Wednesday, December 4, 2013

NAHL announces monthly awards for November

Press Release

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its monthly player awards for the month of November. The Easton Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month is Tyler Gernhofer from the Amarillo Bulls.  The Easton Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month is Doug Rose from the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.  The Brian’s Custom Sports NAHL Goaltender of the Month is Kasimir Kaskisuo, from the Minnesota Wilderness.  Only players who are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the NAHL monthly awards.

Easton Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month: Tyler Gernhofer, Amarillo Bulls

It was a month to remember for NAHL leading scorer Tyler Gernhofer.  The 18-year-old from Grapevine, Texas, picked up 18 of his current 34 points during the month, which included 11 goals and 7 assists. Remarkably, five of Gernhofer’s 11 goals during the month were game-winning goals. Gernhofer (5’10/195) currently leads the NAHL in goals (21), points (34) and game-winning goals (7). Gernhofer picked up points in nine of the 12 games played during the month. Six of those games were multi-point games including two, four-point games. Gernhofer was named as the South Division Star of the Week on November 11th. This is his second season in the NAHL. Last season, Gernhofer had 26 points in 48 games. For his NAHL career, Gernhofer has 60 career points in 74 career regular season games. “Tyler came back this season with a renewed focus to prove that he can be an elite goal-scorer,” said Bulls head coach Dennis Williams. “The majority of his goals are good, clean goals and he has a great release. I don’t know in my four years in Amarillo and in the NAHL that I have seen a player with a better release and shot than Tyler has.”

Gernhofer led the Bulls to a 10-2 record during November, something he says that happened because the team started to play like they were capable of. “I think Coach Williams found some combinations and chemistry that really worked and guys finally started to play together and play to their abilities. I think the difference for me this season was that I knew what to expect. There aren’t those rookie jitters and you know what needs to happen in order to be successful. I think short-term we would like to keep playing well and win another Robertson Cup and long term I hope to keep developing and playing well enough to earn an NCAA Division I opportunity.”

Runner-Up: Richard Zehnal, Coulee Region Chill

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Conor Andrle, Brookings Blizzard – Zach Badalamenti, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Bruno Birzitis, Soo Eagles – Trey Bradley, Wenatchee Wild – Patrick Curry, Springfield Jr. Blues – Jay Dickman, Austin Bruins – Jake Durflinger, Corpus Christi IceRays – Jasen Fernsler, Topeka RoadRunners – Ben Greiner, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees - Kyle Haak, Aberdeen Wings – Jordan Himley, Janesville Jets – Jake Howie, Minot Minotauros – Albin Karlsson, Kenai River Brown Bears – Tayler Munson, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Brandon Reinholz, Johnstown Tomahawks – Jakob Romo, Minnesota Wilderness – Will Vosejpka, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Cullen Willox, Bismarck Bobcats

Easton Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month: Doug Rose, Fairbanks Ice Dogs

Fairbanks got back to winning in November, posting an 8-2 record and are threatening to move back into 1st place again. Third-year defenseman Doug Rose, 20, was the rock along the blueline during the successful month, which saw the defenseman from Sewell, New Jersey put up some incredible numbers. Rose (5’11/190) totaled eight points in the 10 games, which included five goals and three assists.  He was also a +11 during the month of November. Of Rose’s five goals during November, three of them were of the game-winning variety. During the month, Rose had two multi-point games, which game in back-to-back nights earning him the Midwest Star of the Week honors for November 25th. Of the 10 games he appeared in during November he was even or better in nine of them.  For the season, Rose leads all Ice Dogs defensemen in scoring with 15 points in 25 games played. “There is no secret that this honor for Doug goes hand-in-hand with our success in November because he has been that type of leader for us,” said Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart. “Doug is a terrific skater and that allows him to take chances offensively and jump in the play and create offense.  He loves coming to the rink everyday and playing hockey and we love that kind of enthusiasm.”

“I think we have a very talented team this season, but most of all, the guys really worked hard in November.  We worked hard in practice and didn’t complain when we got skated because we knew it was going to make us better. Being a veteran, you understand the type of work you have to put in to see the team succeed,” said Rose. “I think we have a team that can contend for the Robertson Cup.  Beyond that, I really want to play college hockey, so I am really focused on working hard and trying to get that opportunity to the next level. I think if we stay focused and working hard, both of those goals can be accomplished.”

Runner-Up: Joe Grabowski, Amarillo Bulls

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Josh Bretner, Austin Bruins – Jake Bushey, Kenai River Brown Bears – Mitch Hall, Johnstown Tomahawks – Jake Horton, Aberdeen Wings – Grant Hutton, Corpus Christi IceRays – Jonathan Kopacka, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Dan Kovar, Bismarck Bobcats – Kyle Kruenegel, Minot Minotauros - Terry Leabo, Minnesota Wilderness – Sean Mostrom, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Bradley Mueller, Soo Eagles – Natt Nuttle, Wenatchee Wild – Brandon Parker, Brookings Blizzard – Andrew Roye, Topeka RoadRunners – Carson Vance, Janesville Jets

Brian’s Custom Sports NAHL Goaltender of the Month: Kasimir Kaskisuo, Minnesota Wilderness

The NAHL record books for goaltenders may be seeing history develop right before its very eyes this season as Minnesota Wilderness netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo has put an assault on those record books the first three months of the season. The 20-year-old from Vantaa, Finland, has numbers so mind-boggling, that it is hard to ignore. During the month of November, Kaskisuo (6’3/195) posted a 5-2-1 record with a .74 goals against average and a 97.5% save percentage. Four of Kaskisuo’s five wins during the month came via the shutout. Out of 241 shots faced during the month of November, Kaskisuo stopped 235 of them. Kaskisuo leads the NAHL in almost every conceivable goaltending category including goals against average (1.04), save percentage (96.1%) and shutouts (7). He also ranks 2nd in wins with 13. It is also no surprise then that the Wilderness have the highest ranked penalty kill in the league as they have only allowed one power play goal this season out of 98 chances. “Kasimir has been remarkable this season and everyone has taken notice. He has been so solid and is a big reason behind our team success. The biggest thing about Kasimir thus far has been the way he has been able to be consistent on a game-in and game-out basis,” said Wilderness head coach Corey Millen.

Despite the record-breaking numbers and pace that Kaskisuo is on, he remains remarkably humble when talking about the season he has had to date. “I am just having a lot of fun playing in goal. Our team battles every single night so you think you have a chance to win every single game and that is great motivation for me and the rest of the guys,” said Kaskisuo. “I think a lot of the success is a reflection of the team and the systems that are in place. I think the NAHL game is more physical and you see a lot more shots because the ice surface is smaller and not so spread out like in Europe.  I just want to keep playing well enough to someday be a starting goalie at the NCAA Division I level.”

Runner-Up: Nick Lehr, Austin Bruins

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Kevin Aldridge, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Paul Berrafato, Amarillo Bulls - Alex Blankenburg, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – PJ Bridges, Topeka RoadRunners – Chad Catt, Aberdeen Wings – Logan Halladay, Janesville Jets – Stefanos Lekkas, Springfield Jr. Blues – Ben Myers, Corpus Christi IceRays – Aaron Nelson, Bismarck Bobcats – Alex Okicki, Johnstown Tomahawks – Kris Oldham, Kenai River Brown Bears – Chase Perry, Wenatchee Wild – Austin Priebe, Brookings Blizzard – Nick Schmit, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Paige Skoog, Soo Eagles – Brandon Wildung, Minot Minotauros

About Easton

Easton Hockey continues to rank atop the industry in sticks and gloves and is growing faster in skates than any other company. It also offers a comprehensive collection of protective gear including helmets and pants. To learn more, go to www.easton.com

 (Nathan can be reached at nathanfournier@mainehockeyjournal.com)

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