The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its monthly player awards for the month of January. The Easton Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month is Nick Farmer from the Wichita Falls Wildcats. The Easton Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month is Anthony Cortese from the Corpus Christi IceRays. The Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month is Nick Kossoff from the Keystone Ice Miners. Only players who are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the NAHL monthly awards.
Easton Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month: Nick Farmer, Wichita Falls Wildcats
It was a big month for Wichita Falls Wildcats forward Nick Farmer. The 20-year-old native of Spokane, Washington racked up 18 points (9 goals, 9 assists) in the 11 games during the month as the Wildcats fashioned together a 7-4 record to stay right in the hunt for the top spot in the South Division. Farmer (6’0/185) recorded at last a point in nine of the 11 games and had six multi-point games. That included three, three-point outings during the month and two of his nine goals were game-winners. Farmer also scored five power play goals. This is Farmer’s third and final season playing the NAHL for the Wildcats. He ranks tied for 2nd on the Wildcats roster in points with 39 and is tied for the team lead with five game-winning goals. Farmer was also selected to play for the South Division team at the 2015 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. In 152 career NAHL regular season games, Farmer has recorded 82 points. Farmer is also a product of the growing number of players who developed in the NAPHL. Farmer played in the NAPHL during the inaugural 2009-10 season for the Nevada Stars 16U team, where he recorded 24 points in 20 games played. “We moved Nick to center a few months ago and since that move his game has taken off. He is the fastest and quickest player on the team. He is really hard to compete against when he gets that going and is a very effective forechecker. I think there is no doubt he will be playing NCAA Division I hockey someday and hopefully there is a commitment on the horizon for him in the near future,” said Wildcats head coach John LaFontaine.
Farmer said that this year has been a fun one so far because of the team success. “It is been a lot of fun because the team has been consistent all season long and we have a great group of players. I think we are capable of being a Championship team, so we just have to keep focused and playing some good hockey. My time in the NAHL has been well worth it. I think playing in the NAPHL back during the inaugural season showed me what that type of exposure could be like. The connection with the NAHL is like no other and it helped me get to where I am today. I just want to see us keep winning the rest of the season and hopefully improve my game to the point where I am able to fulfill the dream of playing NCAA Division I hockey,” said Farmer.
Runner-Up: Brendan Harris, Wenatchee Wild
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Maurin Bouvet, Kenai River Brown Bears – AJ Coleman, Keystone Ice Miners – Nate Colwell, Brookings Blizzard – Cody Gylling, Amarillo Bulls – Kyle Haak, Aberdeen Wings – Jacob Hetz, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Colton Kramer, Minot Minotauros – Zach Lavalle, Janesville Jets – Casey Linkenheld, Johnstown Tomahawks – Tanner Lomsnes, Corpus Christi IceRays – Alex Pettersson, Austin Bruins – JM Piotrowski, Bismarck Bobcats – Brian Rigali, Springfield Jr. Blues – Darian Romanko, Minnesota Wilderness – Daniel Rzavsky, Topeka RoadRunners – Richard Zehnal, Coulee Region Chill – Sandis Zolmanis, Soo Eagles
Easton Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month: Anthony Cortese, Corpus Christi IceRays
At the top of the scoring statistics for NAHL defensemen so far this season is IceRays defender Anthony Cortese, 20, who earns monthly honors for the first time. The native of Pierrefonds, Quebec, made an impact in the line-up from his first game of the season and hasn’t looked back. That trend continued in January for Cortese (5’11/185) who totaled 15 points during the month, which included three goals and 12 assists as the IceRays posted a 7-3-1 record. Cortese recorded a point in nine of the 11 games and enters February riding a nine-game point streak. Four of his 11 games were multi-point games and he had two, three-point games. Cortese leads all NAHL defensemen in points with 41 and ranks 2nd in both goals and assists. Cortese currently ranks 2nd on the IceRays roster this season in scoring. “Anthony has consistently put up points all season long and you almost become accustomed to it. He has worked very hard to improve his defense because he is so effective on the offensive side. The thing I really like about him is he is very selfless. He isn’t concerned about points. He is concerned with team success and seeing his teammates get better. That is a trademark of a very good veteran player,” said IceRays head coach Jon Becanic.
“My experience playing in the NAHL for Corpus Christi has been great this season. To come down and see the set-up that Corpus Christi has is amazing. It is a first-class organization and the league is very competitive. There is a lot of talent to play against the it has been fun so far,” said Cortese. “I think we have a team that can go really far in the playoffs this season. My focus is to help them achieve that and then hopefully an opportunity to play college or pro hockey will be later in the future.”
Runner-Up: Jake Townsend, Wichita Falls Wildcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tyler Andrews, Kenai River Brown Bears – Darren Brady, Soo Eagles – Ivan Chukarov, Minnesota Wilderness – Zach Glienke, Brookings Blizzard – LordAnthony Grissom, Keystone Ice Miners – Tyler Hayes, Topeka RoadRunners – Ian Janco, Janesville Jets – Chris Jones, Wenatchee Wild – Jon Lizotte, Minot Minotauros – Johnny Mueller, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Tanner Okeson, Aberdeen Wings – Steven Quagliata, Johnstown Tomahawks – Brogan Rafferty, Coulee Region Chill – Tanner Salsberry, Bismarck Bobcats – Anthony Scarsella, Springfield Jr. Blues
Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month: Nick Kossoff, Keystone Ice Miners
Keystone goalie Nick Kossoff, 18, helped his club to a 7-1-1 record during the month of January and earned Goalie of the Month honors in the process. The native of West Des Moines, Iowa, had a 4-1 record during the month with a 1.57 goals against average and a 95.4% save percentage with two shutouts. Of the 175 shots that Kossoff (6’2/185) faced during the month, he stopped 167 of them. His two shutouts during the month came in home wins over Fairbanks and Springfield. In his lone loss, he made 44 saves in a 3-2 loss against Fairbanks. In the middle of December, Kossoff committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for Lake Superior State. His 93.6% save percentage is currently the best among NAHL goaltenders. “We are very fortunate to have a great goaltending tandem in Nick and Alex Blankenburg and it is a big strength of ours. They have been great and they push each other, which actually has been helpful and make us better. I don’t think any of us though that Nick would be this good, this soon. He has really taken off and he deservedly got an NCAA Division I commitment. He works hard and he is very consistent. He maintains a calm in goal and really transfers to the rest of the team,” said Keystone head coach Michael Gershon.
“Since my commitment, I haven’t tried to change to much and I have tried to keep the same mindset. I would say it took a weight off my shoulders, but I try to play with the same hunger and edge because I want to see our team succeed. I think we have a team that has proven lately that we can play with anyone,” said Kossoff. “My goalie coach Sean Maloney has really helped me this year and I have really enjoyed playing in the NAHL. I have learned so much from playing junior hockey in the NAHL. There is a lot of talent and you learn to grow up quick and take good care of yourself. I want to keep working hard and improving and hopefully we can make a good playoff run toward the Robertson Cup.”
Runner-Up: Patrick Munson, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Ryan Anderson, Minnesota Wilderness – Jack Berry, Soo Eagles – Alec Derks, Kenai River Brown Bears – Jake Gwillim, Johnstown Tomahawks – Ryan Kubic, Brookings Blizzard – Andrew Lindgren, Corpus Christi IceRays – Anton Martinsson, Amarillo Bulls – Dryden McKay, Springfield Jr. Blues – Zach Quinn, Wenatchee Wild – Hunter Shepard, Bismarck Bobcats – Andrew Shortridge, Aberdeen Wings – Evan Smith, Austin Bruins – Atte Tolvanen, Minot Minotauros – Matej Tomek, Topeka RoadRunners – Blake Weyrick, Janesville Jets
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.eastonhockey.com
Vaughn is the official Goaltending Equipment Partner to the NAHL and serves as the Preferred Goaltending Equipment Supplier of the NA3HL and NAPHL. Founded in 1982, Vaughn became one of the first major hockey production companies to use multiple foam layers in equipment. As strictly a goalie equipment company, the main focus for Vaughn is the innovation and quality of their product. Visit Vaughn online at: www.vaughnhockey.com