(Summaries by Miles Regan)
Noah Maine, Fort Wayne Spacemen
During his rookie year in 2021-22, Maine (’02) finished second in the Midwest East and fourth among all Premier defensemen in points with 50 (20-30–50). He’s on pace to do all that and then some in 2022-23, but this time as a centerman. The Knoxville, Tenn., native switched positions over the off-season, and the change is already paying dividends for Fort Wayne.
He’s got 25 points on 10 goals and 15 assists through 10 games. Maine’s 2.50 points per game average is best in the division and fourth-best among all Premier skaters with 10+ games played. Maine can do it all, and he put that offensive versatility on display during Fort Wayne’s 6-5 victory over the Chicago Cougars on Oct. 9. Maine scored an assisted goal, an unassisted goal, and added three helpers in the win.
Johan Karjalainen, Chicago Crush
Karjalainen (’03) is the newest Finn to take the Midwest East by storm. The Crush winger moved from Helsinki to Chicago over the summer, and has scored 17 points (12-5–17) through his first 10 games in North America. His dozen goals are the most in the division, and his 1.70 points per game is also among the division’s top figures.
Karjalainen scored two goals in his club’s first-ever victory, a 4-2 defeat of the Crosstown rival Cougars on Oct. 2. He was also a notable performer at the USPHL’s Midwest Showcase, tallying six points over four games during the Crush’s visit to Blaine, Minn. Karjalainen recorded a hat trick and an assist in an overtime loss to a very good Isanti Outlaws team, as well as regulation and shootout goals in Chicago’s victory over Dells Ducks on Oct. 28.
Oka Forsberg, Metro Jets Development Program
The suburban Phoenix product is one of just four MJDP players who call somewhere outside the state of Michigan home, but it’s safe to say he’s making his presence known in the Mitten State. Forsberg (’03) has totaled 11 points on six goals and five assists, good for an average of 1.38 points per game over the MJDP’s 8-0-0-0 record.
He’s also tallied three multi-point games already this season, including a hat trick against Battle Creek on Oct. 22. Above all, Forsberg has been consistent in his first USPHL season. He’s recorded at least one point in seven of eight games played, all of which have been MJDP victories. The Jets hold a Midwest East-best +40 goal differential, and Forsberg’s steady scoring has helped that number grow each night.
Andreas Zorn, Chicago Cougars
Zorn (’02) has been a key presence on the Cougar blueline in his second season with the team. He’s amassed 16 points on a goal and 15 assists through twelve games, and is on pace to see a nice improvement on the 25 points (6-19–25) in 34 games he scored a year ago.
His 15 assists are good for most in the Midwest East, and third most by any Premier defenseman. The Chicagoland native also has three games with three or more assists and a +8 rating on the season. Good things happen when Zorn is on the ice, and his prowess as a passer has helped his hometown team score a division-best 69 goals this season.
Aidan Canady, Motor City Gamblers
Canady has been an integral piece of the turnaround Motor City has pulled off between this season and last. The Schaumburg, Ill.,, native leads the team in points with 15 (4-11–15) and seems to always show up when it matters most. Canady and his two assists helped Motor City earn a 5-4 victory over Fort Wayne on Oct. 16, a victory that gave the Gamblers the division lead for the first time since 2018-19.
The Gamblers sit at 6-8-0-0 through 14 games, but Canady and his even plus/minus rating have Motor City within striking distance– just four points separate first and fourth place in what’s becoming a very competitive Midwest East division.
Taylor White, Metro Jets Development Program
White has been outstanding during the early stages of his first season of USPHL action. The ’03 Bay City, Mich., native has won all three of his starts, including two #ShutoutShoutouts. White has saved 86 of 88 shots faced, good for a 0.80 goals against average and .977 save percentage.
He was particularly impressive in the Jets’ victory over Battle Creek on 10/22, a game in which he stopped all 36 Kernel shots. The former Midland High Chemic is a huge reason why MJDP are a perfect 8-0-0-0 on the season.
Note: October Players of The Month includes stats from September 2022, where applicable.