(Summaries by Jim Den Hollander – Editor/Publisher, Saukhockey.info)
Jack Pojar, Minnesota Squatch
The ’02 from Osseo, Minn. has been a part of the division’s most explosive line all season, but with the departure of Jake McAlpine to the NCDC he has stepped up as a trigger man in a big way. Since flipping to the final month on the calendar, Pojar collected seven goals and 18 points in eight games, scoring in all but two contests and collecting points in all eight, running his personal points streak to 21 games dating back to Oct. 8. In fact, that is the only game Pojar was kept off the sheet this season.
Tyler Schmitt, Isanti Outlaws
This month didn’t end the way the Outlaws hoped it would, but Schmitt (’03/Big Lake, Minn.) has continued to be among the highest and most consistent scorers in the entire league. He collected five goals and 18 points in an eight-game month and he heads into the stretch drive tied for third in league scoring, just two points off of the top spot. While the team struggled at the Florida Showcase, Schmitt collected a goal and five assists, four of them in one game.
John Becker, Minnesota Moose
The Moose picked up points in all eight games played in December (7-0-1-0) and the chemistry showed at the Chicago Showcase as Becker (’03/Dellwood, Minn.) is a key cog on a team showing great depth at center. Becker was held off the scoresheet just once and collected multiple points a half dozen times in December, peaking early in the month with a four-assist game on home ice against the Dells Ducks. He wrapped up the month with seven goals and 16 points, nearly doubling his season total in the offensive categories. His presence is felt on both ends of the rink and he is also big on faceoffs.
Brock Hart, Hudson Havoc
The Havoc made its way to the top of the division with an 8-1-0-1 march through December and while a balanced and potent offensive attack is part of what made it possible, this team relies on awesome goaltending and defense to win the close games. Hart (’03/Rockford, Ill.) played a role on a team blessed with size, depth and great skill on the blueline as they helped their goaltenders, limiting opposition shooters to less than 20 (19.69) chances on average per game. His four blocks show he is willing to do whatever it takes in his own end. At the other end, Hart stepped up with a goal and eight points. His lone goal couldn’t have been bigger – an overtime game winner against the Squatch on Dec. 11 on home ice.
Logan Lake, Minnesota Moose
Lake (’02/Port Huron, Mich.) made his presence felt in a big way with the Moose in December, collecting 11 assists and wrapping up the month with a division leading +12 rating. The 6’0, 185-pound defender is on the ice in every situation and makes his presence felt in a big way as a quarterback on the power play. Despite playing a hard nosed physical game, Lake has sat just for 10 minutes in penalties this season. A key player for the Moose for the past four seasons, Lake is already within a couple points of his best offensive season and he will hit a personal milestone likely early in January as he is just four points away from a 100-point career.
Chris Mazurek, Dells Ducks
This has been a breakout season for the Ducks who, while currently sitting in the final playoff position, have far exceeded points totals from the previous two seasons. Mazurek (’03/Batavia, Ill.) has played a big part in that, posting four of his team’s eight wins this season, including a 3-1 run through December. Mazurek stopped 167 of 174 shots faced through the month for a division best .960 save percentage with 231 minutes in the blue paint and a 1.82 Goals Against Average. The Ducks’ progress has been notable and Mazurek gives his team a chance to win every time he takes the ice. His only loss was a heartbreaking 5-2 defeat in Blaine against the Moose, a 71-save night that had the team within a few minutes of its first ever victory against its toughest rival, a night after a more decisive loss to the same team.