USPHL Premier 2023-24 Great Lakes Division Players Of The Month: February 2024

Summaries By Joshua Boyd / 


Selection Process: The league media office sends top candidates to divisional coaches for review and coaches either approve or challenge the nominations.


Forward: Sean Karaman, Nashville Spartans 

Karaman (‘03/Brentwood, Tenn.) has done everything asked of him by his hometown team this year, including playing both defense and forward in games. He’s had an offensive impact no matter where he goes, as he put up 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points in just six February games, an average of 4.5 points per game. Karaman joined the Spartans after playing 30 NCDC games the past two seasons. He hit the Premier running and had 48 points in 17 games at that level this year. He also tied for the team lead in hits in February with six.  


Forward: Jacob Ammar, Toledo Cherokee 

Ammar (‘03/Scarborough, Ont.) had another consecutive season of being a key contributor for the Cherokee, as he improved his points total from 48 in 2022-23 to 91 this season. During February, Ammar registered a goal per game with eight in eight, and he added 12 assists for a 20-point month (2.5 points per game). Ammar led all Cherokee forwards in ice time in February, his +14 led the entire team and he was also first among forwards in blocked shots with seven. Historically, he is tied for second in Cherokee career scoring in the USPHL (since 2018-19) with 139 points, and his 1.72 points per game is the most for any Cherokee in multiple USPHL seasons. 


Forward: Cameron Reel, Toledo Cherokee 

The ‘03 native of Owensboro, Ky., had another season of simply outstanding two-way play to help the Cherokee earn a home playoff series, and win that first playoff series. Now stand two wins away from what would be a fourth straight Nationals berth, if they can get past Nashville. Reel, like Ammar, was a goal-per-game (and assist-per-game) producer during the month of February, putting up a 9-9-18 line in nine games. The former Tri-State Spartans AAA player, finished this season with 49 points in 36 games and totaled 106 points in 77 regular season games for his Premier career. His +13 was second on the team, as he was huge in winning six games to finish the 2023-24 campaign. 


Defense: Austin Micale, Nashville Spartans

A recent commit to Buffalo State University, Micale (‘03/Hamilton, N.J.) completed his season by finishing as the second leading scorer among defensemen with 87 points in 43 games. All year long, Micale was all over the puck for the Spartans, who finished with a bye past the first round of the Great Lakes Division playoffs. They made the top 10 in the league in points in just their second season of existence. It’s because of efforts like Micale’s in February, when he put up three goals and 16 assists for 19 points in six games to average 3.17 points per game. His +16 was second on the Spartans in plus-minus. He hopes that his and his teammates’ efforts all year were just preparation for their first postseason victory and USPHL Nationals berth. 


Defense: Alex Blankenship, Metro Jets 

Blankenship (‘03/Canton, Mich.) completed his third season in the Jets program, which began in 2021-22 as a member of the Metro Jets Development Program team, or MJDP. He joined the Jets in the Great Lakes Division the next year, and now here in Year 2 with the Jets, he totaled as many points as in those first two seasons together, with 28. Ten of those points came during the month of February, as he closed out his season with two goals and eight assists for 10 points in eight games. Blankenship was also the Jets’ plus-minus leader with a +21. 


Goaltender: Austin Nowak, Toledo Cherokee

Nowak (‘04/Toledo, Ohio) is a homegrown product who joined as a new junior goalie out of the Northview High School team. He closed out the regular season with a 3-1-0-0 record, stopping 100 of 107 shots – a portion of those coming in two shutouts over his last three games. On Feb. 17, he made 20 saves on 20 shots vs. Battle Creek and also 18 saves on 18 shots vs. Columbus. His save percentage for February was .935, and he went 13-6-0-0 with a save percentage of .924.