The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced its Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performers for the month of December. The players were selected based upon their performance at the fourth NAPHL event of the season, which took place at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN, Dec. 3 - 5, 2016.
Nico Pidro, a goaltender with the Esmark Stars U16 team, was selected as the Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performer U16 Number One Star - goaltender, for his performance in the Star's four games at the Showcase.
Pidro, 16, was literally perfect in the month of December in NAPHL action, posting two shut-outs in his two appearances during the showcase, as he helped the Stars post a perfect 4-0-0 record at the Showcase and move into second place in the league standings in the 16U division.
The Canonsburg resident (6'1" / 190 lbs.) posted shut-outs over the Colorado Springs Tigers (4 - 0) and Valley Forge Minutemen (3 - 0), turning aside all 26 shots he faced.
"Nico enjoyed a good weekend," said Stars 16U head coach Yuri Krivokhija. "He did what we ask of our goalies in every game ... give us a chance to win. "
Pidro's playing partner, Adam Ulan, was previously recognized by the NAPHL at the league's first and third showcases.
"When your goalies are being recognized for their play at these league events," Krivokhija continued, "you know your team has a greater chance of success."
Pidro has only surrendered one goal in his past three NAPHL starts. His overall NAPHL record stands at 5-3-0 with a GAA (Goals Against Average) of 2.39 while recording three shutouts.
Overall, his record stands at 18-7-2 with seven shutouts, with a GAA of 1.79 in 27 appearances.
The NAPHL is comprised of five regular-season events leading up to its Championship Tournament Series in which the top ten teams in each age division compete for a league championship. The fifth, and final, NAPHL regular season event of the 2016-17 season will take place Jan. 6 - 9, 2017, at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, MI.
After each event the league recognizes three "Peak Performers" at the forward, defense and goaltender position for the U18 and U16 divisions. They also recognize three "Peak Performers" at the forward, defense and goaltender position for the U15 division at events in which the U15s are participating.
Apex Learning Virtual School
With more than 100 online high school courses and 20 years of experience, APEX Learning Virtual School offers players the opportunity to be both successful academically and available for practices and travel. Rigorous curriculum and the support of expert online teachers provide a strong academic foundation. The flexibility to complete online course work when and where it is convenient means school can fit with player's hockey commitments. Enrollment options include full-time to earn a diploma and individual courses to fulfill specific requirements. For players wanting to qualify for Division I and Division III college teams, courses approved by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) are offered.
The North American Prospects Hockey League held its fourth annual 16U NAPHL All-Star game on Sunday, Dec. 4, at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, MN.
The event was held in conjunction with the fourth NAPHL showcase of the season and for the first time in league history was held in conjunction with the U18 All-Star game.
In keeping with the rich tradition of the league, the NAPHL named the All-Star Teams this season after two legendary builders of youth hockey in the United States and the NAPHL, Dean Dixon and Bob Suter. Each of the two All-Star teams consisted of 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders.
Esmark Stars 16U AAA forwards JT Schmizzi and Christian Gorscak and defensemen Billy Rapone and Ethan Webb were selected to represent the Stars and helped guide Team Suter to an impressive 6-2 win.
Gorscak led all scorers as he found the back of the net twice, scoring the first and sixth goals. Rapone picked up an assist on Team Suter's second goal of the game.
"I was very happy for the four players that were selected to participate," said Esmark's 16U Head Coach Yuri Krivokhija, "they have worked hard all season and obviously gained attention from the selection committee."
"But I would have welcomed additional selections from our squad," Krivokhija continued, "as I believe another four or five players could have been easily included in the final mix. I felt bad they were left out of the mix ... but I am proud of the performance our kids showed."
Several NAHL coaches were on hand and joined dozens of junior and NCAA scouts and a near capacity crowd to watch the young stars battle.
The 2016 NAPHL All-Star Games featured players who are leading the way in the NAPHL, many of whom are considered top prospects in North America in their respective birth-years.
Following nominations from team coaches, the All-Star teams were selected based on player evaluations from NAHL Central Scouting throughout the first three months of the season. The number of players selected from each team was determined based on the team's overall standings in league play.
Last season, 77 NAPHL players were tendered or drafted into the NAHL and USHL in large part because of the showcase events like the NAPHL 16U and 18U All-Star Games. With a strong handful of NCAA commitments, USHL call-ups and NAHL tenders already signed, the NAPHL is expecting another banner year in terms of player advancement, including those players appearing in this year’s All-Star Games.
“Both NAPHL All Star Games are great events and it makes it extra special this season that they are being played in cooperation with one another for the very first time. The NAHL Central Scouting team of scouts did a tremendous job tracking the league throughout the season and providing feedback on the top players in the NAPHL,” said NAPHL Director Lucas Trombetta. “Finalizing the rosters was a very difficult task.”
The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced its Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performers for the month of November. The players were selected based upon their performance at the third NAPHL event of the season, which took place in Denver, CO, Nov. 11 - 13, 2016.
William "Billy" Rapone, a defenseman with the Esmark Stars U16 team, was selected as the Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performer U16 #3 star - defense, and Adam Ulan, a goaltender for the Stars U16 club, was selected as the Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performer U16 #2 star - goaltender, for their performances in Esmark's four games at the Showcase.
Rapone and Ulan helped lead a stingy Esmark defense that finished the Showcase 3-0-0-1 and kept the Stars near the top of the standings in NAPHL play with only two showcases remaining in the regular season.
Ulan opened the showcase backstopping a 4-0 shutout over the Valley Forge Minutemen, stopping all 19 shots he faced. Rapone registered an assist in the win and finished with a +3 ranking for the game. In the second game of the showcase, a hard-fought 5-3 win over the Madison Capitols, Ulan came on in relief in the game and stopped all 9 shots he face in almost two periods of action to pick up his second win of the showcase in goal. Rapone registered an assist in the win, as the Stars fought back from a 3-0 deficit to earn the win. In game three, Rapone scored a goal on the power play and added another assist, as the Stars overcame 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to beat the California Titans 5-3. He finished the game with four shots on goal. In the Showcase finale, the U16 Stars dropped a 3-2 game to Meijer AAA in overtime, denying them a chance to skate away with all eight points. Rapone picked up another assist, his fourth of the Showcase and added three more shots on goal for the Stars. Ulan was saddled with the overtime loss, despite turning away 27 of 30 Meijer shots. The loss was Ulan's first in NAPHL action, where he now leads the league, for goalies with action in at least seven games, with a goals against average of 1.07 and a save percentage of .949 while posting a record of 6-0-0-1.
Ulan was previously honored by the NAPHL as Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performer U16 #2 star - goaltender, for his performances in Esmark's opening showcase in Blaine, MN, Sept. 22 - 25, 2016.
The NAPHL is comprised of five regular-season events leading up to its Championship Tournament Series in which the top teams in each division compete for a league championship. The fourth NAPHL event of the 2016-17 season will be the NAPHL Showcase and Future Prospects Tournament, which will take place from Dec. 2 - 5, 2016 in Blaine, MN.
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