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USPHL Premier Players Of The Month: Midwest Region

By USPHL Staff, 11/03/21, 7:15PM EDT

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October 2021

Great Lakes Division 

Forwards

Drake Barnish, Cincinnati Jr. Cyclones 

Barnish is here not only because he is the No. 6-ranked all-time scorer in the USPHL Premier. He's here because since September, he has pushed into the all-time top 10, and of course into the top six, due to his mind-blowing efforts since the first pucks dropped on this 2021-22 season - and he did it with a brand new USPHL team in Cincinnati. 

The 2001-born native of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, is second in USPHL Premier scoring so far this year, posting 20 goals and 20 assists for 40 points in just 17 games - and he started the season by scoring in every one of his first 13 games. After he missed scoring in a game, he made it up the next day with a 5-3-8 performance. 

 

Alex Schaumburger, Metro Jets

The second-year Jet, a 2002-born native of Canton, Mich., has been one of many straws stirring a 13-0 drink for the Jets this year, on the offensive side. He has led the way by scoring a goal per game (13) and he’s added 15 more assists for 28 points so far this year. Together with fellow forward Kam Hellman and blueliner Braydin Lewis, the trio has totaled 78 points between the three players. 

Of the 58 shots that have come off his stick this year, 45 have been on goal - and 28.8 percent of those have resulted in goals scored! 

 

Bailey Byrd, Toledo Cherokee

Byrd, another fourth-year USPHL Premier forward, has also recently cracked the all-time Top 10 for the Premier Division. He now has 163 career points, one point behind another active player, Jordan Stear of Wisconsin Rapids. Byrd, a 2001-born native of Wyandotte, Mich., has lit up the scoreboards for the Cherokee with an 11-14-25 line in just 13 games this year. In each of his four years, he has never sunk beneath one point per game average, an insanely consistent pace of performance. He is also the league-leader in game-winning goals with six, all in regulation.

 

Defense

Braydin Lewis, Metro Jets

Top-scoring defenseman in the Great Lakes Division? Check. Top plus-minus in the Great Lakes Division? Check, but up that to checkmate when you consider he has the top overall plus-minus out of more than 1,400 USPHL Premier players with a +32.  

The second-year Jets blueliner Lewis (‘03/Fort Wayne, Ind.) has already blasted past the 20 points he scored last year, as he currently holds 25 points in 13 games, which includes 19 assists, the No. 1 tally in that category for Premier defensemen. 

 

Braden Hanna, Pittsburgh Vengeance

Hanna (‘01/Cranberry, Pa.) continues to be the true defensive cornerstone for the Vengeance, now in his third season with the team - he is second in games played with 87 during the Vengeance’s time in the USPHL Premier since 2018. The hard-nosed Hanna not only leads his team’s blueliners in plus-minus with a plus-8, but he also leads the team - and the USPHL Premier as a whole - in hits, with 45 to date. Along the way, Hanna has also scored three goals and two assists for five points to help out on the offensive end for his team.  

 

Goaltender

Joey Cormier, Toledo Cherokee

Toledo is in the top 10 for points and winning percentage for many reasons - we mentioned Bailey Byrd above, but on the back end, the second-year veteran goalie Cormier (‘01/Brownstown, Mich.) has also put together an outstanding season so far. Cormier stands at 7-1 overall, which puts him at second in the entire USPHL Premier for wins. He also has the 10th best goals against average at 1.79 - and he has faced the second-most shots (266) of any goalie in the top 10 for GAA. His save percentage is also a very sharp .936. 

 

Midwest West Division 

Forwards

Michael Clough, Minnesota Blue Ox

During a season in which he has missed the scoresheet just once in 13 games, and in which he’s already scored three game-winning goals, Clough helped push the Blue Ox to 10 straight wins between Oct. 2 and Oct. 30. They entered November first in points in the claustrophobically tight Midwest West Division. 

During the 10-game scoring run that he put together, Clough posted a line of 9-8-17. After missing the scoresheet on Oct. 29 against Pueblo, he came back with three goals and two assists in his final two October games. Four points from where he is now, he will hit the 100-point career mark for just two Premier seasons. 

 

Jack Seamans, Minnesota Mullets

The Mullets are one of six teams in the Midwest West with a winning record, out of eight total. They are just six points out of first place and every bit a part of the conversation as their other above-.500 rivals. A big contributor to this early success has been the play of this 2001-born native of Medicine Lake, Minn. Another veteran for this month’s awards, Seamans posted 31 points in 25 games last season for the Mullets and he’s remained above the point-per-game average mark for his career by posting a 6-14-20 line in just 12 outings so far. Leading his team in scoring by eight points, he finished the month with a 1-4-5 performance on Halloween Night. 

 

Chase Solberg, Minnesota Moose

Multi-year USPHL veterans remain the order of the day with these Players Of The Month honors, and Solberg fits the profile perfectly. The 2001-born Moose Captain from Anchorage, Alaska, stands sixth all-time for the Moose in points per game average (1.356, off a 29-32-61 line in 45 career games). This year, he’s posted 17 points in just 11 games, including 10 goals - all 17 of these points were scored in a seven-game point streak with which he began the 2021-22 campaign. 

 

Defense

Logan Lake, Minnesota Moose

Third-year Moose blueliner Lake (‘02/Port Huron, Mich.) has the perfect last name for Minnesota, known as Land of 1,000 Lakes - but this 6-foot, 180-pound defenseman stands alone in his intelligent approach to the game in all of its facets. He is currently tied for fourth in the USPHL Premier for plus-minus (+17) and he additionally is tied for fourth in points by a USPHL Premier defenseman with 17 on the season. These 17 points include 15 assists, which places him second in feeds among Premier blueliners. 

 

Jordan Stear, Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings

Another entrant - along with Barnish and Byrd - who is in the top 10 all-time in USPHL Premier scoring - in fact, Stear already entered the season as the league’s all-time top-scoring defenseman.

Stear just keeps up the pace - and then pushes it even further - year after year, and those have now added up to four years. He holds a career 27-137-164 scoring line in 144 games, good for ninth all-time in scoring. This season, he has posted three goals and 12 assists for 15 points in 12 games, keeping an assist-per-game pace this year and potentially even getting to the assist-per-game average for his long and accomplished career. 

 

Goaltender

Jacob Snyder, Steele County Blades 

Seeing an average of 35.2 shots per game has not seemed to faze this 2003-born Duluth, Minn., native, the first newcomer on this list so far out of the Great Lakes and Midwest West Divisions combined. Snyder has posted a 6-1-0-1 record, including three straight wins recently that included victories over the Minnesota Moose and Hudson Havoc at the October-ending USPHL Midwest Showcase in Blaine. During his nine appearances so far, he has posted an impressive .918 save percentage and he’s faced 36 or more shots - up to 51 in a game - seven times. With his help, the Blades are tied for second in the Midwest West Division. 

 

Midwest East Division 

Forwards 

Demian Tychenko, Motor City Hockey Club

One of two 2004-born forwards to get the nod for Midwest East Forwards Of The Month, the Kharkov, Ukraine product has lit a fuse under the Motor City Hockey Club, helping them to start the season by taking a currently 9-2 MJDP team to overtime, and helping them win their third game of the season shortly thereafter. With 12 goals and 18 points in just 11 games, Tychenko not only leads all other MCHC players by eight points, he is also second among 2004-born players in scoring in the entire Premier Division (behind the Dells’ Ducks Caden Glamkowski, with 20 points).

 

Robert Grasso, Metro Jets Development Program

Another ‘04 rookie, Grasso (Broomfield, Colo.) is tied for the team scoring lead of the MJDP with 17 points off 10 goals and seven assists in 11 games. He is the only ‘04 on the team to have played in at least three games so far this season, so his willingness to grab the bull by the horns even as a (very recently) 17-year-old hints at great leadership potential for the future. He will be a player to watch all season long and beyond. 

 

Kevin Uhlir, Midwest Blackbirds

A second-year USPHL Premier and Blackbirds veteran, Uhlir’s familiarity with the league has helped him to post a very impressive eight goals and four assists for 12 points in just eight games so far. After posting 27 points in 36 games last year split between the Chicago Cougars and the Blackbirds, Uhlir has become a true leader as an ‘01 (out of Lake Zurich, Ill.) for the Blackbirds. Under new management and coaching by Richard Greene and Tom Philbin, respectively, the Blackbirds have shown their potential in close one-goal losses to MJDP and Toledo, as well as in their first couple wins this year. 

 

Defense

Jack Parks, Chicago Cougars 

The veteran Parks (‘01/St. Louis, Mo.) has helped the Cougars stay within striking distance of the division-leading MJDP, just two points away as November dawned. The second-year Cougar is the team’s leader in plus-minus (+10) and blocked shots (13) as well as leading the squad in shorthanded time on ice. On the offensive side, he has helped the team to a +19 goal differential with four goals and six points in his 13 games played this year, already bypassing his four points scored last season.

 

Noah Maine, Fort Wayne Spacemen

Maine (‘02/Knoxville, Tenn.) has been huge both offensively and defensively for a Spacemen team just four points back of the first place MJDP and two points back from the Cougars, whom they actually lead in winning percentage. Maine posted six goals and seven assists for 13 points in his first 11 USPHL games, while leading the Spacemen in total time on ice (284:45) as well as shots on goal (57). He is also second among Spacemen defensemen in plus-minus (+4) and he has 10 blocks on the season so far. 

 

Goaltender

Freddy Soderberg, Metro Jets Development Program

The rookie Soderberg (‘02/Harrison Township, Mich.) is a pretty obvious choice for this honor, seeing as how he is the current USPHL Premier leader in goals against average (0.87) and save percentage (.978), and he’s tied for first in shutouts (4). With five wins on the season, that means 80 percent of his victories have been by shutout, which goes a long way to explaining that sub-1.00 GAA, of course. 

 

* = Limited September Games Also Taken Into Account. 

 

Top Performers Of The Week

Midwest West

Forward: Robby Pustulka, Hudson Havoc

 

Defense: Jordan Stear, Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings

 

Goal: Jacob Snyder, Steele County Blades

 

Great Lakes

Forward: Vincent Servizzi, Toledo Cherokee

 

Defense: Brian Odstrchel, Columbus Mavericks

 

Goaltender: Joey Cormier, Toledo Cherokee

 

Midwest East Division

Forward: Jonathan Gurgul, Decatur Blaze

 

Defense: Austin Buck, Fort Wayne Spacemen

 

Goal: Ian Young, Chicago Cougars