The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) announced its Franklin Virtual High School Peak Performers for the month of September. The players were selected based upon their performance at the first NAPHL event of the season, which took place at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota from September 19-22, 2013.
18U Franklin Peak Performer (Offense) – Nathan Medeiros, forward, Omaha AAA Hockey Club
One of the pleasant surprises this year at the opening event in Blaine was the Omaha 18U squad. After posting 12 wins a year ago and making the NAPHL gold division playoffs, the team appears to be on a whole new level this year under new head coach David Wilkie, who has recently led the 16U club to NAPHL and National success. Forward Nathan Medeiros, 17, is a newcomer to the organization this year and made an immediate impact with the team in Blaine, helping Omaha post a 4-1-0 record in their first five games. The native of Montreal, Quebec, is tied for the 18U scoring lead after one event with 10 points (7 goals, 3 assists). Out of the four wins Omaha had in Blaine, Medeiros (5’11/180) had three of the game-winning goals. Medeiros registered two points in each of Omaha’s wins over Atlanta and Detroit. In the next two games against Cleveland and Esmark, Medeiros record three points in each of the wins, including a hat-trick in the 6-3 win against Esmark. The only time Medeiros was held scoreless was in Omaha’s 3-1 loss to San Jose, their first loss of the season. "Nathan has been a very good player for us the last two years,” said Wilkie. “He has high-end skill and thinks the game very well. He has a very good future in front of him and we need him to continue to be an offensive force for the 18U team."
#2 Star: Tyler Benson, forward, Pursuit of Excellence
#3 Star: Ronald Hein, forward, Lansing Capitals
18U Franklin Peak Performer (Defense) – Joe Licata, goaltender, California Titans
The name Joe Licata was a familiar one in the NAPHL, but change in scenery seemed to benefit the new California Titans 18U goaltender. The 18-year-old from Jackson, New Jersey decided to head West this season and play for California after playing the past two seasons for New Jersey Jr. Titans in the NAPHL. The move seemed to pay immediate dividends for Licata (5’11/180), who played extremely well in the Blaine as the Titans put together a 3-2-0 record. Licata played in four of the five games and won three of them. His lone loss of the event came in his first game, a 2-0 defeat by Esmark. After that, Licata was almost perfect the rest of the way. He didn’t allow goals in wins over the Texas Tornado and he posted a 1-0, 27-save shutout against his former New Jersey Jr. Titans squad. He finished the event with a 5-1 win over Atlanta. So far in NAPHL play, Licata leads in 18U Division in goals against average (0.79), save percentage (96.7%) and is tied for first in wins with three. “I have seen him play for a couple years now and I have always thought Joe was an outstanding goalie. He has a great skill set and I thought he played really well in Blaine,” said California head coach Luc Beausoleil. “He came into the season in really good shape and prepares and I would say his biggest strength is his speed and quickness.”
#2 Star: Justin Ketula, goaltender, Omaha AAA Hockey Club
#3 Star: David Dziezawiec, defenseman, Pikes Peak Miners
16U Franklin Peak Performer (Offense) – Tarek Baker, forward, Omaha AAA Hockey Club
In the five-year history of the NAPHL, there has rarely been an event that has seen a single player dominate like Omaha 16U forward Tarek Baker, 16, did in Blaine. In five games Baker posted six goals and 12 assists for 18 points and he currently leads all of the NAPHL in scoring. He helped his Omaha squad, the defending NAPHL 16U Champions, to a perfect 5-0-0 record as they outscored their opponents a combined 35-6. Baker (5’11/185) had at least a point in all five of the wins and had a hat-trick and a seven-point game in a win over Phoenix on the final day. Baker was so good in fact that immediately following the event’s conclusion he announced his commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of Minnesota. Three of Minnesota’s coaches, including head coach Don Lucia, where in attendance at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine. Earlier this summer, he was a member of Team USA at the Five Nations Tournament and helped the United States capture the gold medal. "Tarek is an ultimate competitor that shows up to play every game. He is very effective at both ends of the ice and is a great leader that sets the pace for our 16U team,” said Omaha head coach David Wilkie. “He had a very good showcase in Blaine and he is consistently showing the ability that he has as a high-end player."
#2 Star: Adam Goodsir, forward, Lansing Capitals
#3 Star: Ryan Walker, forward, New Jersey Jr. Titans
16U Franklin Peak Performer (Defense) – Jacob Acton, goaltender, San Jose Jr. Sharks
San Jose 16U goalie Jacob Acton had quite the NAPHL debut as he achieved perfection in Blaine. The 14-year-old from Livermore, California, posted a shutout in each of the three games he played and started in during the event in Minnesota. Overall, the Jr. Sharks finished with a 4-1-0 record at the event and sit in a tie for 3rd place in the 16U Division after one event. Acton (6’0/150) posted shutouts against Cleveland, West Michigan and Atlanta at the event. He faced a total of 33 shots during the three games and played a total of 153 minutes. Acton played last season for the San Jose Jr. Sharks 14U club as part of the Bantam Tournament Series. In five games, he posted a 4-1 record with a 1.01 goals against average and a 94.9% save percentage. “Jacob’s performance in the games was directly related to how he practices. He is always ready to play,” said Sharks 16U head coach Kyle McLaren. “He puts the work in on and off the ice and that makes him successful. He doesn’t make the position harder that it has to be. He always wants to be in the right spot for the next shot.”
#2 Star: Carter Ekberg, defenseman, Esmark Stars
#3 Star: Max Quertermus, goaltender, Lansing Capitals
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)