Players Of The Month: USPHL Elite / Northern Divisions
Forward: Danny Woods, Northern Cyclones.
The woods can be a peaceful place to walk and collect your thoughts. This Woods, however, was anything but peaceful for Northern Cyclones opponents through January.
The 2000-born resident of Wilmington, Mass., was rather nightmarish, torching foes for 10 goals and 26 points in his 12 January contests, helping his team go 8-3 and continue to threaten for first place in the Elite’s North Division.
Woods started the month with six points in his four USPHL Winter Showcase games, and on Jan. 26, he had a huge night of three goals and three assists. He continued scoring into February and grabbed the overall USPHL Elite scoring lead in the process. He now has 30 goals and 82 points in 36 games.
Honorable Mention: Matt Irwin, Northern Cyclones; Balint Pakozdi, New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs.
Defense: Alexander Reyes, New York Aviators.
The Aviators had their best month of the season in January, going 8-1-0-1, good for more than half of their total wins as of early February.
Reyes (‘00/New York City, N.Y.) helped to key a defensive turnaround for the Brooklyn-based team, keeping opponents away from the net more often than many of their opponents, whom they limited to an average of 26.4 shots on goal per game, or just over eight per period.
Offensively, Reyes clicked at better than a point per game pace, scoring 12 points in the 10 January games. His best game was on Jan. 12 vs. the Springfield Pics, when had the game-winning goal and three assists. He nearly tripled his point production from earlier in the season, and stood at 17 points through 34 games.
Honorable Mention: Bowen Zhu, Team Beijing; Justin Araiza, Boston Bandits.
Goal: Joseph Bagi, New Jersey Hitmen.
The Hitmen continued their amazing season in January, going 7-2-1-0 and capturing the Mid-Atlantic Division title in the process.
They did this while working a new goalie into the rotation, in ‘01 Oakland, N.J. resident Joseph Bagi. He played one game in December, but played the bulk of his season so far in January. He gave up just five goals in his four starts, losing only once in overtime to a strong Atlanta Jr. Kings team at the USPHL Winter Showcase.
He earned an 18-save shutout win against the resurgent New York Aviators, and stopped 104 of the 109 shots he faced for a resplendent .954 save percentage on the season. His goals against average of 1.38 goals against average was tops on the Hitmen as February began.
Honorable Mention: Steven Barry, Boston Junior Bruins; Paul Coats, New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs.