NAHL announces monthly player awards for February
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its monthly player awards for the month of February. The Forward of the Month is Gavin Morrissey from the Austin Bruins. The Defenseman of the Month is Garrett Horsager from the Oklahoma Warriors. The Goaltender of the Month is Maxwell Beckford from the Wisconsin Windigo. Only players who are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the NAHL monthly awards.
Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month: Gavin Morrissey, Austin Bruins
Austin Bruins forward Gavin Morrissey, 20, had a big month of February as the Bruins widened their lead atop the Central Division to 14 points. The 5’11/180 lbs. native of Rochester Hills, MI, recorded 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) in eight games during the month. The Minnesota State recruit scored at least a point in seven of the eight games during the month and had four multi-point games. For the season, Morrissey leads the Bruins in scoring with 48 points in 47 games played to date, which also ranks in the Top 10 in NAHL scoring. “February was a tough month for us as a team because we had players sidelined due to an illness or injuries but Gavin was a bright spot for our team. He stayed consistent and he led by example. He competes hard every night. He has grown so much as a player this season and you can see the confidence in his game. We need Gavin to keep playing well down the stretch,” said Bruins head coach Steve Howard.
“Both the team and I were kind of struggling to find consistency after the break, so we’ve tried to really focus on the little things as of late. We’ve been trying to play with more attention to detail, and that’s how we’ve found more success,” said Morrissey. “For the rest of the season, I am just trying to take things game by game and keep helping the team win as much as possible. For the future, I just look forward to continuing playing hockey at a high level and seeing where it takes me.”
Runner-Up: William Lawson-Body, Oklahoma Warriors
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tyler Borgula, Springfield Jr. Blues – Chase Davis, Amarillo Wranglers – David Deputy, Philadelphia Rebels – Logan Dombrowsky, North Iowa Bulls – Garrett Drotts, Kenai River Brown Bears – Logan Gravink, Aberdeen Wings – Levente Keresztes, New Jersey Titans – Jake Mack, Shreveport Mudbugs – Ryan Mansfield, Odessa Jackalopes - Max Martin, Wisconsin Windigo – Brad McNeil, Maryland Black Bears – Paul Minnehan, Northeast Generals – Adam Pietila, Bismarck Bobcats – Julian Recine, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Sully Scholle, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Filip Wiberg, Maine Nordiques
Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month: Garrett Horsager, Oklahoma Warriors
Oklahoma Warriors defenseman Garrett Horsager, 21, helped his team take over the South Division lead in February with a solid month. The 6’0/180 lbs. native of Rosemount, MN, had 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) in 10 regular season games during the month. He recorded a point in 7 of his 10 outings, had two multi-point games, a game-winning goal and a +7 rating. Horsager, who played in the 2023 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for the South Division team, currently has 24 points in 42 games played to date. “Our group has had a great start to the season and Garrett has been one of the biggest factors in that. His defending and willingness to sacrifice his body for the team is the focal point in his game. His leadership qualities and the way guys feed off his energy is contagious. He has been the most dependable player within our group since the first day he walked into the locker room. His development is the aspect that as a coaching staff we are most proud of him for. He has continued to work on trusting his instincts which allowed him to produce in a big way offensively this month, without sacrificing his core values as a defender. Garrett has proven he is an elite defenseman at the junior level and there is no question in my mind that he is one of the top uncommitted defensemen in junior hockey,” said Warriors head coach Garrett Roth.
“I think our success has come from playing as a team and competing as hard as we can each game. The hard work of my teammates helped make this a good month individually, but more importantly a successful month as a team,” said Horsager. “My short-term goal is to earn an NCAA commitment and more importantly win a Robertson Cup for the Oklahoma Warriors. My long-term goal would be to play college hockey for four years and see what opportunities arise upon graduation.”
Runner-Up: Joey Potter, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jack Anderson, Kenai River Brown Bears – Chase Beacom, Bismarck Bobcats – Axel Begley, Wisconsin Windigo – Marcus Broberg, Springfield Jr. Blues – Devon Carlstrom, Aberdeen Wings – Matt DeSpirit, Northeast Generals – Jackson Hay, Odessa Jackalopes – David Helledy, Maine Nordiques – Logan Heroux, Shreveport Mudbugs – Jeff Hutchinson, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Jack Mesic, North Iowa Bulls – Pierce Patterson, Amarillo Wranglers – Luke Van Why, Maryland Black Bears
True Hockey NAHL Goaltender of the Month: Maxwell Beckford, Wisconsin Windigo
The Wisconsin Windigo vaulted themselves to the top of the Midwest Division standings thanks in large part to a big month from goaltender Maxwell Beckford. The 20-year-old from London, ON, won all four of his starts during the month, allowing just seven goals in the four wins, which was good for a 1.75 goals against average during the month. Beckford stopped 137 of a possible 144 shots, which was good for a .951 save percentage during the month. He also had a 34-save shutout in a 3-0 win over the Minnesota Wilderness on February 17th. For the season, Beckford has a 14-11-1 record in 26 games played with a 2.73 GAA and a .921 save percentage. He has won seven of his last eight starts. “Max had a great month and was a big part of our group’s success. He’s worked hard at his game and has improved all season and it’s nice to see him rewarded for it,” said Windigo head coach Blake Hietala.
“I believe our success starts with the attitude and compete levels that the guys in our locker room come to the rink with every day. Everyone is looking to push each other in practice which translates to us playing our best during games. This is a testament to our coaches who have instilled this work ethic into our group since the start of the year. This month was a true challenge for our team as we played one of the top teams four times. We came into the games with the mentality that we can play with anybody as long as we stick to our structure and execute on the little details that make this team successful. I’m excited to continue growing with this group as we close out the regular season preparing to make a deep playoff run,” said Beckford. “I’m striving to get better and improve on and off the ice everyday continuing this until the end of the year. In the short term my goal is to finishes off the regular season strong and help my team to stay atop the Midwest division, ultimately winning the Robertson Cup. Long term I look forward to competing at the NCAA level, furthering my athletic and academic career. In the future I look forward to the challenge of competing at the highest professional level.”
Runner-Up: Adam Gajan, Chippewa Steel
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Zakari Brice, New Jersey Titans – Carter Clafton, Amarillo Wranglers – Ethan Dahlmeir, St. Cloud Norsemen – Mitch Day, North Iowa Bulls – Kael Depape, Maine Nordiques – Daniel Duris, Oklahoma Warriors – Hunter Garvey, Bismarck Bobcats – Nikola Goich, Shreveport Mudbugs – Jakub Krbecek, Philadelphia Rebels – Cole Moore, Aberdeen Wings – Gergely Orosz, Odessa Jackalopes – Aksel Reid, Springfield Jr. Blues – Carsen Stokes, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Nils Wallstrom, Kenai River Brown Bears – Trent Wiemken, Austin Bruins