NAHL announces monthly player awards for January 2020
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its monthly player awards for the month of January. The Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month is Dante Sheriff from the Austin Bruins. The Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month is Lucas Erickson from the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. The Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month is Cayden Bailey from the Lone Star Brahmas. Only players who are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the NAHL monthly awards.
Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month: Dante Sheriff, Austin Bruins
Austin Bruins forward Dante Sheriff, 20, had a dominant month in January and made some history in the process. The 5’11/175 lbs. native of Woodbridge, Ontario, and Mercyhurst recruit led the NAHL with 23 points in 10 games played during the month of January, which included seven goals and 16 assists. In the process, Sheriff became the Bruins all-time leading scorer and now currently leads the NAHL in scoring with 54 points. Sheriff recorded at least a point in nine of the 10 games during the month and had eight multi-point games. He was the Central Division Star of the Week in back-to-back weeks during the month. “I thought Dante had a great month. He has an elite skill set that creates offense. His ability to make plays and use his speed has really been a big part of his success. Dante is in his final junior season and he has continually taken steps forward over his three seasons with the Bruins. He is now the Bruins all time leading scorer. We need him to keep playing well and be a leader down the stretch,” said Bruins head coach Steve Howard.
“I think everyone stepped up in January, but I really credit my linemates. I think any of could have gotten those points, but their hard work really contributed to me being able to produce like that,” said Sheriff. “Right now, my focus is on trying to be a good leader and help bring a Championship and Robertson Cup to Austin. After that I want to have a successful NCAA career and I want to one day play in the NHL.”
Runner-Up: Mack Byers, Aberdeen Wings
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tyrone Bronte, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Robert Christy, Minnesota Magicians – Alex Dominique, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Christian Gorscak, Johnstown Tomahawks – Quinn Green, Topeka Pilots – Oliver Kjaer, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Kyler Kleven, Minot Minotauros – Isaac Novak, Janesville Jets – Eric Olson, Jamestown Rebels – Kevin Pitts, Maine Nordiques – Logan Ritchie, Kenai River Brown Bears – Bram Scheerer, Minnesota Wilderness – Adam Stacho, Bismarck Bobcats – Brayden Stannard, Maryland Black Bears – Jordan Venegoni, Amarillo Bulls – Caden Villegas, Springfield Jr. Blues – Jonathan Young, Northeast Generals
Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month: Lucas Erickson, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Second-year Ice Dogs defenseman Lucas Erickson, 20, return to the line-up in the month of January and didn’t miss a beat for the 1st place Ice Dogs. The 6’2/200 lbs. native of Woodbury, Minnesota, recorded 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) in eight games during the month of January, which also included a +12 rating. Erickson, who is committed to play NCAA Division 1 hockey for St. Lawrence University, had five multi-point games during the month and was named the Midwest Division Star of the Week back on January 27th. “Lucas was continued to get better throughout the month of January. It was evident that his confidence continued to grow with each game. He really provided his team with an offensive punch from the back-end,” said Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart.
“I think the team has really been dialed in for a couple of months now, so the mindset coming back from my injury was to continue that momentum. I didn’t rush myself back from injury because the guys were really playing well while I was gone, so it would good that I didn’t feel pressure and I could just get healthy and play at 100%,” said Erickson. “I think there definitely is a feeling of unfinished business stemming from last year and the veteran players here like myself are focused on bringing the Robertson Cup back to Fairbanks. After that, I just want to make the most of playing in the NCAA and see my full potential out.”
Runner-Up: Hampus Rydqvist, Maryland Black Bears
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): JJ Boucher, Kenai River Brown Bears – Pierson Brandon, Aberdeen Wings – Blake Dangos, Janesville Jets – Cam Gaudette, Northeast Generals – Blake Holmes, Minnesota Wilderness – Brandon Holt, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Renars Karkls, Jamestown Rebels – Josef Mysak, Austin Bruins – Jack Olsen, Bismarck Bobcats – Luc Salem, Topeka Pilots – Billy Simms, Springfield Jr. Blues – Sam Skinner, Minot Minotauros – Casper Soderling, Maine Nordiques – Colin Stein, Minnesota Magicians
Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month: Cayden Bailey, Lone Star Brahmas
Lone Star Brahmas goaltender Cayden Bailey, 20, had a January to remember. The 5’11/180 lbs. native of Estero, Florida, gave up just a single goal in five appearances during the month. Bailey posted a perfect 5-0 record and stopped 100 of 101 shots during the month, which was good for a .990 save percentage and a 0.18 goals against average. Bailey posted four shutouts during the month. For the season, Bailey currently leads the NAHL with a 1.29 goals against average and a .943 save percentage, and is tied for the shutout lead with eight. “Cayden has really put in the extra work on and off the ice to become a better goaltender and it has paid off. He has continually and consistently come up with the big saves we have needed in games. I think his work with our goalie coach Christian Frey has made a big difference. He has done a great job of tracking pucks and is playing with a lot of confidence right now. I think he would be a great fit for an NCAA Division 1 program,” said Brahmas head coach Dan Wildfong.
“I think our team is playing with a lot of confidence right now and paying attention to playing at both ends of the ice, so that really helped me out a lot. We have some high expectations this year and we are playing like we are never satisfied,” said Bailey. “I am very motivated right now to try and set the NAHL shutout record. We feel we have the team to contend for and win a Robertson Cup. After that, I am hopeful to play NCAA Division 1 hockey one day.”
Runner-Up: Max Gutjahr, Amarillo Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Ben Garrity, Minot Minotauros – Kaleb Johnson, Minnesota Wilderness - Josh Langford, Topeka Pilots – Henrik Laursen, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Wes Mankowski, Maine Nordiques – Andrew Miller, Bismarck Bobcats – Brett Miller, Austin Bruins – Grant Riley, Janesville Jets – Austin Ryman, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Dysen Skinner, Minnesota Magicians – Henry Welsch, Aberdeen Wings – Noah West, Jamestown Rebels – Ryan Wilson, Springfield Jr. Blues