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Players of the Month

November

Forward of the Month

Forward of the Month: Ben Almquist - Austin Bruins

Ben Almquist

Austin Bruins forward Ben Almquist, 20, made the most of his nine games played in the month of November as he helped the Bruins stay in the thick of the playoff race in the Central Division. The 6’0/175 lbs. native of Victoria, Minnesota, recorded 13 points, including a league-high 9 goals during the month. That included four multi-point games and two game-winning goals to go along with a +6 rating. For the season, Almquist leads the Bruins in scoring so far this season with 23 points in 24 games played. “Ben being awarded forward of the month is something that our entire staff and his teammates are very proud of. Ben is a huge team player and he doesn’t look for or expect to win individual awards. He wants to get the Bruins a win every game. Our team had a good month and that helps earn individual success. We expect Ben and the rest of our players to keep playing well down the stretch. In the Central Division, every point in the standings is so important and hard to get,” said Bruins head coach Steve Howard.

“November by far was our best month as a team and I think that reflected in my performance because with team success usually comes individual success, so my teammates definitely played a big part in all that,” said Almquist. “We want to keep pushing hard and playing this way and make the playoffs. After that, anything can happen and we need to stay focused on getting wins. After that, I hope to play NCAA Division 1 hockey somewhere next season.”

Runner-Up: Oliver Kjaer, Fairbanks Ice Dogs

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jay Buchholtz, Minot Minotauros – Daniel Chladek, Bismarck Bobcats – Ryan Coughlin, Corpus Christi IceRays – Nate Horn, Minnesota Wilderness – Noah Kane, Maine Nordiques – Max Kouznetsov, Johnstown Tomahawks – Zach Krajnik, Kenai River Brown Bears – Mitch Machlitt, New Jersey Titans – Liam McCanney, Northeast Generals – Marko Reifenberger, Minnesota Magicians – Valerii Rykov, Jamestown Rebels – Dawson Sciarrino, Shreveport Mudbugs – Jordan Venegoni, Amarillo Bulls – Natan Vertes, Aberdeen Wings

 

Defenseman of the Month

Defenseman of the Month: Jake Beaune - Aberdeen Wings

Jake Beaune

Aberdeen Wings defenseman and captain Jake Beaune, 19, had a good month to help the Wings climb the Central Division standings with an 8-2-0 record during the month. The 6’3/190 lbs. native of Livonia, Michigan, recorded nine points in 10 games during the month, which included five goals from the blue line and a +4 rating. Beaune, who was the captain for Team NAHL during the 2019 Sirius Ice Hockey World Cup this past summer, currently leads all Aberdeen defensemen in scoring this season with 16 points in 23 games played. “Jake’s play in the month of November is a big reason for our team’s climb up a very competitive Central Division. He’s a player that leads on and off the ice and dedicates every ounce of his attention to the Aberdeen Wings,” said Wings head coach Scott Langer.

“We got off to a slow start and I think in November we came together as a team. Everyone is very positive right now and there is a great energy in the lockerroom. I want to just keep being a good leader and get better every day I touch the ice and hopefully a commitment will follow soon,” said Beaune. “I worked really hard this summer and that culminated with the best experience of my life so far in representing Team NAHL in Sochi. That really opened my eyes to the level hockey we played and experiencing playing for your country and league. I think it made me a lot better of a player and person.”

Runner-Up: Hampus Rydqvist, Maryland Black Bears

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Dylan Abbott, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Nikolai Charchenko, Minot Minotauros – Carl Fish, Bismarck Bobcats – Blake Holmes, Minnesota Wilderness – Renars Karkls, Jamestown Rebels – Blake Kryska, Minnesota Magicians – Tyler Love, Corpus Christi IceRays – Sam Miller, Shreveport Mudbugs – Joe Nagle, Northeast Generals – Ethan Prout, Maine Nordiques – Jaden Shields, Austin Bruins – Quinn Warmuth, Johnstown Tomahawks – Preston Weeks, Kenai River Brown Bears

 

Goalie of the Month

Goalie of the Month: Richie Parent - Shreveport Mudbugs

Richie Parent

For the second time this season, a Shreveport Mudbugs goalie has been selected as a goaltender of the month. In November, it was 20-year-old goalie Richie Parent, who only gave up two goals in three wins, all on the road, during the month. The 6’0/172 lbs. native of Pensacola, Florida, posted a 3-0 record, a 0.67 goals against average, and a .975 save percentage in November. That included a 23-save shutout at Odessa on November 2nd, 31 saves in a 4-1 win at Lone Star on November 9th, and 23 saves in a 4-1 win in Corpus Christi on November 23rd. For the season, Parent currenly leads all NAHL goalies with a 1.36 goals against average and .951 save percentage. “The Mudbugs would love to congratulate Richie on being named goalie of the month.  Richie has been one of our most consistent players in practice and games over the past two months so it’s nice to see him reaping the benefits of his consistency.  We are very excited to start moving into to second half of the season as Richie being a big part of our goaltending tandem,” said Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell.

“I think playing on the road is a little easier for me. There are less distractions and has really helped the team bond and develop some good chemistry. I have gotten great support from my teammates and they are doing the little things to make me successful,” said Parent. “I have a great relationship with Maiszon and we push each other to get better every day, be it in practice and in games. He is a great person and friend and we have made one another better. I just want to get better every day and help my team get back to the Robertson Cup. Hopefully after that will come the opportunity to play NCAA and pro hockey.”

Runner-Up: Charlie Glockner, Amarillo Bulls

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Guy Blessing, Topeka Pilots – Ben Garrity, Minot Minotauros – Josh Graziano, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Wes Mankowski, Minnesota Magicians – Andrew Miller, Bismarck Bobcats – Brett Miller, Austin Bruins – Landon Pavlisin, Kenai River Brown Bears – Mattias Sholl, Fairbanks Ice Dogs - Joey Stanizzi, Northeast Generals – Henry Welsch, Aberdeen Wings – Noah West, Jamestown Rebels

 
October

Forward of the Month

Forward of the Month: Connor Szmul - Chippewa Steel

Connor Szmul

The month of October was a great one for the Chippewa Steel and forward Connor Szmul. The third-year, 20-year-old veteran forward posted 12 points in just six games during the month as the Steel went undefeated in the month of October. The 5’8/155 lbs. native of Castle Rock, Colorado, had at least a point in all six games and recorded seven goals and five assists during the month. The included five assists in an 8-2 win over the Kenai River Brown Bears on October 4th, and multi-point games in wins over Springfield on October 11th and Janesville on October 26th. For the season, Szmul leads the Steel in scoring with 18 points (10 goals, 8 assists) in 14 games played. “Connor has been very consistent. He plays a lot of minutes for us every night and in all different situations. His success so far this season is a credit to the hard work and dedication he put forth in the off-season. The buy-in that he has showed and the attention to detail in all aspects of the game have taken his game to the next level. He puts in the work daily and has earned everything he's gotten so far,” said Steel head coach Carter Foguth.

“I think it has really helped us to have a veteran group to begin the season and we have had a lot of confidence since the start of the season, which has allowed us to win hockey games,” said Szmul. “I made an emphasis to work really hard in the off-season. Knowing that this is my final year of junior hockey, I pushed myself as hard as I could to get ready for it and am continuing to do so during the season. I want to make the most of this season and try and get better every day. Ultimately, I am just hoping to help my team win a Robertson Cup and hopefully make an NCAA Division 1 commitment.”

Runner-Up: Lincoln Hatten, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Nik Armstrong-Kingkade, Minot Minotauros – Ryan Coughlin, Corpus Christi IceRays – Noah Finstrom, Jamestown Rebels – Cannon Green, Maine Nordiques – Matt Guerra, Lone Star Brahmas – Nate Norn, Minnesota Wilderness – Grant Johnson, Bismarck Bobcats – Jack Johnston, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Max Kouznetsov, Johnstown Tomahawks – Hugh Larkin, Austin Bruins – Joe Mancuso, Northeast Generals – Riley Murphy, Aberdeen Wings – Nick Nardella, Janesville Jets – Marko Reifenberger, Minnesota Magicians – Theo Thrun, Kenai River Brown Bears – Conor Witherspoon, Shreveport Mudbugs

 

Defenseman of the Month

Defenseman of the Month: Sam Brennan - Lone Star Brahmas

Sam Brennan

Lone Star Brahmas defenseman Sam Brennan, 19, is the second Brahmas defenseman in as many months to earn Defenseman of the Month honors after teammate Matt Rickard earned it in September. The 6’0/181 lbs. native of Brighton, Michigan, had eight points in 10 games during the month as the Brahmas continued to be among the South Division leaders. Brennan, who is committed to play NCAA Division 1 hockey at Air Force, had at least a point in six of the 10 outings, which included four goals and four assists to go along with a +2 rating. “Sam has really made some big strides in his offensive game this season, which is now complimenting his already strong defensive ability,” said Brahmas head coach Dan Wildfong. “He has worked hard on and off the ice to become a better player and leader and it is paying off for him this season.”

“I have gotten into more of a consistent schedule and really put a focus on having a good routine every day. In a league like the NAHL, you have to come to play every day, be it practice or games. It has given me a lot more confidence on the ice, especially when it comes to handling the puck and trying to create some offense. We have a great veteran group of players and it has allowed me to become a better player and take some more chances, knowing I have guys there to back me up,” said Brennan.

Runner-Up: Michael Heneghan, Northeast Generals

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Dylan Abbott, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Nico Appendino, Bismarck Bobcats – Nate Clark, Jamestown Rebels – Ryan Dickinson, Shreveport Mudbugs – Kyle Gudme, Corpus Christi IceRays – Liam Haslam, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights - Grant Hindman, Janesville Jets – Kimball Johnson, Minnesota Wilderness – Robert McCollum, Kenai River Brown Bears – Spencer Oyler, Chippewa Steel - Jed Pietila, Austin Bruins – Jack Powell, Aberdeen Wings – Ethan Prout, Maine Nordiques – Luc Salem, Topeka Pilots – Sam Skinner, Minot Minotauros – Gordon Whalen, Minnesota Magicians

 

Goalie of the Month

Goalie of the Month: Andrew Miller - Bismarck Bobcats

Andrew Miller

Bismarck Bobcats goaltender Andrew Miller, 19, is having an incredible start to his rookie season in the NAHL. The 5’11/183 lbs. native of Boulder, Colorado, and NAPHL grad had an October to remember as he earned the league’s Goaltender of the Month honor. While Miller started in just three games during the month, he was nearly perfect, as he went 3-0 and allowed just one goal on 84 total shots. That included his first NAHL shutout, which was a 24-save effort in a 2-0 win over the St. Cloud Blizzard on October 5th, which was then followed by a 40-save shutout in a 3-0 win over the Austin Bruins on October 19th. In his final game of the month, Miller made 19 saves in a 5-1 win over the Blizzard on October 26th. Miller is currently the NAHL’s #1-ranked goalie statistically as he leads the league with a .99 goals against average and a .958 save percentage. Miller is another great example of a NAPHL to NAHL ladder of development success story as prior to this season he played four years in the NAPHL for the Rocky Mountain RoudRiders, which included appearances in the 2018 NAPHL 18U All-Star Game and 2018 NAHL 18U Top Prospects Tournament. “Andrew has done a tremendous job for us this year. Goaltending was one of our main focuses this year with losing Johnny Roberts. Andrew is technically sound and square to pucks, his ability to track pucks and his eye hand are at the forefront of his game and that is going to make him a big time goaltender at the NCAA level,” said Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie.

“We have a great group of experienced and veteran players here in Bismarck. I think it gave me a lot of confidence from the start to really have everyone in our lockeroom supporting me. Even if I do make a mistake, I know my teammates have my back and I know they are out there doing everything they can to make my job easier like blocking shots and playing at both ends of the ice,” said Miller. “Playing in the NAPHL really prepared me for his moment in the NAHL. You have seen who has come up before me through the NAPHL to the NAHL and onto the NCAA and the list just keeps getting longer and longer. The NAPHL was a great and competitive league because you know you are playing against some of the top teams in the country at every event. You are going to get seen and scouted. I think my focus now is trying to help the team win a Robertson Cup and keep improving to the point where I am good enough to earn an NCAA Division 1 commitment.”

Runner-Up: Cal Sandquist, Corpus Christi IceRays

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Connor Androlewicz, Maine Nordqiues – Trent Burnham, Chippewa Steel – Jakub Dobes, Topeka Pilots – Ben Garrity, Minot Minotauros – Jon Howe, Jamestown Rebels – Kaleb Johnson, Minnesota Wilderness – Richie Parent, Shreveport Mudbugs – Landon Pavlisin, Kenai River Brown Bears – Ludvig Persson, Lone Star Brahmas – Patrick Pugliese, New Jersey Titans – Grant Riley, Janesville Jets – Mattias Sholl, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Joey Stanizzi, Northeast Generals – Zach Stejskal, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – David Tomeo, Johnstown Tomahawks – Samuel Vyletelka, Minnesota Magicians – Henry Welsch, Aberdeen Wings

 
September

Forward of the Month

Forward of the Month: Wilmer Skoog - Maryland Black Bears

Wilmer Skoog
Leading the way in the month of September for NAHL scoring was Maryland Black Bears forward and Boston University recruit Wilmer Skoog. The 20-year-old native of Stockholm, Sweden, led all NAHL players with 15 points during the month, which included seven goals and eight assists in just eight games played as the Black Bears put together a 4-4-0 record. Skoog (6’2/197) had five multi-point games and was a +8 during the month, and is tied for the league lead with seven goals. “Wilmer has come into this season with a purpose, and if the first few weeks are any indication, our fans are in for a treat. He's a talented individual, but his competitive drive, and work ethic is off the charts. He has been great helping lead us into Year 2, and we look forward to seeing just how much more he can do as the season progresses,” said Maryland head coach Clint Mylymok.
 
“The coaching staff has been incredible this season. I think the Black Bears organization learned a lot during their first season in the NAHL last year and you can see that experience paying off this year, both on and off the ice. There is a great sense of community here and the support from the organization has been great for the players,” said Skoog. “I think if anything, having an NCAA Division 1 commitment motivates me even more and raises the expectations of myself, which is something that I enjoy. I don’t mind playing under pressure or with high expectations because I want to make a big impact.”
 
Runner-Up: Mitch Machlitt, New Jersey Titans

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Matt Allen, Amarillo Bulls – Nik Armstrong-Kingkade, Minot Minotauros – Jakob Breault, Aberdeen Wings – Shane Bull, Corpus Christi IceRays – Tyler Cooper, Northeast Generals – Will Hillman, Bismarck Bobcats – Jack Johnston, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Noah Kane, Maine Nordiques – Killian Kiecker-Olson, Chippewa Steel – Zach Krajnik, Kenai River Brown Bears – Dante Sheriff, Austin Bruins – Bennett Stockdale, Johnstown Tomahawks – CJ Walker, Lone Star Brahmas – Bud Winter, St. Cloud Blizzard – Connor Zilisch, Topeka Pilots

 

Defenseman of the Month

Defenseman of the Month: Matt Rickard - Lone Star Brahmas

Matt Rickard
Lone Star Brahmas defenseman Matt Rickard, 20, got his season off to a great start by posting seven points in the first six games of the season in September as the Brahmas posted a perfect 6-0-0 record. The 6’1/180 lbs. native of Coventry, Rhode Island, posted at least a point in five of the six games played during the month and tied for scoring among NAHL defensemen with seven points (2 goals, 5 assists). That included five points at the NAHL Showcase, which also saw him earn Star of the Week honors. “I think Matt is a defenseman that a lot of NCAA Division 1 schools are taking an interest in because of his skating and offensive ability, which he has showed off since the start of the season. He is a very competitive player and one that plays hard every shift. He plays in all situations, and is also is very well-rounded. We are very happy for his success to date and look forward to the next step in his hockey career,” said Brahmas head coach Dan Wildfong.
 
“I think it got started with our play during our pre-season tournament and has continued through the entire month. The entire team has been good and I have tried to feed off that. We have putting in countless hours of work and video and I think that has helped us click as a team,” said Rickard. “It has been a long career of grinding and hard work, so I am hoping that pays off soon with an NCAA Division 1 opportunity, but I know I have to keep improving every day.”
 
Runner-Up: Sam Skinner, Minot Minotauros

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Noah Carlin, Amarillo Bulls – Nico DeVita, Aberdeen Wings – Logan Kons, Maryland Black Bears – Robert McCollum, Kenai River Brown Bears – Joseph Nagle, Northeast Generals – Jack Olsen, Bismarck Bobcats – Tod Philibert, Corpus Christi IceRays – Jed Pietila, Austin Bruins – Quinn Warmuth, Johnstown Tomahawks – Trenton Woods, Fairbanks Ice Dogs 

 

Goalie of the Month

Goalie of the Month: Maiszon Balboa - Shreveport Mudbugs

Maiszon Balboa
It was a perfect month of September for Shreveport Mudbugs goalie Maiszon Balboa. The 19-year-old native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, posted a perfect 4-0-0 record during the month, which included a 0.97 goals against average and a .968 save percentage. Balboa (6’3/200), who is committed to play NCAA Division 1 hockey for Air Force and is also an NAPHL grad, posted two shutouts during the month and stopped a total of 121 of 125 total shots, allowing just four goals. “Maiszon has had a great start to the season and we feel it’s due to the work he put in in the offseason. He’s playing like a veteran goalie right now, as he is composed and controlling the pace of games. He’s had to make several big saves in all of his starts this year and we hope that trend continues. His leadership on and off this ice will be a big part of what the Mudbugs do this year,” said Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell.
 
“I have a lot of confidence in this year’s team. I think we have clicked and meshed a lot earlier in the season that last season during my rookie year, so I am very excited to see what we can do. I think being committed to play NCAA Division 1 hockey for Air Force is a huge relief and has allowed me to focus on just getting better as a goalie and as a teammate. It is nice knowing playing for Air Force is in my future and motivates me to get better,” said Maiszon. “My first year of playing legit AAA hockey was spent in the NAPHL and it was a great league to get started in. I didn’t know much about junior hockey, but after playing that season in the NAPHL, you see all the benefits of the exposure to scouts at events and you become educated on how the ladder of development process works.”
 
Runner-Up: Ryan Ullan, Bismarck Bobcats

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Cooper Black, Maryland Black Bears – Grant Boldt, Chippewa Steel – Jakub Dobes, Topeka Pilots – Jeremy Forman, Corpus Christi IceRays – Ben Garrity, Minot Minotauros – Max Gutjahr, Amarillo Bulls – Zach Hansen, Austin Bruins – Landon Pavlisin, Kenai River Brown Bears – Ludvig Persson, Lone Star Brahmas – Austin Ryman, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Jake Sibell, Aberdeen Wings – Zach Stern, Odessa Jackalopes – Noah West, Jamestown Rebels

 
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