NAHL Alumni Update
January 5, 2017
Montreal Canadiens and former NAHL goalie Al Montoya signed a two-year contract extension with the team earlier this week. Financial terms were not released, but ESPN.com reported an average annual value of $1.0625 million. "I'm just excited to be back," Montoya said. "It's a good group here. It's a chance to be something special and I just want to be a part of it. It's exciting. From the top down in this organization, it's probably the best one I've ever been a part of, and the way they treat you here, you can't ask for anything more. So for me, it's simple, go out there and play hockey and enjoy it. Montoya, 31, is 4-4-2 with a 2.74 goals-against average and .909 save percentage in 11 games (10 starts). He signed a one-year contract as an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and could have become an unrestricted free agent again at the end of the season. In his most recent start, Montoya made 31 saves in a 3-2 overtime win against the Florida Panthers on Dec. 29. Montoya played in the NAHL for the Texas Tornado during the 2000-01 season when he was just 15-years-old, putting up a 2.92 GAA in 15 regular season games.
Atlantic Hockey Player of the Month: Brady Ferguson, Robert Morris (Amarillo Bulls)
Ferguson once again led Atlantic Hockey in scoring with 13 points on four goals and nine assists in eight December games. Eight of Ferguson’s 13 points came on the power play, including all four goals. He had a point in each December game, including multiple points in four of the eight. Ferguson ranked third in the NCAA in points in December and tied for the national lead with four power-play goals. Ferguson had a three-game goal streak to open the month, helping Robert Morris pick up two league wins. He also had two assists and three blocks as the Colonials won the Three Rivers Classic for a second-straight year.
Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week: Tyler Ledford, Air Force (Wichita Falls Wildcats)
Ledford led Air Force with three points in the Falcons’ two-game sweep at Sacred Heart. He scored the opening goal in Saturday’s game and assisted on the game-winning goal in the third period. Ledford also assisted on the game-winning goal that broke a 2-2 tie in the third period.
Atlantic Hockey Defensive Player of the Week: Cameron Heath, Canisius (Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings)
Heath recorded the first multi-goal game of his career with two scores in Canisius’ 3-0 victory at Holy Cross. He scored twice during the Golden Griff’s three-goal second period, notching what would be the game-winner 1:43 into the period. Heath also recorded six block shots to help preserve the shutout. Heath added two additional blocked shots for eight on the weekend.
ECAC Goaltender of the Week: Merrick Madsen, Harvard (Minot Minotauros)
Harvard junior goaltender Merrick Madsen has been named the ECAC Hockey goaltender of the week. Madsen earns the award after posting his third 30-save performance of the season last Friday in helping No. 4/3 Harvard to a 5-1 victory over Rensselaer. The Acton, California native has started every game this season for the Crimson, boasting a 9-3-1 record, as Harvard has reeled off four-straight wins. Against ECAC opponents, Madsen ranks second in the conference with a 2.13 goals-against mark and is 15th in the nation versus all opponents with a 2.16 mark. His .792 win percentage ranks fourth nationally. The award is Madsen's second this season after he picked up the honor Nov. 22.
WCHA Rookie of the Month: Marc Michaelis, Minnesota State (Minnesota Magicians)
Michaelis tied for the NCAA rookie lead with 12 points in December, while ranking second among first-year skaters by averaging 2.00 points-per-game. The freshman from Mannheim, Germany tallied five goals and seven assists in six contests, pacing all WCHA skaters in points, points-per-game, goals (tied), assists (tied), power-play assists (tied, with three) and power-play points (tied, with four). He was a two-time WCHA Rookie of the Week during the month, earning the honor after a seven-point series (4g-3a) Dec. 2-3 vs. Alaska and a four-point weekend (1g-3a) Dec. 16-17 at Princeton. During the Alaska series, Michaelis recorded his first career hat trick (including the game-winner) and assisted on another in a 7-3 Maverick win in the series opener, then added a goal and two assists in a 5-5, series finale tie. He then wrapped up the month by scoring a goal and recording two helpers in Minnesota State's 5-4 triumph at Princeton. Overall, he tallied a point in five-of-six games, including a trio of multi-point efforts. Michaelis now leads the WCHA with 26 points (10g-16a) this season, good for second among NCAA freshmen.
WCHA Defensive Player of the Week: Justin Kapelmaster, Ferris State (Wichita Falls Wildcats)
In his lone game of the Three Rivers Classic, Kapelmaster was simply sensational, stopping 58-of-59 shots to guide Ferris State to a 1-1 tie with then-No. 6/5 Boston College. The freshman's 58 saves are tied for the 22nd-best single-game performance in the 65-year history of the WCHA, while his effort is tied for the seventh-best effort by a league rookie. Kapelmaster made 20 stops in the first period, 20 more in the second, 15 in the third period and three more in overtime, stymying an Eagles' offense that ranks 12th nationally. The Coral Springs, Fla. native was named to the Three Rivers Classic All-Tournament Team. This is Kapelmaster's third WCHA weekly award of his freshman season, as he twice previously earned Rookie honors.
ECHL Goaltender of the Month: Riley Gill, Allen Americans (St. Louis Bandits)
Riley Gill of the Allen Americans has been selected as the Warrior Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Month for December. It is the fourth time in his career that he has received the monthly honor, the second most in?ECHL?history. The 32-year-old went 7-2-0 with three shutouts, a 1.70 goals-against average and a save percentage of .950 in nine appearances during the month. Gill allowed two goals or less in six of his nine games and on eight occasions made at least 29 saves. He made a season-high 45 saves in a 3-0 win at Wichita on Dec. 9 and ended the month posting shutouts in back-to-back games with 33 saves in a 6-0 victory over Idaho on?Dec. 22 and 42 saves in a 5-0 win at Wichita on Dec. 28. He was named ECHL?Goaltender of the Week for the weeks ending Dec. 4 and Dec. 11, becoming the first goaltender to win consecutive weekly awards since he won for the weeks ending March 17 and 24, 2013 while with Reading. A native of Northfield, Minn., Gill leads the ECHL this season with five shutouts, a 2.12 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage, while ranking second with 15 wins, 1,246 minutes played and 666 saves.
Former Corpus Christi IceRays defenseman Colton Saucerman signs with AHL’s Hersey Bears (Read)