NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — As the top team in the NAHL South Division, the Lone Star Brahmas are sending five players — four forwards and one defenseman — to Team South and two players to the NAHL Selects.
Carson Kelley will be one of the four forwards representing the Brahmas for Team South, joining Austin Kamer and linemates Hunter Stanley and Troy York in Plymouth, Michigan for the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.
“It’s amazing how well our team’s been doing and how that’s allowed me and six other players to play in [the tournament] and for Coach to be able to coach it,” Kelley said. “It’s incredible to see the organization thrive like this and personally, it’s an honor.”
Of the Brahmas’ 46 games played this season, Kelley has been very durable, playing in 43 of those — and he hasn’t missed a game since mid-October.
His consistent play has been a major factor in the Brahmas’ success this season. With 12 goals and 28 assists, Kelley is tied for the Lone Star points lead with Drake Glover.
“He obviously made a huge step from last year just burying pucks and getting around the net to make plays,” Head Coach Dan Wildfong said.
His importance to the lineup this year, however, isn’t just about his impact on the scoresheet. Kelley is the Brahmas’ go-to left-handed centreman on the draw, especially in the defensive zone. He’s also one of Lone Star’s best penalty-killing forwards and can always be found hovering around the crease on the power play.
“He draws a lot of penalties too,” Wildfong said. “People don’t often take that into equation, but he really helps our power play. He’s on it and he draws chances.”
With Wildfong at the helm of Team South, fans can expect to see Kelley in any and all situations, since the Brahmas coach is well aware of what Kelley is capable of.
“I’m just looking forward to competing with my teammates up there and trying to get them a scholarship, and if something happens for me there too, I know they’ll be doing it for me and I’ll be doing it for them,” Kelley said. “It’s just cool to have the opportunity to play in front of all of those Division I schools.”
There will be scouts aplenty in Plymouth, both of the NCAA and NHL variety. The 2016 Top Prospects Tournament drew over 250 scouts from nearly every NHL team and NCAA DI school, and a similar showing is expected this year.
Kelley is ready to hit the ice and is feeling good about Team South’s chances. “I think we’ll be good,” he said. “I believe the South Division is the toughest in the NAHL.”
Catch Kelley, Wildfong, and the rest of Team South at the Top Prospects Tournament. Puck drop on Monday, February 27th will be at 6:00 PM CST, while Tuesday’s game will be a matinee start at 1:00 PM CST. All games will be broadcast on Hockey TV.