NAHL announces monthly player awards for March 2019
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 Brandon Puricelli from the Springfield Jr. Blues. The Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month is Brenden Datema from the Amarillo Bulls. The Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month is Mattias Sholl from the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Only players who are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the NAHL monthly awards.
Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month: Brandon Puricelli, Springfield Jr. Blues
The month of March was a huge one for Jr. Blues veteran forward Brandon Puricelli. The 21-year-old native of Ellisville, Missouri, led all NAHL players with 23 points in the month of March, which included 9 goals, 14 assists, and a +9 rating. Puricelli (5’10/185) recorded at least a point in all 10 games played during the month and had seven multi-point games, which included two four-point games. Overall in 2018-19, Puricelli is 4th in NAHL scoring and first in team scoring with 78 points in 57 games played. As a result of his stellar play during the past couple of month, which included racking up two points in two games at the 2019 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, Puricelli announced his commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth earlier this week. “Brandon has had a huge month offensively for us. He is very dangerous when the puck is on his stick and has the ability to take over a game. We will need him to continue this pace heading into the playoffs,” said Jr. Blues Head Coach Tyler Rennette.
“Our whole team found a new level of play in March. I think our power play stood out. Everyone was making plays and having fun, so it was a team effort,” said Puricelli. “I think capping off things with the commitment is just a dream come true. I think everything started to come into focus at the Top Prospects Tournament. It was an incredible experience playing with guys that you normally compete against and too see the arena full of scouts was incredible. This was my fourth and last year of juniors, but I trusted the process and path and to have it work out in the end with a Division I opportunity is everything I could have asked for. I hope to go to Minnesota-Duluth and make an impact and help them continue on their winning tradition.”
Runner-Up: Gabriel Seger, Amarillo Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Blake Bennett, Corpus Christi IceRays - Louis Boudon, Northeast Generals – Daniel Chladek, Bismarck Bobcats – Alex Frye, Jamestown Rebels – Matt Hanewall, Janesville Jets – Zach Heintz, Lone Star Brahmas – Dylan Johnson, Minnesota Wilderness – Jackson Jutting, Minnesota Magicians – Zach Krajnik, Kenai River Brown Bears – Luke Mobley, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Stepan Pokorny, Aberdeen Wings
Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month: Brenden Datema, Amarillo Bulls
Amarillo Bulls defenseman and Michigan Tech recruit Brenden Datema, 20, had a big month of March leading all NAHL defensemen with 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) to go along with a +9 rating. The 6’5/220 lbs. native of Sterling Heights, Michigan, helped the Bulls clinch the South Division regular season title at the beginning of the month and had five multi-point games during the month of March. For the season, Datema, who played in the 2019 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for the NAHL Selects Blue team, leads all NAHL defensemen in scoring with 59 points in 56 games played. “Brenden continues to have a great season for our team. He is one of our best shut down defenders, while creating offense in both 5-on-5 and power play opportunities. His plus/minus and point production show how important he is to our team, but his ability to defend at an elite level is just as important. He will be an excellent player when he joins Michigan Tech in the fall,” said Bulls Head Coach Rocky Russo.
“We have trusted the process all season long and that’s the reason behind our consistent success. We have all gotten better as players because we have guys on this team who have bought into doing the work it takes on and off the ice to succeed as a team. I think we have a team that is capable of winning the Robertson Cup and that is our main goal,” said Datema. “The past couple months have really clicked for me. I really enjoyed the experience at Top Prospects and feel like I am better because of it. I want to keep getting better each level I go to and eventually would like to play professional hockey after the NCAA.”
Runner-Up: Ryan Rowland, Northeast Generals
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): James Crossman, Jamestown Rebels – Sean Driscoll, Janesville Jets – Blake Evennou, Lone Star Brahmas – Anthony Firriolo, Corpus Christi IceRays – Markuss Komuls, Kenai River Brown Bears – Max Osborne, Springfield Jr. Blues – Ben Schultheis, Minnesota Magicians – Willy Stauber, Bismarck Bobcats – Dalton Weigel, Aberdeen Wings – Noah Wilson, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month: Mattias Sholl, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
The month of March was literally perfect for Fairbanks Ice Dogs rookie goalie Mattias Sholl. The 18-year-old native of Hermosa Beach, California, posted a perfect 9-0-0 record during the month and helped the Ice Dogs claim the Midwest Division regular season title. Sholl (5’10/160) faced 233 shots in the nine outings and made 222 saves, allowing just 11 goals, which was good for a .953 save percentage. He also posted three shutouts during the month of March, which tied him for the NAHL lead with six. For the 2018-19 season, Sholl currently leads all NAHL goalie in goals against average with a 1.69 mark and ranks 2nd in save percentage this season at .934. “Mattias was lights out during March. His team played with confidence in front of him, because he was playing with confidence. He made easy saves, he made hard saves, he did it all,” said Ice Dogs Head Coach Trevor Stewart.
“Any chance I got to play and start in goal, I wanted to make the most of. I think the biggest challenge is trying to mentally lock in and get in a zone where you are playing with confidence. You just have to believe you will always stop the next shot that comes at you,” said Sholl. “I think having an older brother who played in the league and has gone through the process of playing in the NCAA and then onto pro hockey has really helped. He has given me some great advice about not getting down when I am not playing, to keep working hard and play with confidence. He leads by example and definitely want to move down the path he did of getting an NCAA Division I opportunity coming out of the NAHL.”
Runner-Up: Ryan Keane, Jamestown Rebels
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Cole Brady, Janesville Jets – Seth Eisele, Lone Star Brahmas – Gavin Enright, Kenai River Brown Bears – Ryan Fanti, Minnesota Wilderness – David Fessenden, Northeast Generals – Ethan Haider, Minnesota Magicians – John Roberts, Bismarck Bobcats – Matt Vernon, Aberdeen Wings – Jack Williams, Springfield Jr. Blues