By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com
Forward: Mario Paganini, San Diego Sabers
No player in the USPHL Premier had a more productive month than the 2003-born native of Harrison, N.Y. He rejoined the Sabers, with whom he’d played in 2022-23, in November from the Vernal Oilers. Someone struck a match and Paganini went off like a firework, putting up a 9-16-25 line in just six December games. The Sabers went to the USPHL Las Vegas Showcase and swept their four games there, over which Paganini put up two four-point games before busting out a hat trick.
Forward: Tristan Frizado, San Diego Sabers
Frizado (‘05/Mirabel, Que.) pretty much solidified his spot on this list of honors with a pair of consecutive hat tricks at the USPHL Las Vegas Showcase. Frizado also enjoyed an eight-point game against Long Beach just prior to their trip to the Vegas four-game event. He registered nine goals and added 12 assists for 21 points in eight games. He currently has 42 points in 23 games.
Forward: Noah Morency, Las Vegas Thunderbirds
Morency (‘05/Terrebonne, Que.) matched Frizado put up a pair of consecutive hat tricks and dominate the Thunderbirds’ hosted showcase. Morency eventually would close December with 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points in seven games. He had 15 points in just the four showcase games.
Defense: Steven Blengino, Fresno Monsters
Blengino (‘03/Pribram, Czechia) helped keep the Monsters moving in the right direction amid the injury to top scorer Noak Persson, putting up a 4-15-19 line during the month of December over nine games. He has already bypassed the 57 points he posted in 2022-23, with 58 points this season. Blengino averaged no less than 32:02 per game over the course of the month.
Defense: Tim Gradin, San Diego Sabers
At 27:25 per game, Gradin was the first choice for the Sabers to hit the ice on the blue line. The ‘04 out of Sweden was powerful during the month of December, registering a 5-10-15 line and his +4 was tied for the lead among Sabers’ defensemen. He also led the team with 18 hits, giving a hint of his two-way play since joining the Sabers right before the start of December.
Goaltender: Ethan Jourden, Fresno Monsters
Jourden (‘04/Arnold, Mo.) stopped 91 out of the 95 shots he faced, a huge .958 save percentage for the Monsters. Overall, the second-year Monsters goalie put up a 2-1-0-0 record with a 1.33 goals against average. He also stopped all 24 shots he faced against the Bakersfield Roughnecks on Dec. 9 and stopped 44 of 47 in his only defeat of the month against the Metro Jets at the USPHL Las Vegas Showcase.
Selection Process: The league media office sends top candidates to divisional coaches for review and coaches either approve or challenge the nominations.