The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its monthly player awards for the month of March. The Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month is Sam Renlund from the Janesville Jets. The Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month is Luke Orysiuk from the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. The Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month is Isaiah Saville from the Minnesota Magicians. Only players who are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the NAHL monthly awards.
Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month: Sam Renlund, Janesville Jets
It was a big month of March for rookie Jets forward Sam Renlund. The 5’11/175 lbs. native of Verona, Wisconsin, who just turned 18 on April 4th, tied for the league lead among forward with 17 points during the month of March. In 13 games played, Renlund had 5 goals and 12 assists and was also a +8 during the month. He recorded at least a point in 10 of his 13 games and had six multi-point games. The Colorado College commit has become better each month of his rookie campaign with the Jets and currently has 36 points (10 goals, 26 assists) in 42 regular season games played to date. Renlund was also selected to and played in the 2018 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for the NAHL Selects white team, where he had three points in two games. Prior to playing in the NAHL, Renlund spent two seasons playing in the NAPHL for the Omaha AAA 16U team. He was an All-NAPHL 3rd Team selection in 2016-17. “Sam has been playing some of his best hockey since playing in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament and he’s figuring out you need to be able to play a 200-foot game. He's been more aware in the defensive zone, which is leading to getting the puck more and increasing his offensive production,” said Janesville head coach Gary Shuchuk.
“Playing with Omaha in the NAPHL helped a lot because you got used to travel and competitiveness of a league like the NAPHL, so I think that helped into my transition into playing junior hockey in the NAHL,” said Renlund. “I thought I really turned a corner at Top Prospects. It was incredible to see all the scouts there and it was fun playing against the top players in the league. It was the perfect stage to show what I could do. The goal for me right now is to keep getting better and help my team win a Robertson Cup. After that, we will see if I go to the NCAA this Fall or the year after.”
Runner-Up: Jon Bendorf, Aberdeen Wings
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Austin Bottrell, Lone Star Brahmas – Ryan Burnett, Shreveport Mudbugs – Matt Demelis, Northeast Generals – Jared Domin, Amarillo Bulls – Filip Karlsson, Kenai River Brown Bears – Roman Kraemer, Johnstown Tomahawks – Gino Lucia, Minnesota Wilderness – Aaron Maguyon, Philadelphia Rebels – Andrew McGlynn, Coulee Region Chill – Brendan Miller, Corpus Christi IceRays – Simon Morberg, Bismarck Bobcats – Miroslav Mucha, Minot Minotauros – Reed Robinson, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Hunter Wendt, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month: Luke Orysiuk, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
At the top of NAHL scoring in the month of March was Ice Dogs defenseman, Luke Orysiuk. The 5’11/180 lbs. native of Edmonton, Alberta, had 17 points (7 goals, 10 assists) in 12 games played during the month, which also included a +12 plus/minus rating. The 20-year-old recorded at least a point in nine of his 12 games in March and had four multi-point games. Orysiuk, who committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for Bentley University back in January, had a six-game point streak during the month in which he recorded 14 points. For the season, Orysiuk leads all Ice Dogs defensemen with 39 points, which also currently ranks 3rd among NAHL defensemen. This is Orysiuk’s third season playing in the NAHL. He made his debut during the 2015-16 season during Fairbanks’ Robertson Cup Championship season. In 163 career NAHL games, he has recorded 73 career points. “Luke never took his foot off the gas in March when there were plenty of opportunities to do so. He provided our younger players a snapshot of the work ethic that will be needed to have success in the playoffs,” said Fairbanks head coach Trevor Stewart.
“I wanted to focus this season on just playing my game and getting better, but it was a big weight lifted off my shoulders to get that NCAA commitment in January and I think it freed me up a little bit,” said Orysiuk. “We have a special group in Fairbanks. We are happy to get the top seed heading into the Robertson Cup Playoffs and I think we want to get some of that same mojo back we had during our long winning streak. We want to be a confident, but not overconfident. After playing in the league for three years and going through the ups and downs of winning a Championship and earning an NCAA commitment, my advice to those players is to keep at it and never give up, because the process does work,” said Orysiuk.
Runner-Up: Carson Moniz, Philadelphia Rebels
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Logan Britt, Aberdeen Wings – Calvin Dybicz, Minnesota Magicians – Colby Enns, Minot Minotauros – Thomas Farrell, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Brandon Koch, Coulee Region Chill – Markuss Komuls, Kenai River Brown Bears – Andrew Lane, Shreveport Mudbugs – Colin McCabe, Northeast Generals – Sam Molinski, Bismarck Bobcats – Nikita Sokolov, Amarillo Bulls – Connor Stuart, Lone Star Brahmas
Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month: Isaiah Saville, Minnesota Magicians
It was a busy and productive month of March for Minnesota Magicians goalie Isaiah Saville. The 6’1/180 lbs. native of Anchorage, Alaska, appeared in seven games (382 minutes) during the month and faced a total in 249 shots in the process. The 17-year-old recruit of Nebraska-Omaha only allowed 10 goals in those seven games and helped the Magicians clinch a spot in the Robertson Cup Playoffs. His 239 saves on 249 shots during the month was good for a 95.8% save percentage and a goals against average of 1.57. Saville faced an average of 35.5 shots per game in March and never allowed more than two goals against in any of the seven appearances. For the season, Saville ranks in the Top 6 in NAHL goalies for saves (1,237), save percentage (92.6%), wins (20), and games played (40). “Isaiah's been a great teammate and a steady player for the Magicians all season. He brings a pro level maturity, preparation, and work ethic to the rink and that has translated well to his consistency and success this season,” said Magicians head coach Ben Weiand.
“I think everything for me starts with practice. I want to really improve and learn every time I step onto the ice, so it goes beyond the games for me,” said Saville. “The biggest thing for me is proving to those watching that I am always ready and preparing to play at the next level. Right now that means showing I can step up in the playoffs and then later on in my career show I can play at the NCAA Division I level. I think we have a good team here with the Magicians and we look forward to the challenge against Fairbanks in the playoffs. I think we have the ability to make a run and make it a really good series. We are all looking forward to it.”
Runner-Up: Harrison Feeney, Lone Star Brahmas
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jaxon Castor, Shreveport Mudbugs – Gavin Enright, Kenai River Brown Bears – Nick Grabko, Minot Minotauros – Jack Leavy, Johnstown Tomahawks – Trevor Micucci, Amarillo Bulls – Logan Neaton, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Johnny Roberts, Bismarck Bobcats – Jake Sibell, Minnesota Wilderness – David Tomeo, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Matt Vernon, Aberdeen Wings