NAHL announces monthly player awards for January|February 3, 2017

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Janesville forward Cullen Munson named the Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defenseman Dorian Dawson named the Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month
Magicians goalie Jake Acton named the Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month

FRISCO, TEXAS – The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its monthly player awards for the month of January.  The Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month is Cullen Munson from the Janesville Jets.  The Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month is Dorian Dawson from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights.  The Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month is Jake Acton from the Minnesota Magicians.  Only players who are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the NAHL monthly awards.

Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month: Cullen Munson, Janesville Jets
Janesville Jets forward Cullen Munson, 20, helped his team widen their lead atop of the Midwest Division standings with a 7-2 record in the month of January. The native of Edina, Minnesota, registered 13 points (8 goals, 5 assists) during the month and was also a +3. His 13 points tied for the league lead during the month.  Munson (5’11/180) had four multi-point games in January, which included two games where he had two goals in a 6-2 win over Coulee Region on January 12th and two goals in a 7-3 win over Brookings on January 14th.  During the month, he was also named the Midwest Division Star of the Week on January 16th. This is Munson’s third year with the Jets in the NAHL and in 37 games played this season, he has recorded 41 points. “Cullen has been a key part of our team from day one. Obviously his offensive numbers have contributed to our success, but it’s everything else about him that makes him such a special player. He is a warrior with a motor that never stops. His compete pushes everyone around him to be better everyday,” said Janesville head coach Joe Dibble.

Munson said that the entire team stepped up in January. “I think we have two very good goalies and it starts for us on the back end and with good team defense.  We also have some guys who can put the puck in the net. Personally, I am having more fun out there.  I am learning to not take things so series, take a deep breath and smile more.  Playing for the Jets in the NAHL is fun,” said Munson. “The transition from Minnesota high school hockey was one that I adapted well to, but you have to get used to playing junior hockey. I had great billets and teammates that helped me get used to it and get to the point where I am not. I am hopeful that I can continue to improved and earn a NCAA Division I opportunity to play college hockey.”

Runner-Up: Mitch Walinski, Bismarck Bobcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Sam Antonitsch, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Drew Blackmun, Aston Rebels – Marshall Bowery, Topeka RoadRunners – Nick Bruce, Johnstown Tomahawks – Evan Butcher, Kenai River Brown Bears – Ricky Carballo, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Billy Duma, Coulee Region Chill – Hampus Eriksson, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Derek Frentz, Minot Minotauros – Austin Kamer, Lone Star Brahmas – Mason Krueger, Corpus Christi IceRays – Matt Long, Springfield Jr. Blues – Justin Misiak, Austin Bruins – Carter Roo, Aberdeen Wings – Mitchel Slattery, Minnesota Magicians – Brendan Walkom, Amarillo Bulls – Michael Zuffante, Minnesota Wilderness

Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month: Dorian Dawson, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights defenseman Dorian Dawson, 19, stood out among his NAHL peers in January as the native of Duntroon, Ontario, recorded 11 points (1 goal, 10 assists) and was a +8 during the month to lead all NAHL defensemen. Dawson (6’2/205) recorded at least a point in all but one game during the month as the Knights put together a 6-3-0 record in January. Dawson also had three multi-point games during the month. In 39 games played to date, Dawson has 30 points, which ranks 4th among all NAHL defensemen. “As a veteran player on our team we’ve looked to Dorian to set the tone both on and off the ice. We rely on him to play top minutes in a lot of roles. He’s productive on the power play, he’s an anchor in the defensive zone and he’s a smart player in the offensive end. His numbers, the point streaks he’s had and the month he just put together are all signs of the growth he’s making. Dorian’s play has definitely proved he is one of the top defenseman in the league. We’re proud of his progress and happy for him receiving this recognition,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal.

“The team really came together and improved in January. We have all bonded and know playoff hockey is ahead and in order for us to make a run we have to play as a group. We got knocked out last year by Aston and it is something that has stuck with us all season. Any team in our division can beat one another on any given night, so it is something that we are focused on and trying to be playing our best hockey come the post-season,” said Dawson. “I think being a part of a winning organization and competing for a National Championship is something that is a short-term goal. Longer team, I would like to play NCAA Division I hockey in the future.”

Runner-Up: Travis Brown, Minnesota Magicians
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Daniil Bokun, Johnstown Tomahawks – Andy Carroll, Aberdeen Wings – Devon Fields, Topeka RoadRunners – Jordan Fralich, Bismarck Bobcats – Logan Gestro, Corpus Christi IceRays – Chris Lipe, Kenai River Brown Bears – Connor Matsinger, Springfield Jr. Blues – Luke Orysiuk, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Adam Roeder, Janesville Jets – Nolan Sawchuk, Minot Minotauros – Jonathan Waring, Wichita Falls Wildcats – John Zimmerman, Lone Star Brahmas

Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month: Jake Acton, Minnesota Magicians
After arriving in the NAHL at the beginning of the New Year, Minnesota Magicians goalie Jake Acton, 18, made the most of his new surrounding by putting up some great numbers in the month of January. The 6’1/176 lbs. native of Livermore, California, adapted to his new surroundings by posting a perfect 3-0-0 record in four games during the month, while allowing just four goals on 101 shots against. Acton made his NAHL debut in a relief appearance in a January 3rd game in Springfield. In his first start on January 8th, he made 24 saves in a shutout of the Jr. Blues. He also made 23 saves in a 3-2 win over Janesville on January 21st and made 36 saves in a 2-1 win in Springfield on January 28th.  Acton, who played two seasons in the NAPHL for the San Jose Jr. Sharks in previous seasons, posted a 1.20 goals against average and a 96.0% save percentage during the month. “Jacob has been a great competitor since joining our team. His play has helped us gain valuable points in the New Year and gives us two very good options in goal,” said Magicians head coach Scott Meyer.

“Playing with Ivan Prosvetov has really pushed me and helped with my game and compete level. We have a great group of guys here with the Magicians and it is a great atmosphere to be successful. I am just trying to take things one game at a time and not focus on the long-term future. I just want to play better each time I get the opportunity,” said Acton. He also said that playing in the NAPHL helped him develop to the point where he could succeed at the junior level. “The NAPHL was a great development league. It helped that we played so many different teams and had a variety of competition. The exposure and events really stood out and helped my career.”

Runner-Up: Austin Park, Minot Minotauros
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jake Barczewski, Janesville Jets – Josh Benson, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Brandon Bussi, Amarillo Bulls – Alec Calvaruso, Lone Star Brahmas – Ben Churchfield, Topeka RoadRunners – Colt Hanks, Kenai River Brown Bears – Severi Isokangas, Bismarck Bobcats – Evan Moyse, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Forbes Ploszaj, Aberdeen Wings – Mike Robinson, Springfield Jr. Blues – Grant Valentine, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Tomas Vomacka, Corpus Christi IceRays

About the NAHL

The NAHL, the only USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II Junior league boasting 24 teams from across North America, prides itself on the social maturity and skill development of student-athletes ages 16-20 with aspirations of advancing to collegiate and/or professional hockey. During the 2015-16 season, the NAHL set a new single-season record with 259 NCAA commitments, 67% of which were NCAA Division I commitments. In addition, 12 NAHL players were listed on NHL Central Scoutings Players to Watch list for the 2017 NHL Draft and five NAHL players that played in the league this past season were selected in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. For more information, visit www.nahl.com.

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