NAHL announces monthly player awards for December
Oliver Salo (Anchorage), David Helledy (Maine), and Matthew Alberti (Janesville) earn recognition in December
DALLAS, TEXAS – The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its monthly player awards for the month of December. The Forward of the Month is Oliver Salo from the Anchorage Wolverines. The Defenseman of the Month is David Helledy from the Maine Nordiques. The Goaltender of the Month is Matthew Alberti from the Janesville Jets. Only players who are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the NAHL monthly awards.
Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month: Oliver Salo, Anchorage Wolverines
Salo, 20, had a big month of December for the resurgent Wolverines. The 6’1/190 lbs native of Kaarina, Finland, totaled 15 points in nine games played during the month, which led all NAHL players. Salo was also a +11 in those nine games, which included five goals and 10 assists. He had four multi-point games, which included a five-point performance in a 7-2 road win over Chippewa on December 30th. For the season, Salo is tied for 3rd in team scoring with 28 points in 28 games played. “I think Oliver’s play has spoken for itself this month. He’s on a heater. 15 points in 9 games, with a couple of multi-point games mixed in. I think it took some time for him to adjust to the league, mixed with some line juggling, and now he’s on a roll. The pace he plays at, poise with the puck, and ability to get the puck on and off his stick when shooting are the ingredients to his success as of late,” said Wolverines head coach Nick Walters.
“Recently our team has really been starting to click. Our guys are a very tightly knit group, and I think that has allowed us to mesh as a cohesive unit. The game becomes a lot easier when you play with guys you know well and can trust with confidence. I think this dynamic has been extremely beneficial for myself and my development and has led to a fortunate period of success on the ice. I give a shoutout to my teammates for coming to work every single day, my success would not be possible if it weren’t for their hard work, which has consistently given me opportunity to flourish,” said Salo. “In terms of goals for the season the Alaska Airlines Cup comes to mind. Playing in Alaska is a unique experience that our team is fortunate enough to be a part of. The Alaskan rivalry is one that burns deep, and there is a palpable tension in the air every time an in-state game takes place. Being considered the best team in Alaska is a huge deal to us, and we will continue to work tirelessly to keep the cup in Anchorage. Looking beyond Alaska obviously a deep playoff run is always on the back of our minds. We feel like we have a really special group of guys that can make some noise come playoff season. As for my own long-term goals, it has always been a dream of mine to play NCAA Division I college hockey. I hope that continued hard work from my teammates and I can help make this dream a reality in my future.”
Runner-Up: Trevor Stachowiak, Minot Minotauros
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Yusaku Ando, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Tommy Cronin, Bismarck Bobcats – Grant Dietz, Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks – Nils Forselius, Maine Nordiques – Kyan Haldenby, Shreveport Mudbugs – Jesse Horacek, Maryland Black Bears – Michael Kadlecik, Odessa Jackalopes – Jacob MacDonald, Lone Star Brahmas – Hagen Moe, St. Cloud Norsemen – Kaden Nelson, Oklahoma Warriors – Charles Panchisin, Philadelphia Rebels – Everett Pietila, Wisconsin Windigo – Justin Rapp, Johnstown Tomahawks – Austin Salani, Austin Bruins – Nikolai Tishkevich, Aberdeen Wings – Max Wagener, Janesville Jets – Roman Zap, Amarillo Wranglers
Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month: David Helledy, Maine Nordiques
Maine defenseman David Helledy, 20, stood out in December as the Nordiques rocketed themselves into first place in the East Division. The 6’1/180 lbs native of Milwaukee, WI, led the way with 12 points in nine games during the month of December. Helledy, who is committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for Bentley University, had two goals and 10 assists in December and was also a +8. For the season, Helledy is currently 2nd among all NAHL defensemen in scoring with 33 points in 33 games played. “David has come a long way since his debut as a Maine Nordique. Junior hockey is an opportunity for a player to mature, and he has taken every opportunity to improve his decision making. Every game, he’s adding little puck touches and skating maneuvers that he’s figured out when and where to use such a special skill set. He’s been a leader from Day 1 this season,” said Nordiques head coach Nick Skerlick.
“Looking back on December, it is easy to say that our team in Maine is very excited for the second half of the season. After going on an 8-game win streak this month, I can only thank my teammates for my personal success in December. Our team’s performance is growing each weekend and that’s what I am looking forward to the most in January,” said Helledy. “Last year in the East Division Finals we were knocked out by Maryland, so my eyes are without a doubt set on the playoffs. Obviously, there is a good chunk of time before then, so collecting every regular season point we can is crucial. Right now, we sit in first place in the East Division, and it would be special to accomplish winning a regular season championship this year. Our team is an unsatisfied group of guys, so I know we are hungry to get back into our grove for the second half.”
Runner-Up: Wil Murphy, Shreveport Mudbugs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Luke Amell, Maryland Black Bears – Jackson Anderson, Aberdeen Wings – Conner Brown, Janesville Jets – Cam Cherron, Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks – Jack Dalton, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Kyle DeMarco, Amarillo Wranglers – Luke deVries, Philadelphia Rebels – Sam Groebner, Wisconsin Windigo – Bryce Ingles, Lone Star Brahmas – Lukas Klemm, Johnstown Tomahawks – Kyle Miller, St. Cloud Norsemen – Caden Pendo, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Matthew Rafalski, Bismarck Bobcats – Camden Shasby, Anchorage Wolverines – Max Vig, Oklahoma Warriors – John Wojciechoski, Odessa Jackalopes – Colby Woogk, Minot Minotauros
True Hockey NAHL Goaltender of the Month: Matthew Alberti, Janesville Jets
Janesville goalie Matthew Alberti, 19, was on fire during the month of December as the Jets went on a run to first place in the Midwest Division. The 6’0/170 lbs native of Hamburg, NY, appeared in seven games during the month a posted a 6-0-1 record. Alberti faced 227 shots and made 216 saves, giving up just 11 goals in those seven games, which was good for a 1.57 goals against average and a .951 save percentage. For the season, Alberti has a sparkling 17-3-3 record in 24 games played with a 2.54 goals against average and .926 save percentage. “Matt is proving everyday he’s an elite goaltender in our league. His athleticism and compete on every play is remarkable. He is continuing to get better as the season goes on as well. He definitely gives our group a ton of confidence when he’s between the pipes. He will be a great addition to any NCAA Division I program,” said Jets head coach Joe Dibble.
“Over the month of December, I thought our team took some really big steps in many ways. Finding consistency was something we’ve looked for all year, and it seems that we finally found it. Each player bought in to our team’s values and goals each and every day and displayed that buy in whether that was in the gym, at practice, or during our games. Personally, I give a lot of credit to my defensemen who have been unbelievable this entire season. Without them, my success wouldn’t be possible without their commitment in our defensive zone. Otherwise, I think calming down my game and trusting my skating has helped me improve since we started here in August. Getting on my feet early to my spots has not only been crucial for the first save, but also helping limit second chance opportunities,” said Alberti. “For the remainder of the season, I would love to see our team finish first in the Midwest Division and make a run for the Robertson Cup. I truly believe we have the right group of guys here in Janesville to accomplish this. Personally, I’m going to continue to work on finding the right balance of athleticism and structure that best suits my game. Earning an NCAA Division I scholarship here in Janesville, along with winning a Robertson Cup, are my two main long-term goals.”
Runner-Up: Eliot Seguin-Lescarbeau, Shreveport Mudbugs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Max Beckford, Wisconsin Windigo – Liam Beerman, Anchorage Wolverines – Daniel Duris, Oklahoma Warriors – Adam Dybal, Aberdeen Wings – Jackson Fuller, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Thomas Heaney, Maine Nordiques – Brady James, Minot Minotauros – Tyler Krivtsov, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Connor McDonough, Amarillo Wranglers – Jacob Osborne, Johnstown Tomahawks – Stephen Peck, Bismarck Bobcats – Miles Roberts, Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks – Colin Ronan, Maryland Black Bears – Quentin Sigurdson, Odessa Jackalopes – Max Weilandt, St. Cloud Norsemen – Jack Wieneke, Lone Star Brahmas