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USPHL Premier Players Of The Month – February 2023: Midwest West Division

Summaries by Jim Den Hollander / USPHL.com 

Forwards

Jack Pojar, Minnesota Squatch

As a member of the top line all season Pojar (‘02/Osseo, Minn.) helped his team to a 5-2 showing in its final seven games, including the team’s second win since Christmas against the (nearly) unbeatable Hudson Havoc. In that stretch, Pojar collected seven goals and 13 points including at least a point in six of the seven contests and his team was able to rely on him as he sat just one minor infraction during the stretch. As a member of the one of the league’s most dangerous lines, Pojar will be relied on heavily to match or better those numbers in the games ahead.

 

Brady Rossbach, Steele County Blades

The Blades’ 136 goals scored this season wasn’t one of the largest totals in the division, but Rossbach (‘02/New Berlin, Wis.) has developed as a guy the team can count on and he makes the team a little bit deeper when it comes to offense. Rossbach contributed six goals and 11 points in the half-dozen February contests for the Blades. That includes all four goals scored in a 4-1 win against the Blue Ox at the Four Seasons Center Feb. 10, an interesting game that saw him score both a power play and shorthanded goal and his second of two game-winners for the month. Of his 22 goals and 36 points collected this season, nine goals and 17 points have come since the Christmas break.

 

William Tricarico, Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings

The lanky Riverkings forward has been an important player for the Riverkings all season but Tricarico (‘02/East Isle, N.Y.) saved some of his best for the season’s homestretch, collecting nine goals and a dozen points in seven February contests. Tricarico picked up at least a point in every game and that continued a string of 14 straight with at least a point dating back to Jan. 9. In his final game of the season, Tricarico notched his third hat trick of the campaign, pushing his season total to 39 goals and 61 points. He also collected his seventh game-winner of the season in the finale.

 

Defense

Evan Izenstark, Hudson Havoc

As a defenseman on the best defensive team in the league, Izenstark (‘02/Northbrook, Ill.) is a leader no matter which end of the sheet his team is playing in. On the offensive side, the playmaking blueliner lit the lamp twice and set up five others and in his own side of the red line, he picked up two blocks and two hits and led the division for the month with a +13 rating.
A Lawrence University commit, Izenstark is just one of several reasons the Havoc added four more shutouts to an amazing total of 13 for the season and in February the team allowed more than one goal in just two of eight contests.

 

Kyle Cupolo, Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings

A rugged 6’2” 205 lbs. Defender, Cupolo (‘03/Waterloo, Ont.) played a key role in the Riverkings’ seven-game month of February. Cupolo fired five goals and added five assists through the month to pace the offense but he sacrificed in his own end blocking 19 shots and picking up seven hits and wrapping up the month win an impressive +10 showing. Like Tricarico, Cupolo picked up at least a point in all seven matches and he enters the playoffs riding a stretch of 14 games with a point, also dating back to a game Jan. 9 against Carolina.

 

Goaltender

Bridger Fixmer, Minnesota Moose

The value of goaltending escalates with the start of the post season and Fixmer (‘04/Chippewa Falls, Wis.) has been the ‘Go-To’ guy for the Moose all season. In February, Fixmer patrolled the crease four times, posting a 3-1 record i with 135 saves on 142 shots for a 2.05 Goals Against Average and a Save Percentage of .951. Included in the totals is a shutout in the final game of the regular season. Fixmer could be a key player in the blue paint for the Moose in its first round playoff series against the Blades, a team he has a 1-0 record against, allowing a single goal on 22 shots.

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