NAHL Alumni Update
Atlantic Hockey Goalie of the Week: Guy Blessing, Air Force Academy (Topeka Pilots) - Junior Guy Blessing led Air Force to a sweep of service academy rival Army West Point, the first home sweep of the Black Knights since the 2016-17 season. The Chandler, Ariz., native posted first shutout of the season and second of his career, by stopping all 20 shots he faced in the series finale. He blanked the Black Knights for five of the six full periods, allowing just two even-strength goals in the series. This is his second career Atlantic Hockey weekly honor.
Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week: Simon Bucheler, Mercyhurst (Shreveport Mudbugs) - Mercyhurst freshman Simon Bucheler turned in a stellar performance in both games of the Lakers’ road split with No. 20/RV RIT. On Friday, the Pointe-Claire, Que. native limited the high-scoring Tigers to one goal in 32 minutes of relief action. On Saturday, Bucheler turned in one of the top goaltending performances of the Atlantic Hockey season with a 51-save shutout that included a 21-save second period to lead the Lakers to a 2-0 victory and give head coach Rick Gotkin his 600th career win. Bucheler finished the weekend with 66 saves on 67 shots for .985 save percentage and an 0.65 goals-against average. This is his first career Atlantic Hockey weekly honor.
CCHA Defenseman of the Week: Kyle Looft, Bemidji State (Austin Bruins) - Looft paced all CCHA blueliners with five points on three goals and two assists, helping the Beavers to a weekend split with Michigan Tech. Posting a +2 for the week, he collected 11 shots on goal, which were second-most among all conference skaters. He also blocked two shots at the defensive end of the ice. On Friday, he had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 loss to the Huskies. He then scored twice and assisted on another Beavers tally, helping Bemidji State erase a 4-0 second-period deficit to win 6-4.
CCHA Rookie of the Week: Evan Murr, D, Minnesota State (St. Cloud Norsemen) - Murr led CCHA rookies and was second among conference defensemen with three points last week, netting one goal – the first of his collegiate career – with two assists. Post a +1 in a road sweep of Ferris State, he picked up an assist on Friday in a 6-2 Mavericks victory, before dishing out another helper and scoring the overtime-winning goal in a 3-2 triumph on Saturday night. His 10 shots on goal were fourth-most among all skaters and tops among league rookies.
ECAC Rookie of the Week: Nikita Nikora, F, Dartmouth College (Springfield Jr. Blues) - Nikita Nikora (Fr., Dartmouth) garners the esteemed title of Rookie of the Week following a standout performance over the weekend, which included his first career goal—doubling as the overtime game-winning goal in Saturday's thrilling triumph over Colgate. In Friday's tie against nationally-ranked Cornell, Nikora further showcased his skills by contributing an assist on John Fusco's goal. The first-year forward currently leads the team in points scored with six, comprising one goal and five assists, through six games played.
ECAC Goalie of the Week: Cooper Black, Dartmouth (Odessa Jackalopes) - Cooper Black (So., Dartmouth) is honored with the distinguished title of MAC Goaltending Goaltender of the Week, thanks to his outstanding performance during the Big Green's first road series in league play. Facing nationally-ranked Cornell, Black played a pivotal role in securing a two-goal tie by making an impressive 31 saves through regulation and overtime. The following night, the sophomore netminder exhibited his talent on the backstop with 36 saves, allowing only two goals in Dartmouth's 3-2 victory at Colgate, concluding the weekend with a commendable 1-0-1 record. Black posted an impressive .944 save percentage and accumulated a total of 67 saves across the two games.
AHL Player of the Week: Nicholas Abruzzese, F, Toronto Marlies (New Jersey Titans) - Toronto Marlies forward Nick Abruzzese has been selected as the AHL Player of the Week for the period ending November 12, 2023. Abruzzese scored two goals and recorded five assists for seven points in three games last week. As Toronto kicked off the final leg of a seven-game road trip in Milwaukee on Wednesday, Abruzzese scored a power-play goal in a 7-3 loss to the Admirals. He came back on Friday with his first multiple-point game of the season, scoring the game-winning goal and adding two assists in a 7-3 win at Grand Rapids. Finally on Saturday, Abruzzese tallied three more assists as the Marlies defeated the Griffins, 4-0. Abruzzese has totaled three goals and eight assists for 11 points in 12 games for the Marlies this season, tied for second on the team in scoring. The second-year pro from Slate Hill, N.Y., tallied 16 goals and 32 assists in 69 AHL games as a rookie in 2022-23, and also notched two assists in two NHL games with the parent Maple Leafs. A fourth-round pick by Toronto in the 2019 NHL Draft, Abruzzese made his NHL debut in 2022 following his junior season at Harvard University, where he had won ECAC Hockey and Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors in 2019-20.
ECHL Player of the Week: Sam Craggs, F, Toledo Walleye (Springfield Jr. Blues) - Sam Craggs of the Toledo Walleye is the ECHL Player of the Week for Nov. 6-12. Craggs scored four goals and added three assists for seven points in three games against Fort Wayne last week. The 26-year-old had three points (2g-1a) in a 6-4 win on Friday, scored a pair of goals in a 7-4 victory on Saturday and added two assists in a 6-5 loss on Sunday. A native of Elmhurst, Illinois, Craggs has 13 points (6g-7a) in seven games with the Walleye this season. Craggs has posted 38 points (17g-21a) in 78 career ECHL games with Toledo. Prior to turning pro, Craggs recorded 64 points (30g-34a) in 181 career games at Bowling Green State University.