The North American 3 Hockey League (3HL) has announced its monthly player awards for the month of September. The Combat Hockey 3HL Forward of the Month is Matt Stirling from the Metro Jets. The Combat Hockey 3HL Defenseman of the Month is Tyler Opilka from the St. Louis Jr. Blues. The Brian’s Custom Sports 3HL Goaltender of the Month is Mikael Broliden from the St. Louis Jr. Blues. Only players who are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the 3HL monthly awards.
Combat Hockey 3HL Forward of the Month: Matt Stirling, Metro Jets
Metro Jets forward Matt Stirling, 20, is the 3HL forward of the month for September. The native of Dexter, Michigan is in his third season with the Jets and is off to a fast start. During the month of September, Stirling (5’10/172) tied for the 3HL’s scoring lead with 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists) in six games played. Stirling scored in all but one of the games during the month, which included four multi-point games. Stirling had a six-point weekend during the Jets first two games of the year against Battle Creek and this past weekend, he recorded five points in a weekend series against Three Rivers. “At this point, Jason has been our MVP. That is largely because we have used him in every type of situation imaginable, including playing some defense,” said Metro head coach Jason Cirone.” Jason has tremendous work ethic, determination and now in his third season with us, is a great leader. He is not a loud, outspoken guy, but he definitely leads by example.”
Runner-Up: Damien Lona, Queen City Steam
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brennan Anderson, Peoria Mustangs – Trey Dodd, St. Louis Jr. Blues – Jason Hoehn, Quad City Jr. Flames – Drew Otto, Granite City Lumberjacks – Guy Soulliere, Michigan Mountain Cats.
Combat Hockey 3HL Defenseman of the Month: Tyler Opilka, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Already in his second season in the 3HL, Jr. Blues defenseman Tyler Opilka, 17, is well beyond his years. Opilka (6’0/185) had a September to remember has he led all 3HL defenseman in scoring with nine points and also the entire 3HL in the plus/minus category with an amazing +18 in just eight games played. “Tyler has come a long way in two years for a younger player. He has focused more this season on making better decisions with the puck and his game has really improved because of it,” said St. Louis head coach JP Beilsten. The native of St. Louis, Missouri, has had three multi-point games so far this year and has helped St. Louis to a perfect 8-0-0 record as they sit atop of the Central Division.
Runner-Up: Clayton Janecke, Quad City Jr. Flames
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Myles Burrough, Metro Jets – Blaine Ellson, Granite City Lumberjacks – Rob Gentile, Queen City Steam – Ben Mack, Michigan Mountain Cats – Brendan Murphy, Peoria Mustangs.
Brian’s Custom Sports 3HL Goaltender of the Month: Mikael Broliden, St. Louis Jr. Blues
September was quite the North American debut for Swedish-born goaltender Mikael Broliden, 19, of the St. Louis Jr. Blues. The Blues already had a veteran goalie returning to the team in Clint Steinmeyer, but Broliden has some in and bolstered perhaps the best 1-2 goaltending tandem in the league with his play the first month of the season. Broliden posted a perfect 4-0-0 during the month and in four games allowed just three goals. He stopped 79 of the 82 shots that came his way during the month of September for a remarkable 96.3% save percentage, which leads the 3HL. His .75 goals against average also leads the league. “He came over from Sweden eager to learn right away and has adjusted quickly to the style of play,” said Jr. Blues head coach JP Beilsten. “Mikael hasn’t been intimidated by the change at all. Both our goalies are really playing well right now and are a big reason behind our success to date. Right now there is no reason not to keep rotating them to get them both opportunities and experience. Mikael has a calming influence about him and has very good technical skills and rebound control.”
Runner-Up: Jake Leon, Quad City Jr. Flames
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Adam Eno, Queen City Steam – Dominic Juncaji, Michigan Mountain Cats – Trevor Kalinowski, Metro Jets – Scott Murray, Granite City Lumberjacks.
About Combat Hockey
The Official Equipment Supplier of the NAHL, Combat Sports has been extremely successful the past 10 years as the fastest-growing North American baseball/softball bat, hockey stick and lacrosse shaft manufacturing company. Visit Combat online here.
About Brian's Custom Sports
The Official Goaltending Equipment Supplier of the NAHL, Brian's has been a leading Canadian supplier of custom built goal equipment since 1984. The factory is located in Kingsville, Ontario near the Southern tip of Canada with ready access to supplying the North American market. As one of the original and remaining custom goal equipment manufacturers Brian's remains committed to continuing to lead the industry with exceptional design and quality. Visit Brian’s online here.