The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its monthly player awards for the month of September. The Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month is Matt Wiesner from the Northeast Generals. The Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month is Zac Herrmann from the Odessa Jackalopes. The Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month is Mitchell Gibson from the Lone Star Brahmas. Only players who are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the NAHL monthly awards.
Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month: Matt Wiesner, Northeast Generals
It was an incredible start to the 2017-18 season for the Northeast Generals and forward Matt Wieser. The 20-year-old forward from Newport Beach, California, helped the Generals to a 7-1 record in the month of September. For Wieser (5’7/166) it was sweet revenge after being on a team a year ago that won just four games. Wiesner led all NAHL players in scoring with 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in the month to go along with a +8 rating. That included three game-winning goals during the month and registering at least a point in seven of the eight games. “Matt is a great leader and player. It is great to see the hard work that he put in this off-season pay off. We couldn’t be happier for Matt and look forward to him having continued success,” said Generals head coach Joe Lovell. Northeast General Manager Bryan Erikson stated, “Matt embodies what we are trying to create here, which is an atmosphere of hard work and dedication. His leadership combined with his work ethic and skill has been a big reason for our hot start.”
Wiesner said that last year’s experience with the Generals is constant motivation for his continued improvement and success this season. “I think that the major changes from last year to this year began in the off-season. The team you see this year was built with a defense first mentality. We have defensemen that can move the puck and two really good goalies to back us all up. That has enabled us to translate that into offense. We want to be a fast team that plays with a lot of pace and I think we were able to do that in September. Personally, I want to prove people wrong. I think any of us who spent time with the team last year understand that we are here to show everyone that we can play hockey and are here to develop and get better. I was pushed around a lot last year, so in the off-season, I put on 15-20 pounds of muscle and that has helped with my speed and stamina. I did all the little things I needed to do to gain some confidence. I think having the experience of playing in the league last year was invaluable coming back this season. We still have 50+ games to keep proving ourselves,” said Wiesner.
Runner-Up: Gil Garcia, Kenai River Brown Bears
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Julian Biondo, Lone Star Brahmas – Billy Duma, Coulee Region Chill – Ty Enns, Bismarck Bobcats – Jordan Fader, Shreveport Mudbugs – Nick Granowicz, Topeka RoadRunners – Caleb Hite, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Nikita Kozyrev, Springfield Jr. Blues – Gino Lucia, Minnesota Wilderness – Jakov Novak, Janesville Jets – Jack Olmstead, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – David Raisanen, Minot Minotauros – Evan Rochowiak, Odessa Jackalopes – Jon Russell, Amarillo Bulls – Jensen Zerban, Philadelphia Rebels
Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month: Zac Herrmann, Odessa Jackalopes
Odessa Jackalopes defenseman and Niagara University commit Zac Herrmann, 19, stood out amongst his peers in September as the native of Lancaster, New York, recorded 10 points in seven games played during the month of September as the Jacks put together a 5-2-0 record. Herrmann (6’0/185) had 3 goals and 7 assists during the month, which included recording at least one point in five of the seven games. In a stretch of four games from September 21-29, Herrmann had eight points to help his cause. “Zac has been an outstanding leader for us on and off the ice so far this season and he has taken his game to another level,” said Odessa head coach Greg Gatto.
“I think the difference in tone and focus is totally different this year. The guys are really dialed in this year and came in with a great mentality from the start, so that has contributed to a very good beginning of the season for our team. Once we got rolling at the Showcase, guys really started to mesh and buy into what they needed to do to help the team win some games in September,” said Herrmann. “When you are a player that is uncommitted, you are really working hard to earn that commitment, so even though I have committed to play NCAA Division I hockey, I try and maintain that mentality. When I finally go to play college hockey, I want to be able to make an impact right away and be prepared. Playing in the NAHL in Odessa has been an unbelievable experience for me. The fans and support are great and there is no place I would rather be,” said Herrmann.
Runner-Up: Colby Enns, Minot Minotauros
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Marcus Chorney, Amarillo Bulls – Diarmad DiMurro, Philadelphia Rebels – Tom Farrell, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Eric Gotz, Minnesota Wilderness – Brendan Gysbers, Shreveport Mudbugs – Sam Martel, Topeka RoadRunners – Cam McDonald, Kenai River Brown Bears – Jordan Muzzillo, Springfield Jr. Blues – Patrick O’Connor, Bismarck Bobcats – Luke Perunovich, Northeast Generals – Nolan Schaeffer, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Alec Semandel, Janesville Jets
Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month: Mitchell Gibson, Lone Star Brahmas
Lone Star Brahmas goalie Mitchell Gibson had quite the start to his NAHL career in September. The 6’3/186 lbs. native of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, posted a shutout in his first three regular season games to begin the season. The 18-year-old Harvard commit went a total of 217 minutes and 24 seconds before he surrendered a goal in regulation or overtime to start the season. Overall during the month, Gibson posted a 3-1-2 record and stopped 157 of 163 shots, which was good for a .962 save percentage and a .97 goals against average. “Mitch was once of our best players in September. He bailed us out several times and I am very proud of the way he kept his composure and lifted his teammates up. He plays with a lot of confidence and I think that helps out our guys, particularly when we are having trouble putting the puck in the net. I know he is the type of goalie that could win this award again this season,” said Brahmas head coach Dan Wildfong.
“It was nice to get off to a fast start of the season, so for me it was taking it one period at a time and it worked out that I the first three games of the season were shutouts, so that really helped me with my confidence,” said Gibson. “My daily focus is on becoming a better goalie and that comes with hard work on and off the ice. I not only want to see as many shots as I can, but also want to be sure I am doing what I need to in the gym and in the video room to be the best goalie possible. I want to keep things simple and keep the distractions to a minimum, but I am working hard to develop the best I can, so that when I do end up in the NCAA at Harvard, I am able to compete for an opportunity to play right away,” said Gibson.
Runner-Up: Josh Benson, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brett Epp, Odessa Jackalopes – David Fessenden, Northeast Generals – Jason Grande, Amarillo Bulls – Emil Gransoe, Topeka RoadRunners – Gustavs Gringals, Shreveport Mudbugs – Samu Lonkila, Minot Minotauros – Garrett Nieto, Janesville Jets – Artur Pavliukov, Kenai River Brown Bears – David Tomeo, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Ryan Ullan, Bismarck Bobcats
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