(Frisco, TX)- Several NAHL alumni were honored this past week, not only in NCAA Division I conferences, but several NCAA Division III conferences as well as they handed out their year awards. Here is a look at some of those recognized.
Former Janesville Jets and current St. Norbert College junior goaltender David Jacobson was named the NCHA player of the year. Through games of Feb. 27, Jacobson posted a 17-1 record, a 1.28 goals-against average (1.08 in the NCHA) and a .935 save percentage.
“David is a very competitive kid and he’s a very athletic kid,” said St. Norbert coach Tim Coghlin in a press release. “He makes some saves that he shouldn’t make. He can do things like that … He’s a confident young man and that stems from his work ethic and his preparedness.”
The NCHA Coach of the year is third-year Lake Forest bench boss Ryan McKelvie, who was an assistant coach in the NAHL for the Wenatchee Wild from 2008-10
Former Corpus Christi IceRays and Odessa Jackalopes forward Josh Obregon has been named the ECAC Northeast Player of the Year, announced by the conference office after a vote by the conference’s head coaches. Obregon is the third Johnson & Wales standout to earn Player of the Year honors in the last four seasons.
Obregon is tied for second in the conference in overall scoring (16 g, 14 a, 30 pts.) and leads the league in goals scored for the season. He is also tied for sixth in assists, third in power play points (6 g, 5a, 11 pts.), tied for first with his six power play goals, and leads the conference with five game-winning goals.
Former Alexandria Blizzard (now Brookings Blizzard) and Alaska Avalanche and current Mercyhurst junior forward Nardo Nagtzaam has been named the Atlantic Hockey Association Pop Tops Sportswear Player of the Month for February as announced by the conference office on Wednesday afternoon.
The junior from Nijmegen, Netherlands had a huge month in helping Mercyhurst clinch its first-ever Atlantic Hockey Association regular season championship. Nagtzaam led the Lakers, and the conference, with 13 points in eight games during the month of February. He also led the team, and was tied for the conference lead, with seven goals in those eight contests. He also led the team with 28 shots on goal and was third on the squad with a +7 plus/minus rating.
He scored at least one point in six of the team's eight games and had at least two points on four different occasions, including career-high tying three-point contests three times during the month. He had two goals in a game twice (at RIT on February 15 and at Niagara on February 22). He scored his first power play goal of the season on February 28 against Robert Morris and scored the game-winning goal against Bentley on February 1. He also won 52% of his faceoffs during the month (27-of-52). In his ten games since returning from an injury that forced him to miss two months, Nagtzaam has eight goals and seven assists for 15 points. All told, the junior has 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points in 20 games this season.
Former Alexandria Blizzard (now Brookings Blizzard) defenseman Paul LaDue was named the NCHC Rookie of the Month for February. LaDue led the entire country in plus/minus in February with a remarkable +14 rating, four better than any other player (next were his two teammates at +10). In addition, he chipped in six points during the month with two goals and four assists. The six points tied for first among NCHC rookie defensemen for February and tied for third nationally in that category. The Los Angeles Kings prospect recorded the first two multi-point games of his career during the month while all of his points came during a career-long four-game point streak. LaDue averaged 0.86 points per game, tops among NCHC rookie blueliners, and blocked 10 shots in February, helping UND to a 6-1-0 record and into a first-place tie in the NCHC.
LaDue jump-started his month Feb. 15 when he posted an NCHC season-best +6 rating in a 9-2 win over Miami, while chipping in a pair of assists, including one on the game-winner, for his first multi-point and multi-assist game at UND. He was named third star of the game for his efforts and finished the weekend +7 against Miami. In his next game, Feb. 21 at Minnesota Duluth, he again assisted on the game-winning goal, while helping pitch a 3-0 shutout. LaDue then led UND to a road sweep the next night with his first career multi-goal game on a pair of power play goals in a 6-2 win, while earning first star of the game. The Grand Forks native then capped his month and point streak Feb. 28 with a game-tying assist in a 5-2 win at St. Cloud State and a +3 rating.
LaDue, who entered February with two goals and nine points all season, posted a positive plus/minus rating in all seven games during the month. He also anchored a power play unit that clicked at 21.2 percent in Februuary.
Former Bismarck Bobcats and current University of Nebraska-Omaha goalie Ryan Massa was named the NCHC Goaltender of the Week. Massa had a career weekend, backstopping the Mavericks to a sweep of Colorado College while allowing just one goal in two games. He posted a 0.50 goals-against average and a .979 save percentage while picking up both wins in net. On Friday, he pitched his first shutout of the season and second of his career, stopping all 20 shots that came his away. Massa also picked up his career-best eighth win Friday, while being named the third star of the game. On Saturday, he was strong in net again, allowing just one goal, which came 35 seconds into the game, while he stopped the next 26 shots that came his way as Omaha earned a 2-1 victory in overtime. He earned second star of the game Saturday. Massa totaled 46 saves on 47 shots on the weekend while helping UNO kill all seven Colorado College power plays. He has now collected NCHC Goaltender of the Week twice this season.
Western Michigan forward and NAHL USNTDP alumni Ryan Balisy was named the NCHC Offensive Player of the Week. Balisy scored four goals against No. 20 Denver to help Western Michigan split its weekend series. On Friday, he scored WMU’s first goal of the game in the third period, which tied the game before DU won 4-2. The next night, the Nashville Predators prospect exploded for his first career hat trick in his final regular-season home game, as he scored all three Bronco goals in a 3-1 win on Senior Night. Balisy opened the scoring early in the first period, while he added the game-winner in the final frame to break a 1-1 tie and deposited an empty-netter to seal the win. He posted a +2 rating on Saturday, when he was named the game’s first star, and finished the weekend +1. Balisy also extended his goal-scoring streak to a career-long four games with six goals and eight points in that span. He has now claimed NCHC Offensive Player of the Week twice this season.