NAHL Alumni Update
October 31, 2018
Washington Capitals goaltender and NAHL and NAPHL alum Pheonix Copley (Corpus Christi IceRays) tried to stay calm, pushing away any fleeting nerves as the shootout moved to the fourth round this past Saturday against Calgary at the Saddledome. The 26-year-old backup, who was seeking the first win of his NHL career in his third career start, had been part of a simulated shootout at Washington’s practice the previous day. He was prepared; he just had to execute. As Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau unleashed a hard shot, destined for the back of the net, Copley stayed tall and turned it aside. Moments later, Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom beat Flames goaltender Mike Smith, securing a 4-3 win, and the Capitals jumped over the boards to mob Copley at mid-ice. “It is a special moment for your team and for a guy like Pheonix that has really paid his dues,” Coach Todd Reirden said. “. . . I tell you, our guys couldn’t have been any happier for him tonight. That was awesome.” “Yeah, it feels good,” Copley said. “It’s the first one, so it’s always nice to get it out of the way. And, yeah, I’m happy to get the two points.”
Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week: Michael Wilson, F, Army (Minnesota Magicians/Coulee Region Chill)
Wilson scored two goals, including the game-winning, overtime goal on Saturday, as Army West Point swept their first series at Mercyhurst in program history. His goals both came in Saturday’s victory, as the junior scored both the game-tying and game-winning goals in the third period and overtime. Wilson finished plus-2 for the weekend and added two blocks.
Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week: Jakov Novak, F, Bentley (Janesville Jets)
Novak scored two power-play goals, both in the second period, in Bentley’s 7-4 home win over Holy Cross on October 26th. His two goals came just under two minutes apart, helping give the Falcons a 6-4 lead. The first of his two goals also held up as the game-winning goal against the Crusaders.
ECAC Player of the Week: Shane Sellar, F, Dartmouth (Janesville Jets)
Dartmouth’s Shane Sellar has been named the Player of the Week after a three point performance on Saturday against Harvard. The junior scored two goals and added an assist, leading the Big Green to a 7-6 overtime win in the exciting back-and-forth game against the Crimson.
ECAC Rookie of the Week: Drew O’Connor, F, Dartmouth (New Jersey Titans)
Drew O’Connor also played a key role for Dartmouth during that game, recording a goal and two assists in the win. The freshman had a +2 on-ice rating, making an impact every time he hit the ice, and earning himself Rookie of the Week honors.
WCHA Goaltender of the Week: Ryan Bednard, Bowling Green (Johnstown Tomahawks)
Bednard complemented Bowling Green's offensive success with stout goaltending, helping the now-No 4 Falcons to an undefeated week. Facing then-No. 19 Western Michigan and then-No. 4 Ohio State (twice), the Florida Panthers product yielded just five goals, posting a 1.62 goals-against average, 73 saves and a .936 save percentage. The junior from Macomb, Mich. turned aside 19-of-20 shots against the Broncos, then stopped 54-of-58 attempts by the Buckeyes. This is Bednard's second WCHA weekly award of the 2018-19 season and his fourth career honor.
SPHL Player of the Week: Darren McCormick, F, Fayetteville (Minot/Michigan/Janesville/Amarillo)
The Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) announced Darren McCormick of the Fayetteville Marksmen is the Warrior Player of the Week for October 22-28. McCormick recorded the second hat trick of his professional career, leading the Marksmen to an 8-5 win over Roanoke in the team’s only game last week. On Friday, the Buffalo, NY native scored the game-tying goal in the second period and added two more tallies in the third, including the eventual game-winner, as Fayetteville rallied from a 4-2 deficit to defeat the Rail Yard Dawgs 8-5.
Air Force senior and NAHL alum Kyle Haak (Aberdeen Wings) is a candidate for the 2018-19 Senior CLASS Award. Haak is one of 15 college hockey players selected as a candidates for the national award. Haak, a forward from Okemos, Mich., carries a 3.94 grade point average with a major in physics and a minor in nuclear weapons and strategy. He is ranked second out of 1,106 cadets in the class of 2019, a ranking that includes academics, athletics and military performance. He has been on the superintendent’s list all six semesters for excellence in academics, military and physical fitness. This past summer, he completed an internship with Fluence Corporation in Caesarea, Israel, attended the International Desalination Association “Water Re-Use” Conference in Valencia, Spain, studied alternative energy in Reykjanes, Iceland and studied nuclear energy at Oak Ridge National Labs in Tennessee. The squadron commander of squadron 31, he has earned a 4.0 GPA in three of his six semesters. Haak is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, earning the honor in 2017 and 2018 and is a three-time academic all-conference selection. In September, 2018, Haak was selected as the Cadet of the Year, the most outstanding cadet amongst all commissioning resources in the entire Air Force (16,000 people) over the 2017-2018 academic year. He has been active in the community, volunteering with the Marion House Soup Kitchen to help feed the homeless, “Break Time” to assist families with special needs children, Serenity Springs Colorado, and Fire Detector Installations with the Red Cross. On the ice, he has played in 111 games (as of Oct. 30). His 31 career goals and 65 career points are the most among the active Falcons. He helped lead Air Force to the Atlantic Hockey Conference tournament championship and the NCAA Elite Eight in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, he was named to the AHC all-tournament team with four points (3-1-4) in the two games. In 2017, he was named to the NCAA East Regional all-tournament team, as he scored two goals in the win over No. 8 Western Michigan, including a short-handed breakaway that made SportsCenter Top 10. At the 2018 NCAA West Regional, he scored an empty-netter to seal the win against No 1 St. Cloud State in the 4-1.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. The complete list of candidates follows this release. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The 15 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists in February, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2019 NCAA Men’s Frozen Final Four® in April.