NAHL announces monthly player awards for December 2019
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its monthly player awards for the month of December. The Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month is Peter Morgan from the Kenai River Brown Bears. The Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month is Luc Salem from the Topeka Pilots. The Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month is Henry Welsch from the Aberdeen Wings. Only players who are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the NAHL monthly awards.
Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month: Peter Morgan, Kenai River Brown Bears
Brown Bears forward Peter Morgan, 19, has transformed his game since arriving in Kenai River back in late October and has resulted in his best month to date in December. The 5’6/155 lbs. native of Sarasota, Florida, posted 12 points in just seven games during the month, which included eight goals, four assists and a +11 rating. Morga, who is also an NAPHL grad, recorded at least a point in all seven games and had three multi-point games during the month. For the season, Morgan has 30 points in 34 games played and 29 points in 25 games since joining the Brown Bears. “Peter has been extremely consistent for us these last few months. After starting out this season slow, he has really hit his stride throughout the month of December. He has really made the most of his opportunities this year and continues to get better everyday. He is very competitive and holds himself to a high standard of play every night. We are very happy for Peter to win this honor and look for him to continue to pick up steam as we head into the second half of the season,” said Brown Bears head coach Kevin Murdock.
“Since I got to Kenai River, I have been lucky enough to be paired with some great linemates in Porter Schachle and Cody Moline and that has made all the difference in the world and helped me a ton. My confidence really went up when all that happened and I was happy I started scoring some goals in December. We have a great team here and the coaches have been awesome, so we want to keep that going and keep our focus on trying to win the division. I just hope to continue to improve a player and keep my team winning. We would like a good showing at Top Prospects. Hopefully after that, it will end up with an NCAA Division 1 commitment,” said Morgan. “I had a great experience playing in the NAPHL and it really helped me develop and prepare to play in the NAHL. We had some special teams down in Tampa with a great coach in Vinny Prospal, so it was special to be a part of that group that played in the NAPHL.”
Runner-Up: Jakub Breault, Aberdeen Wings
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Leo Bacallao, Springfield Jr. Blues – Daniel Chladek, Bismarck Bobcats – Christian Gorscak, Johnstown Tomahawks – Matthew Iasema, New Jersey Titans – Noah Kane, Maine Nordiques - Lucas Kanta, Minnesota Magicians – Kyler Kleven, Minot Minotauros – Matt Koethe, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Gerard Marretta, Northeast Generals – Austin McCarthy, Topeka Pilots – Nick Michel, Janesville Jets – Eric Olson, Jamestown Rebels – Bram Scheerer, Minnesota Wilderness – Dante Sheriff, Austin Bruins – Jackson Sterrett, Maryland Black Bears – Jordan Venegoni, Amarillo Bulls
Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month: Luc Salem, Topeka Pilots
Topeka Pilots defenseman Luc Salem, 20, had a big month of December, helping his team to a 6-1-1 record during the month. The 5’10/175 lbs. native of Santa Monica, California, and NAPHL grad, recorded nine points in eight games during the month. That included three goals, six assists and a +6 rating. Salem recorded at least a point in six of the nine games and had four multi-point games. For the season, Salem is fourth in team scoring with 24 points in 36 games played. His 24 points ranks tied for 3rd among all NAHL defensemen in scoring this season. “Luc has been a steady performer for us all season. He was a big reason for our success in December by making big plays in key situations. His mobility and poise under pressure have been exceptional as of late. We are happy to see Luc be recognized for his recent performance. He will continue to be counted on to play big minutes for us down the stretch,” said Pilots head coach Simon Watson.
“I think we did a great job of bouncing back in December after a small slump prior to that. The whole team was clicking and playing together really well. Personally, I think I just capitalize and covert my chances. Sometimes the pucks go in and you can’t get frustrated if they don’t, you just have to keep working hard. I want to keep improving to the point where I can play NCAA Division 1 hockey and then hopefully somewhere professionally after that,” said Salem. “Growing up in California, you were used to playing just teams in your area, but playing in the NAPHL opened up a whole new level of competition and it really opened my eyes to the level of exposure and what types of other teams and programs were out there. It really gave me a glimpse of what juniors and the NAHL was going to be like.”
Runner-Up: Sam Skinner, Minot Minotauros
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brendan Blair, Johnstown Tomahawks – Pierson Brandon, Aberdeen Wings – Tim Erkkila, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Cam Gaudette, Northeast Generals – Ethan Gauer, Bismarck Bobcats – Jordon Halverson, Janesville Jets – Kimball Johnson, Minnesota Wilderness – Logan Kons, Maryland Black Bears – Blake Kryska, Minnesota Magicians – Max Osborne, Springfield Jr. Blues – Cole Ouellette, Maine Nordiques – Lauri Sertti, Amarillo Bulls – Jaden Shields, Austin Bruins – Preston Weeks, Kenai River Brown Bears
Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month: Henry Welsch, Aberdeen Wings
The defending Robertson Cup Champion Aberdeen Wings currently own the second best record in the NAHL and didn’t miss a beat in December thanks to a 7-0-1 record during the month. Backstopping the team for the majority of those games was 19-year-old goaltender Henry Welsch. The 6’2/195 lbs. native of Lakeville, Minnesota, not only put together a 5-0-1 record during the month, but he also committed to play NCAA Division 1 hockey for UMass-Lowell. Welsch stopped 162 of 172 shots during the month, which was good for a 1.71 goals against average and a .941 save percentage in December. Welsch has a 13-2-4 record this season and ranks in the Top 6 in the NAHL in both save percentage and goals against average. “Henry’s solid month has helped us to the top of the Division. He works and battles at a very high rate and loves to compete. Henry has bought into the plan laid out by our goalie coach Josh Aycock and the results are paying off. One of the best attributes of Henry’s is his humbleness. He is a team first player that wears the Wings logo proud,” said Wings head coach Scott Langer.
“I think it was just a matter of time before we settled in and found the right pieces to the puzzle to begin this streak that we are on right now, which continued in December. The team has been playing some incredible defense in front of me, which makes the job easier for any goalie, so it has been an entire team effort,” said Welsch. “Committing to UMass-Lowell was a dream some true and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be able to continue my career in the NCAA. It means a lot to me, because I have put it a lot of work to become a better goaltender and teammate.”
Runner-Up: Charlie Glockner, Amarillo Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Danny Fraga, Kenai River Brown Bears – Ben Garrity, Minot Minotauros – Kaleb Johnson, Minnesota Wilderness – Josh Langford, Topeka Pilots – Brett Miller, Austin Bruins – Patrick Pugliese, New Jersey Titans – Mattias Sholl, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Riley Sims, Janesville Jets – Dysen Skinner, Minnesota Magicians – Andrew Takacs, Maryland Black Bears – Alex Tracy, Johnstown Tomahawks – Ryan Ullan, Bismarck Bobcats – Noah West, Jamestown Rebels – Ryan Wilson, Springfield Jr. Blues