Congratulations to our Pacific Division All-Stars, who were selected from votes made by the coaches with support from the League Media Director.
Christopher Miraldo, Fresno Monsters
The ‘02 from Montreal, Que., may have traveled the breadth of a continent, but he made it to Fresno, and boy did he make it! After an already impressive 43-point season in 2022-23, Miraldo was just unstoppable this year. The USPHL’s goals leader posted 62 this year and added 51 assists for 113 points in total, a 70-point improvement on last year. He also had the most productive scoring streak, posting points in 25 straight games for 62 total. Miraldo was also the league’s power play goals leader.
Noak Persson, Fresno Monsters
Persson (‘03/Stockholm, Sweden) joined the Monsters in Fresno and ended up with the best points per game average in the league for a player skating in more than 23 games, or half the Pacific Division season. He put up an eye-popping line of 41 goals and 52 assists for 93 points, good for 3.44 points per game on average. He was a top 10 player in several situational goal categories including first goal (seven, tied for fifth) and insurance goals (five, tied for ninth).
Emil Loov, Fresno Monsters
Loov ranked as the second best playmaker in the Premier, putting up 68 helpers on the season. Along with 19 goals, he put up a Top 10-worthy 87 points in 41 games for a 2.12 points per game average. The ‘03 from Sweden was in his first North American season coming out of the Skelleftea organization and surely has a bright future no matter what continent he is playing on.
Yuri Stalev, Long Beach Shredders/Fresno Monsters
Acquired by Fresno at the start of February for their playoff push, the majority of Stalev’s season was spent leading the Shredders, offensively. His 1.21 points per game in Long Beach led the team this year, as he had 41 points in 34 games playing under Shredders Head Coach/GM/Co-Owner and NHL alum Emerson Etem. With Fresno, the ‘02 from Moskva, Russia, posted 13 more points in nine games for a season total of 53 points in 41 games for a very impressive 1.26 overall points per game average. Stalev also led the Pacific Division in hits with 116.
Narek Aleksanyan, Las Vegas Thunderbirds
Aleksanyan joined Miraldo and Persson in being the only forwards to stand with three votes apiece in the coach voting. The ‘02 from East Angus, Que., was in his first year with the T-Birds and posted 101 points for his second straight 100-point campaign in the USPHL Premier, and third overall in his junior career. He put up 46 goals and 55 assists for 101 points this year, and he broke into the all-time top five for the Premier with 203 points.
Ethan McKibbin, Ontario Jr. Reign
McKibbin (‘02/Chestermere, Alb.) put up an amazing 41 goals and 41 assists for 82 points in just 46 games for the Reign this season, playing in his first full junior season – after not playing in 2021-22. He was also No. 2 this year in shorthanded goals, popping in seven shorties, showing he can excel in all situations of strength.
Max Kathol, Ontario Jr. Reign
Kathol (‘02/Chestermere, Alb.) was often on the penalty kill alongside his longtime teammate McKibbin, and had very similar levels of success. He came in at third overall in shorthanded points, with three goals and six assists when the Jr. Reign were a man-down. Overall, he posted 27 goals and 48 assists for 75 points.
Michal Novak, San Diego Sabers
Novak was the offensive go-to man on a team more known in the West for its defense. The Sabers’ 2.70 goals against average led the Pacific Division and was Top 15 for the Premier, but going the other way most often was the ‘03 out of Praha, Czechia. He posted 33 goals and 41 assists for 74 points in 46 games on the season, his first in North America.
Robin Benoit, Bakersfield Roughnecks
Another player receiving multiple votes was this ‘07 from St-Felicien, Que., who put up 27 goals and 25 assists for 52 points in 43 games. There are surely bright things coming in this youngster’s future, especially considering the fact that he led all of the USPHL Premier in overtime goals with four. He led his team in scoring with 21 points more than his closest teammate.
Jacob Gagnon, Fresno Monsters
A near-unanimous selection, the Monsters’ Captain Gagnon (‘02/Fresno, Calif.) is so steady, you could balance all the produce of the San Joaquin Valley on his hands, which produced a career-best 47 points. It didn’t take much to produce a career-best, however, as his two previous seasons both saw 46 points. His 139 points in 115 games make him the Premier’s second all-time leading scorer among defensemen, after former Wisconsin Rapids Riverking Jordan Stear (192 points). His 52 blocked shots this season were tied for second in the division among defensemen as well.
Steven Blengino, Fresno Monsters
Blengino finished sixth in both overall defenseman scoring (57) and assists (43) in the USPHL Premier this season. The ‘03 out of Czechia, another Pacific player in his first North American season, previously played in the highly touted HC Karlovy Vary organization in his native land. No player in the Pacific Division saw more shifts (and certainly no other player saw more than 1,000 on the year) than Blengino, who was also second in plus-minus for defensemen in his division at +47.
Nevio D’Alessandro, San Diego Sabers
D’Alessandro (‘04/Pointe-Claire, Que.) put up 48 points from the blue line this year, the best points total for an ‘04 defenseman in the Premier this year. The first-year junior player out of Quebec AAA was just outside the top 10 in USPHL Premier defenseman scoring, and he tied Gagnon for second most blocked shots by a defenseman in the Pacific with 52, and was also an impressive +22.
Lucas Lundy, San Diego Sabers
There was at least one NCAA college coach who made the long drive between rinks at the Las Vegas Showcase just to make sure they didn’t miss a chance to look at Lucas Lundy, the ‘02 from Delta, B.C., playing in his fifth junior hockey season. Coming into the Premier with prior BCHL experience, Lundy’s all around game saw him post 46 points in 41 games, while also posting a +18 and 30 blocked shots.
Nicholas Bonaldi, Las Vegas Thunderbirds
An ‘03 local for the Las Vegas T-Birds, Bonaldi’s star never stops shining in the Western Sky. Back for his first full season since 2020-21, Bonaldi posted nine goals and 38 assists for 47 points, good for 1.34 points per game – not only his best average of a three-year Premier career, but also the sixth best points per game average for a Premier defenseman. He was spotted having conversations with NCAA colleges at the Las Vegas Showcase, so they are impressed with his all-around complete game.
Ethan Blackburn, San Diego Sabers
The No. 1 goaltender in the league posted a .929 save percentage, good for a spot in the Top 20. He was the only goalie in the offense-heavy Pacific to make such a mark in the league leaderboards, along with his 15 wins also making the Top 20. The ‘02 from Boulder, Colo., playing in his second USPHL Premier season and first with San Diego, went 15-4-1-0 with a 2.58 goals against average.
Loic Morin, Las Vegas Thunderbirds
Morin (‘04/St-Charles-de-Drummond, Que.) not only had the second best save percentage in the division, at .919, but he also helped the T-Birds overcome the Fresno Monsters and break that team’s monopoly on the division’s USPHL Premier Nationals berth. Las Vegas was able to go to Utica and put up some strong showings on the East Coast, making the Round of 16. Morin finished 12-7-2-0 on the year with a 3.21 goals against average.