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 Colin Bilek from the Northeast Generals. The Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month is Matt Denman from the Minnesota Magicians. The Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month is Ryan Keane from the Philadelphia Rebels. Only players who are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the NAHL monthly awards.
Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month: Colin Bilek, Northeast Generals
October was a memorable month for Northeast Generals forward and captain Colin Bilek. The 20-year-old native of Brighton, Michigan, was on fire on the ice as he recorded 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) in 12 games in October to net monthly honors. Bilek (5’10/177) was also a +11 during the month, which saw him record at least a point in eight of the 11 games and also post five multi-point games. Bilek, who is currently the NAHL’s leading scorer with 24 points, also announced his NCAA Division I commitment to Army on October 31st. “We are very happy for Colin. It’s been a great season for him so far and it was great how he played his best hockey when we hit a rough patch and lost a few in a row. That is what great leaders and players do,” said Generals head coach Joe Lovell. Northeast General Manager Bryan Erikson stated, “I am really proud of Colin for how hard he works and for the recognition he is getting. It has been a great month for his with this honor, a star of the week honor, seven wins and an NCAA Division I commitment for him.”
“October was an incredible month for me personally, but I think team wise, it was the best month of hockey we played as a team. It really goes to show how deep our team is and the depths we are willing to go to get some wins. We all went through some adversity and responded very well,” said Bilek. “It has been such a long road to get to the point where I realized the dream of an NCAA Division I commitment and I am so thankful to those that made it possible like our coaches Joe Lovell and Bryan Erikson. I am so excited for the remainder of the season. We are a team that believes we can win the East Division and make a run towards the Robertson Cup. It has been a fun season and I just want it to keep growing and get better.”
Runner-Up: Matej Murin, Bismarck Bobcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Julian Biondo, Lone Star Brahmas – Nick Bowman, Coulee Region Chill – Colton Fletcher, Aberdeen Wings – Nick Granowicz, Topeka RoadRunners – Jarrett Lee, Minnesota Magicians – Kosta Likourezos, Minnesota Wilderness – Grant Loven, Minot Minotauros – Jakov Novak, Janesville Jets – Luke Radetic, Kenai River Brown Bears – Reed Robinson, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Jon Russell, Amarillo Bulls – Ben Schmidling, Johnstown Tomahawks – Ethan Stewart, Springfield Jr. Blues – Jensen Zerban, Philadelphia Rebels
Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month: Matt Denman, Minnesota Magicians
Minnesota Magicians defenseman Matt Denman, 19, stood out amongst his peers in October as the blueliner from Prior Lake, Minnesota, was a point-producing machine for the 2nd place Magicians. Denman (5’11/180) led all NAHL defenseman in the month with 13 points (1 goal, 12 assists) in 10 games played and was also a +2 during the month. Denman recorded at least a point in eight of the 10 outings and had four multi-point games as the Magicians posted an 8-1-1 record during the month. For the season, Denman is tied for the team lead in team scoring with 14 points in 14 games played. “Matt has been a consistent contributor for us this season. He brings a lot of offense to our blue line and is leading by example defensively,” said Magicians head coach Scott Meyer.
“From a team perspective, we really came together in October. I think September is always hard because there are still a lot of line-up changes and additions, so it is tough to develop the chemistry in the locker room. Once we got the pieces in place, everyone really stepped their game up and we played very well,” said Denman. “I think we have a team that has the skill and the talent to win the Midwest Division. I just want to keep developing as a player and work hard to try and get an NCAA Division I opportunity, which has always been a dream of mine.”
Runner-Up: Brendan Michaelian, Amarillo Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Matt Barnes, Topeka RoadRunners – Noah Bormann, Bismarck Bobcats – Diarmad Dimurro, Philadelphia Rebels – Carter Ekberg, Janesville Jets – Anthony Firriolo, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Eric Gotz, Minnesota Wilderness – Kyle Hallbauer, Lone Star Brahmas – Brandon Koch, Coulee Region Chill – Markuss Komuls, Kenai River Brown Bears – Jordan Muzzillo, Springfield Jr. Blues – Luke Perunovich, Northeast Generals – Nolan Swachuk, Minot Minotauros
Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month: Ryan Keane, Philadelphia Rebels
Through the first two months of the season, Philadelphia Rebels goalie Ryan Keane, 19, is statistically the top goalie in the league. His play during the month of October had a lot to do with that as the native of Coppell, Texas, posted a 4-1-0 record in five appearances, which included a 1.20 goals against average and stopping 122 of 128 shots that came his way, which was good for a 95.1% save percentage during the month. Keane (5’9/160) recorded his first career NAHL shutout during the month, which came on October 14th in a 4-0 win over Johnstown. He allowed just one goal in his three other wins. Keane currently leads in the NAHL in goals against average (1.14) and save percentage (95.2%). “Ryan has played fantastic since he walked through the door on September 1st. Quite frankly, he has been our most consistent player to date. Some NCAA Division I school is going to get a great college goaltender,” said Rebels head coach Joe Coombs.
“I can play with a lot of confidence because of the great team I have in front of me here in Philadelphia. We have a good and talented group of players and each is responsible at both ends of the ice, so is makes my job easier to stop the puck. We have been playing well since the start of the season and have good chemistry in the lockerroom, so we are looking to continue that consistency the entire season,” said Keane. “I think our goal right now is to keep improving and win the East. I know everyone here is hungry to get back to the Robertson Cup and win it, so that is something we keep focusing on. Personally, I just want to keep improving and ultimately get an NCAA Division I opportunity.”
Runner-Up: Emil Zetterquist, Coulee Region Chill
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Gavin Enright, Kenai River Brown Bears – Mitchell Gibson, Lone Star Brahmas – Jason Grande, Amarillo Bulls – Gustavs Grigals, Shreveport Mudbugs – Connor Murphy, Topeka RoadRunners – Garrett Nieto, Janesville Jets – Juraj Ovecka, Springfield Jr. Blues – Jack Robbel, Minot Minotauros – Isaiah Saville, Minnesota Magicians – Christian Stoever, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Ryan Ullan, Bismarck Bobcats – Gabe Vinal, Aberdeen Wings
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