The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its monthly player awards for the month of February. The Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month is Nick Cardelli from the Brookings Blizzard. The Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month is Matt Doran from the Coulee Region Chill. The Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month is Austin Park from the Minot Mintauros. Only players who are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the NAHL monthly awards.
Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month: Nick Cardelli, Brookings Blizzard
Brookings Blizzard forward Nick Cardelli, 19, had a memorable month of February as the Blizzard stayed in the thick of the Central Division playoff race. The native of Wood Dale, Illinois, played in nine games during the month and totaled 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists) to go along with a +6 rating. Cardelli (5’10/175) had five multi-point games during the month of February. He was also named to the Central Division team for the 2017 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, where he recorded an assist in two games. For the season, Cardelli is tied for 2nd in team scoring with 43 points in 46 games played. “Nick has played well all year, but last month he took his game to a new level with compete and scoring. I think that his play with his line mates Brandon Kruse and Brenden Stanko had been he difference,” said Blizzard head coach Dan Daikawa.
“Being in the battle we are involved in the Central Division for one of the top four playoff spots has really made our team focus each and every game. I really have to credit my linemates, who have all been very good,” said Cardelli. “I think we have the talent on this team to make a run for the Robertson Cup. If we make the playoffs, I think we can be a dangerous team. After that, I would love to get an NCAA Division I scholarship and play college hockey,” said Cardelli.
Runner-Up: Nick Bruce, Johnstown Tomahawks
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Alex Adams, Minot Minotauros - Carson Dimoff, Aberdeen Wings - Hampus Eriksson, Fairbanks Ice Dogs - Steven Ipri, Amarillo Bulls - Matt Long, Springfield Jr. Blues – Brad Power, Corpus Christi IceRays - Nick Rosa, Wichita Falls Wildcats - Caleb Schroer, Coulee Region Chill - Jensen Zerban, Aston Rebels
Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month: Matt Doran, Coulee Region Chill
Third-year NAHL and Coulee Region defenseman Matt Doran, 19, had the best month of his regular season in February as he kept the Chill within shouting distance of a playoff spot in the Midwest Division. The 6’1/190 lbs. native of Chesterfield, Minnesota, was 2nd in team scoring during the month with eight points (3 goals, 5 assists) and a +4 rating in just seven games played. Doran, who is an NAPHL alum having played for the Omaha AAA 16U team during the 2013-14 season, had two multi-point games and enters the month of March riding a five-game point streak. In 41 games played this season, Doran has 21 points. “Matt has a lot of experience at this level and we are excited about the breakout month he had in February. Matt provided the veteran presence we needed to get us headed in the right direction after January. He has brought some offense on the power play and a physical presence in our own end. We look forward to Matts continued production down the stretch in a tough Midwest playoff race,” said Chill head coach Ryan Egan.
“I think we have been playing a lot better as a team lately. We are in a battle for the playoffs, so there isn’t a lot of room for error. It allows me to have more confident and not be afraid to step up and create some offense,” said Doran. “We want to finish the season on a high note and make a good playoff run. Beyond that, I would like to play NCAA Division I hockey, get a degree and hopefully move onto play professional hockey,” said Doran.
Runner-Up: Marc Sullivan, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Marcus Chorney, Amarillo Bulls - Jacob Dittel, Minot Minotauros – Cody Fleckenstein, Corpus Christi IceRays - Jordan Muzzillo, Springfield Jr. Blues - Tyler Vold, Minnesota Wilderness - Jonathan Waring, Wichita Falls Wildcats
Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month: Austin Park, Minot Minotauros
Minot Minotauros goalie Austin Park, 18, did himself one better in the month of February. As the runner-up for the Goaltender of the Month award in January, the native of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, took his game to the next level in February as the Minotauros widened their lead in the Central Division. Park (5’11/174) appeared in five games and played a total of 308 minutes during the month. He posted a 1.36 goals against average and stopped 148 of a possible 155 shots, which was good for a 95.5% save percentage in February. Park posted a 4-1-0 record in the month, which included back-to-back shutouts on February 11th and 17th. “Austin has really come into his own the last couple of months. He gives a chance to win in each of his starts, and that's all you can ask for in a goalie. It wasn't easy for him as we had three quality goalies in camp, but he worked his tail off everyday and responded when he received a chance. It's a great story and you root for kids like that. He plays with confidence and competes, and our group believes in him,” said Minot head coach Marty Murray.
Park said that one of the major reasons for the improvements in his game was due to the success of the team in front of him. “I think getting more comfortable with the pace and gaining more confidence has been huge. It doesn’t happen without my teammates. They are all responsible defensively and that makes us very solid in our own zone, which makes my job a lot easier,” said Park. “I want to play at the highest level I can, but mainly would like to go to an NCAA Division I school to play hockey and get a great education.”
Runner-Up: Erik Gordon, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brad Arvanitis, Coulee Region Chill - Nikita Babintsev, Amarillo Bulls – Cam Burggrabe, Corpus Christi IceRays - Jordan Greenfield-Flemon, Springfield Jr. Blues - Jack Leavy, Aston Rebels - George McBey, Wichita Falls Wildcats - Trevor Micucci, Minnesota Wilderness - Forbes Ploszaj, Aberdeen Wings - Vinnie Purpura, Johnstown Tomahawks
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