The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that St. Louis Bandits forward Joe Kalisz has been named the Combat Hockey NAHL Player of the Month for March. This is the second consecutive Player of the Month award for Kalisz, who won the award back in February.
The forward from Davison, Michigan appeared in 12 games during the month of March (also included was the final regular season game on April 1), helping St. Louis post a 9-2-1 record during the month of March to help the Bandits win the Midwest Division regular season title. He recorded an astounding 26 points in those 12 games which included 12 goals and 14 assists. The 26 points during March (April 1) was the most for any NAHL player. Kalisz, 20, was also an amazing +14 during that stretch. Kalisz scored in 10 of the Bandits 12 games during March (April 1), and nine of those 10 games were multi-point games. He finished the regular season on a seven-game point streak, which he will take into the first round of the playoffs as the Bandits face Coulee Region.
“The division title was a big goal for us and the guys responded, particularly in the last month. We understand how important home ice is during the playoffs so the entire team kept and great focus and got the job done,” said Kalisz. “I think that our team is playing some of the best hockey of the season right now and we hope that translates into the success in the playoffs. I know personally this is my last opportunity to win the Robertson Cup so I am going to give it everything I have.”
Kalisz’s most productive part of the month came towards the end of the month as the Bandits rattled off a four-game winning streak to end the regular season. In those final four games, Kalisz posted 15 points, including seven goals and eight assists. He twice recorded five points in a game during those final four games.
Kalisz, who committed to the University of Connecticut earlier this season, finished as the 2011-12 NAHL scoring champion with 91 points, one point better than Fairbanks forward Gabe Levin. Kalisz tied for the league lead in goals with 40 and also had 51 assists. “Joe is the key to our success and has worked extremely hard in his three years with the Bandits organization to become a better and complete hockey player,” said St. Louis head coach Jeff Brown. “He understands how to communicate to his teammates and provide that necessary lift when we need it. He has a tremendous leadership quality that will help him as he continues his hockey career.”
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Gage Christianson, forward, Alaska Avalanche - Lawrence Cornellier, forward, Odessa Jackalopes – Mike Erickson, forward, Amarillo Bulls – Andrew Graves, forward, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Jackson Leef, forward, Texas Tornado – Brett Lubankski, forward, Kenai River Brown Bears – Shawn Pauly, forward, Wenatchee Wild – AJ Reid, forward, Austin Bruins – Chris Sitler, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues – Richard Young, forward, Topeka RoadRunners.
Previous NAHL Player of the Month winners: September 2011, JT Osborn, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs - October 2011, Robbie Payne, forward, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings - November 2011, Brooks Behling, forward, Amarillo Bulls – December 2011, Darren McCormick, forward, Janesville Jets – January 2012, Reid Sturos, forward, Alexandria Blizzard – February 2012, Joe Kalisz, forward, St. Louis Bandits.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)