Close games highlight Day 1 of FALL League
The 2022-23 North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) season officially got underway on Saturday as the FALL League took to the ice at the Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota. The full event runs from September 3-5.
This is the first NAPHL event of the 2022-23 season, which is the 14th season of the NAPHL. This will be the third season of the FALL League.
This NAPHL FALL League is designed to give U18 and U16 teams the ability to play in a league within a shortened window of time before the Minnesota and Wisconsin high school seasons begin.
Day 1 Recaps
16U Division: In the opener, Kenai River shutout St. Cloud, 3-0. Brown Bears goalie Griffin Knutson stopped all 19 shots in the win and forward Gavin Sullivan had two goals and an assist for the Brown Bears. In the next game, Janesville beat Wisconsin, 5-3. Eli Kassler was the offensive star for the Jets, recording two goals and an assist. Casey Keane also had a goal and an assist in the win. In the third game of the day, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs beat the Austin Bruins, 5-2. Five different players scored for Fairbanks which included goals from George Daravingas, Finley Neumann, Brady McElmury, Brayden Kortus, and Fisher Hatfield. In the final game of the day, Henry Drevnick had two goals and an assist and Connor Doyle made 26 saves as the Minnesota Wilderness beat the Chippewa Steel, 4-2.
18U Division: The St. Cloud Norsemen opened Day 1 with two wins. In the morning, Mack Yelle scored twice in a 6-3 win over Kenai River. In the nightcap, Matt Pavek had a hat-trick in a 6-2 win over Wisconsin. The Windigo did pick up a 5-4 overtime win in their morning opener over Janesville as Crutcher Christian netted the overtime-winner and Isaiah Anderson made 33 saves. The Chippewa Steel went 1-1 on Day 1 as goalie Brady Altier stopped 50 of 52 shots in two appearances including 34 saves in a 4-1 win over Fairbanks. The Ice Dogs also went 1-1 on Day 1. In the morning game, five different players found the back of the net in a 5-4 win over Austin. The Bruins did pick up a win in the nightcap as they beat Kenai River, 5-3. Jacob Brown scored twice in the win for Austin. The Janesville Jets picked up their first win of the day in the nightcap as they beat the Wilderness, 3-1. Jets goalie Aiden Tepper-Engh had 21 saves in the win.
There will be three events, all of which are at the Super Rink in Blaine, MN, which will all take place before the high school seasons begin. The first event will take place from September 3-5. The second event will take place from September 15-18 in cooperation with the NAHL Showcase. The third and final event will take place from October 15-17 in Blaine, Minnesota, and will be the Fall League Playoff Championship.
Each team playing in the NAPHL Fall League will be named after an NAHL team and be represented as such. The NAPHL Fall League events are designed to maximize exposure for the players and bring together teams for likeminded and enhanced competition. Players will also participate in seminars that discuss the NAHL junior hockey experience, the ladder of development, as well as NCAA compliance seminars.
NAHL teams that are taking part in the Fall League with youth teams are: Austin Bruins, Chippewa Steel, Fairbanks Ice Dogs, Janesville Jets, Kenai River Brown Bears, Minnesota Wilderness. St. Cloud Norsemen, and Wisconsin Windigo.
Members of the NAPHL get the opportunity to attend some of the most dynamic and highly scouted events. Every member is guaranteed the opportunity to compete at the NAHL Showcase, which features every NCAA Division 1 and every NHL team along with dozens of junior scouts under one roof. No matter what age classification, the NAPHL provides the most dynamic vertical exposure structure designed specifically to educate, develop, expose and advance players in the NAPHL.
Entering its 14th season, the NAPHL has proved over the years that the league is a great stepping-stone for development and training for young hockey players looking to gain experience and knowledge to work their way up to the National level. No other USA Hockey Midget Tier I league has had more players play in the NAHL over the course of the last five seasons than the NAPHL, which included over 80+ NAPHL alumni playing in the NAHL during the 2021-22 season.
In addition to the 20 players who were drafted, a record number of 66 players who played in the league during the 2021-22 season signed NAHL tenders for the upcoming 2022-23 season. In total, a total of 86 NAPHL players were either drafted or tendered by NAHL teams for the upcoming 2022-23 season.