BOSTON, MA -- We've reached the final month of the 2022-23 regular season schedule in the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) and the Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP).
Below you'll find the 5th set of monthly award winners in the #EShow. The forward and defenseman awards are presented by Verbero Hockey, while the goalie recognition comes courtesy of Vaughn Custom Sports.
The EHL is pleased to announce that Heath Mensch (New England Wolves), Kieran Chung (Connecticut RoughRiders), and Stefan Kulhanek (Railers Jr. Hockey Club) have been named the January Stars of the Month.
Mensch and the Wolves returned well-rested from the holiday break, posting a record of 5-1-2 over the course of their eight games throughout the month of January. The 12 total points helped them maintain their spot in what looks like it will be a race between them and the Seacoast Spartans for the #2 seed in the North Division Playoffs.
As for the '03 native of Las Vegas, NV, the lethal scorer continued along in his impressive inaugural campaign in the EHL. Mensch averaged two points a game, by tallying four goals and 10 assists in seven total contests. For the season, Mensch now has 51 total points, which ranks him 4th overall on the league's scoring charts.
Back on the blue line, this is now the second Star of the Month honor for Chung, as he claimed the same award back in October. As for this past month, the '04 native of England added 11 more points to his credit, giving him 34 total for the season. The young defenseman is now just three points away from surpassing the 2021-22 total he posted (36 points), combined between the regular season and the postseason.
As February begins, Chung and the RoughRiders find themselves right in the middle of the #2 through #5 race in the Central Division standings. The RoughRiders, Connecticut Chiefs, and HC Rhode Island are all tied for 2nd place with 27 total points, while the New York Apple Core are not far behind at 23. Connecticut will look to continue leaning on Chung down the stretch, as the RoughRiders seek to avoid the Play-In Round in their division.
Wrapping things up in goal, and sticking with the Central Division, Kulhanek and the Railers are on the verge of clinching the top seed after going 6-1-1 in the opening month of 2023. The Railers now own a 20-point lead in their division, which puts them just about three games or so away from looking up the top spot.
As for the '02 native of Austria, the veteran netminder was nearly unbeatable in January, collecting four wins to go along with a 1.42 GAA and a .952 save percentage. Overall, Kulhanek is now just two wins away from tying Nathan Mueller (Boston Jr. Rangers) for the record for all-time career wins in the EHL. With eight games remaining in the regular season, the All-Star will surely be hoping to tie and break the record before the end of February, paving the way for him to focus on helping his team return to the EHL Frozen Finals next month in Providence.
The EHLP is pleased to announce that Jonah Burd (Express Hockey Club), Jack Randall (Adirondack Jr. Thunder), and Aidan Gambone (New Jersey Renegades) have been named the January Stars of the Month.
January was a tough month for the Express in terms of their overall record, but that wasn't due to any sort of lack of effort from Burd. The '04 native of Mechanicsburg, PA led the EHLP with 18 total points throughout the opening month of the calendar year. The junior hockey rookie now has 41 points through 36 total games to date. Coming up in February/March, Burd and the Express have five regular season games remaining as they gear up for postseason play in the Boston Division.
Moving up to the New England Division, and the January slate of games went the opposite way for Randall and the Thunder. Adirondack skated away victoriously in all seven games they played, outscoring their opponents 44-18 along the way. As for the '02 native of Queensbury, NY, Randall finished January with 12 points, scoring five times and collecting seven assists.
After spending the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons with the Vermont Lumberjacks, Randall returned home for his final season of junior hockey, as he was given the opportunity to serve as the captain of the Thunder in their inaugural campaign. Randall has brought with him the experience of having reached each of the past two editions of the Frozen Finals, and he's a big reason why Adirondack has Providence on their mind this year. At 21-6-5, the Thunder are currently setting the pace in their division, with 12 games remaining on their regular season schedule. They will surely lean even more on Randall down the stretch, as the team prepares for their first-ever run in the upcoming EHLP Playoffs.
Crossing off all three divisions, we head south to the Mid-Atlantic Division, where Gambone and the Renegades won three of their last four games to wrap up the month of January. As for the '05 native of Raleigh, NC, Gambone saw action in three total games, starting in net for two of them.
Overall, in 140 minutes of time between the pipes, Gambone owned a 0.430 GAA and a .990 save percentage as he stopped 98 of the 99 total shots that he faced. Gambone and the Renegades enter February dead-locked with the Philadelphia Little Flyers for 3rd place in the Mid-Atlantic. This battle is important of course, as whoever claims the #3 seed will be guaranteed at least a best-of-three playoff series, while the #4 seed will have to hit the ice for the division's single-elimination play-in game in early March.