Massachusetts sophomore Frank Vatrano gained the well deserved honor of being named the Hockey East Player of the Month for December today. Vatrano, who has been on fire since the first day of November, had six goals and 3 assists during last month. Crunching the numbers, as I tend to do, Vatrano accounted for 43% of the Minutemen’s goals, 26% of the team’s total points, and 20% of their shots on goal during the final month of the year.
Vatrano has been one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise painful season. And by bright, I mean supernova. He’s tied for 1st among Hockey East skaters with his 12 goals and tied for 3rd in points. And that’s even with him having a relatively quiet October. If you look at just from November 1st onward Vatrano’s 12 goals and 0.92 goals per game is tops in the entire country. Vatrano is on one of the hottest scoring steaks this program has seen in decades.
If this team were at .500 or better Vatrano would likely be the toast of Amherst right now. If you look at his goals per game rate for the entire season he’s pace to score 21 goals this season. That would be the most since Casey Wellman scored 23 in 2009-10, a number that equaled Sal Manganaro from 1995-96. The only other modern era players to break 20 goals was Greg Mauldin with 21 in 2002-03 and Rob Bonneau’s 26 in 1993-94 when the team was transitioning to Division I and played a mix of DI and DII schools. If Vatrano is ever able to keep up the 0.92 goal per game pace over an entire season then he gets into Pat Keenan territory. Keenan, the program’s all time leading scorer, was a two time All-American in the early 70s and once scored 43 goals in a 20 game season. He’s the only UMass player to score over 30 goals in a season, which he did twice.
A better job at defense and all of those Vatrano goals and goals to come become game-winners.
Brandon Egli – D – Vernon Vipers (BCHL) – 2015 (NLI signed)
28 GP / 0 G /7 A / 7 Pts / 23 PIM
Egli had one assist in his last two games.
Jake McCarthy – D – South Shore Kings (USPHL) – 2015 or 2016
5 GP / 0 G /1 A / 1 Pts / 11 PIM
McCarthy was held off the scoreboard this past week.
Kurt Keats – C – Powell River Kings (BCHL) – 2015 (NLI signed)
34 GP / 24 G / 20 A / 44 Pts / 53 PIM
Keats didn’t score this past week but he did have three assists in three games. He’s tied for 4th in the BCHL in goals and 10th in total points.
Austin Plevy – C – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2015 (NLI signed)
39 GP / 22 G / 44 A / 66 Pts / 54 PIM
Plevy had a ridiculous 1 goal and six assists in two games this past week. Plevy is tops in the league in assists, points, and points per game. Hes third in the league in goals.
Nic Renyard – G – Okotoks Oilers (AJHL) – 2015
19-5-2 / .926 save % / 2.10 GAA / 3 shutouts
Renyard and the Oilers did not play this past week and will kick off their post holiday schedule tonight (1/6)
Ivan Chukarov – D – Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL) – 2015
29 GP / 7 G /15 A / 22 Pts / 33 PIM / +19
Chukarov had a goal in four games this past week.
Shane Bear – D – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2016
40 GP / 4 G / 23 A / 27 Pts / 39 PIM
Bear had two assists in two games this past week.
Troy Conzo – RW – Wenatchee Wild (NAHL) – 2016 or 2017
3 GP / 0 G / 0 A /0 Pts / 0 PIM / –2 Des Moines (USHL)
21 GP/ 3 G/ 2 A / 5 Pts / 6 PIM / -3 Wenatchee (NAHL)
Conzo scored a game winning goal against Topeka this past week.
Kyler Nachtigall – LW – Brooks Bandits (AJHL) – 2016
40 GP / 11 G / 8 A / 19 Pts / 43 PIM
Nachtigall had an assist this past week.
Ty Pelton-Byce – C – Team Wisconsin U18 (Elite)/Madison Memorial (WI HS) – 2016 (NLI signed)
21 GP / 12 G / 12 A / 24 Pts / 8 PIM Team Wisconsin U18
13 GP /18 G / 15 A /33 Pts Madison Memorial
Pelton-Byce’s Spartans had the past week off and are playing their first game of the new year as I type this on Tuesday night.
John Leonard – F – Springfield Rifles (Mass Selects)/Springfield Cathedral (MA HS) – 2017
14 GP / 21 G / 11 A / 32 Pts Springfield Rifles
8 GP / 17 G / 10 A /27 Pts Springfield Cathedral
First off, I have to thank Jim Clark from In The Slot at the Boston Herald for providing me with Leonard’s up-to-date season stats since there’s currently no internet resource to go to for these. Secondly, yes, they’re accurate. 17 goals and 27 points in just 8 games. Needless to say Leonard is among the leading scorers in the entire state, if not at the top. He already has four hat tricks on the season.