NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – After two full seasons playing in the North American Hockey League, the Lone Star Brahmas currently have 21 alumni playing NCAA DI and DIII hockey and a handful of other players still competing across the country.
Each month, LoneStarBrahmas.com will help the fans keep tabs on our alumni. In our first installment of Brahmas Alumni brought to you by Thumbtechs, we take a look at everything from opening weekend points to first career victories.
Nearly every NCAA program has played its first game of the 2015-16 season and a handful of Brahmas have already tallied wins and points. Forward Derek Barach (Mercyhurst) leads all alumni with eight points and five blocked shots through his first ten games of the season. Barach opened the season with points in three straight games and he scored the game-winning tally against Big Ten opponent Ohio State over Halloween weekend.
Thomas Aldworth (Quinnipiac) is off to a strong start to the season with the No.5 team in the country after scoring three goals and three assists through six games this season. The freshman and Keller, Texas native saw all of his points come in two games, but he has proven to be a go-to offensive player, averaging four shots per contest.
Ayrton Valente (SUNY-Plattsburgh) registered two assists in his season debut and teammate Paul Fregeau (SUNY-Plattsburgh) joined him with an assist in the 6-2 victory over SUNY-Canton.
Freshmen Storm Wahlrab (St. Norbert) and Quinn Carroll (Plymouth State) each tallied an assist in their first collegiate games. Last year’s NAHL MVP Sebastian Vidmar (Union) found his first point of the season against a top-ten program in Boston University on October 10.
From a goaltending standpoint, Jake Kupsky (Union) won his first career start in a shutout fashion (2-0) against the University of Maine, stopping 26 shots. The Wisconsin native owns a .920 save percentage entering November. Jacob Nehama (Colorado College) and TJ Black (St. Norbert) are having slow starts to their respective seasons as neither netminder has recorded a win. Nehama’s Tigers are 0-8-0 entering the month of November.
Forward AJ Vanderbeck was traded to the Sioux Falls Stampede from the Des Moines Buccaneers before the regular season and he has helped the Stampede offensively. Through eight games, Vanderbeck has two goals and three assists. He is set to join Colorado College next season, but the Tigers probably wish they could use him up front this year.
Defenseman Johan Steen is locking it down in Omaha with the Lancers and he has shown flashes of scoring like he once did in the Lone Star State. Steen has four points through his team’s first ten games.
Forward Eric Carreras led the Odessa Jackalopes with seven goals in October. On the season, he is second on the team with 12 points and a plus-7 rating through 13 total games. The Brahmas will face Carreras on January 1st and 2nd in Odessa. Nick Ford was tied for second on the Brookings Blizzard with four assists and 19 penalty minutes in October. Patrick Gazich has yet to play a game with the Minnesota Magicians.
Darion Hanson had one of the best months of any goaltender in the league, going 6-0-0 with a 2.26 goals against average and .923 save percentage. He finds himself comfortable as the No.1 goalie in Aston given that he has yet to lose a game this season. Gunner Rivers also had a strong month in Odessa, going 3-1-0 with a 3.00 goals against average.
Entering the off weekend, the Brahmas remain in second place in the NAHL's South Division with a record of 9-1-3. The team will return to the NYTEX Sports Centre to take on the Amarillo Bulls on November 13 (Local Heroes/Mascot Night) and 14 (Fan Choice Night). Tickets are available under the TICKETS tab at the top of your screen, over the phone at 817-336-4ICE, and at the box office.