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

Summaries By Jim DenHollander / USPHL.com

Forwards

William Tricarico, Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings

Tricarico (‘02/East Isle, N.Y.) has been a key to the offense on the Riverkings and in January he didn’t just lead his team, he led the entire division. Beginning with the Tampa Showcase, Tricarico and the Riverkings played 11 times in the opening month of 2023. Tricarico scored a dozen and set up another 10, leading the division in points per game with an even two. Those points accelerated his season pace a bit and Tricarico enters the final month of the regular season with a team-leading 30 goals and 49 points.

 

Daniel Ellingson, Minnesota Squatch

January was another awesome month for Ellingson (‘03/Osseo, Minn.) who continues to be the overall leader in scoring in the USPHL Premier. In January, the forward also played in 11 games, scoring seven times and collecting 21 points to run to season total to 36 goals and 90 points. As a part of the division’s top line all season, Ellingston has played a big part in the expansion team’s awesome opening season as they enter the final month in second place.

 

Blake Bakey, Minnesota Squatch

The Squatch is one of the league’s top offensive teams and Bakey ('03/Dubuque, Iowa) has been a key contributor, in particular in the second half of the season. Bakey fired six goals and collected 16 points for the Squatch and helped the team to a 7-4 month of of January, including a 5-3 win against the Havoc last week in a game that saw Bakey connecting on the game-winning goal. Overall, Bakey has collected 13 goals and 57 points, demolishing his 16-point total in 24 games last season with the Minnesota Blue Ox. 

 

Defense

Nolan Peterson, Minnesota Squatch

On a team known more for offense than defense, Peterson (‘04/Champlin, Minn.) made his presence felt at both ends of the ice. He helped the offense with four goals and 12 points in the month and also finished with an even rating in plus/minus. Entering February, Peterson has nine goals and 27 points and has collected at least one point in seven of his last eight games.

 

Kyle Cupolo, Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings

Cupolo (‘03/Waterloo, Ont.) enjoyed a breakout month in January as well, collecting six goals and 19 points for the Riverkings and showing his ability in his own end as well. Cupolo wrapped up a +17 rating in what turned into a big turnaround month for the Riverkings. The young defender knew when to step it up as well, scoring two game winners including in the team’s most recent game, at Isanti. The Riverkings enter the final month on a hot streak and Cupolo has played a part in the team’s current four-game winning streak and wins in seven of its last eight.

 

Goaltender

Kaleb Bents, Hudson Havoc

As a primary backstopper for the best defensive team in the league, Bents (‘03/St. Croix Falls, Wis.) is the last line of defense. Bents went to the crease for six of the team's 10 games in January and helped them post a 9-1 record as a team. Bents saw 116 shots in the month and stopped all but seven for a .940 save percentage and a 1.17 goals against average. Bent, a local product on the Hudson team, collected two shutouts in that stretch as well.

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