cody Fleckenstein, Corpus Christi IceRays – Jordan Fralich, Bismarck Bobcats – Andy Iehle, Johnstown Tomahawks – Brennan Kapcheck, Aston Rebels – Connor Matsinger, Springfield Jr. Blues – Aaron McPheters, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Ryan Orgel, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Adam Roeder, Janesville Jets – Louis Roehl, Minnesota Wilderness – Jake Rosenbaum, Topeka RoadRunners – Matthew Thielmann, Kenai River Brown Bears
Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month: Mareks Mitens, Aston Rebels
Aston Rebels goalie Mareks Mitens, 18, did himself one better than the month of September, when he was named as the runner-up for the Goaltender of the Month award. The 6’1/176 lbs. native of Ventspids, Latvia, was lights out in October for the Rebels, posting a 7-1-0 record with a 1.40 goals against average and a 93.9% save percentage. Mitens led the NAHL during the month of October in wins and minutes played. Mitens, who leads the NAHL in shutouts with four, had one shutout during the month in a 3-0 win over the Northeast Generals on October 10th. He currently leads all NAHL goalies in wins (10), goals against average (1.34), save percentage (94.2%) and shutouts (4). “We were very happy to get him this season. We tried to get him a year ago, but it didn’t work out. The biggest thing that stands out to me is his compete level. He fights to save every puck and stay in the play. There are brighter things to come for Mareks in the near future,” said Aston head coach Joe Coombs.
“I think the team has played well in front of me. There was some time where I had to adapt because having played in Europe prior to this year, the game over there is different. The ice surface here is smaller and the space for players to shoot from is a lot closer to me, so I really have been focus on my positioning and following the puck,” said Mitens. “I hope I can keep working hard and developing to the point where I can play NCAA Division I hockey and eventually professional hockey.”
Runner-Up: Erik Gordon, Lone Star Brahmas
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Drew Hotte, Johnstown Tomahawks – Luke Kania, Minnesota Wilderness – Evan Moyse, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Lucas Murray, Minot Minotauros – Ivan Prosvetov, Minnesota Magicians – Josh Sarlo, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Todd Scott, Coulee Region Chill – Bailey Seagraves, Kenai River Brown Bears – Ryan Snowden, Topeka RoadRunners – Will Ulrich, Bismarck Bobcats – Grant Valentine, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Tomas Vomacka, Corpus Christi IceRays
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