St. Cloud Norsemen forward Ryan O’Neill has been named the North American Hockey League Forward of the Month for his outstanding performance to lead the league in scoring in the month of March.
Forward Blake Perbix (Cathedral // Northern Michigan) took home the Central Division Star of the Week after a five-point performance that included the game-winning goal on Friday, to help the Norsemen clinch the Central Division title.
O’Neill played in 10 games during March, recording 20 points on 5 goals and 15 assists. O’Neill, an NCAA Division I hockey recruit for St. Thomas next season, recorded at least a point in all 10 games played during the month and had incredible eight multi-point games. For the season, O’Neill is currently tied for the NAHL’s scoring lead with 74 points (30 goals, 44 assists) in 53 games played.
“Ryan is having a very good year. He has worked hard, and it has paid dividends. I know he wants team success as well and is driven to help us win games,” said Norsemen head coach Corey Millen.
“I think just over the past couple months I feel we as a team have grown closer and have a lot of confidence in one another. My goals for the rest of the season are to help my team win the Robertson Cup and continue to help my teammates get noticed by NCAA schools because we have a lot of talent on this roster. After the season I hope to help St. Thomas do well next season and be a part of something great,” said O’Neill.
Perbix had a big week to help the Central Division Champion Norsemen pick up three more wins in four games this past week. The Princeton, MN native had five points and was a +5 in the three games. The week began on Wednesday when Perbix had a pair of assists in a 4-3 overtime win in North Iowa. On Friday, he scored the game-winning goal in a 3-2 home win over the Bulls. On Sunday, he had a pair of assists in a 4-1 win in Janesville. For the season, the Northern Michigan recruit is tied for 4th in team scoring so far this season with 48 points in 53 games played.
“Blake is a very smart player and has great offensive instincts. We need him to be a part of our scoring for success,” said Millen.
Honorable mentions for the NAHL Defenseman and Goalie of the Month go to defender Nick Young (Raleigh, N.C.) and goaltender Tomas Bolo (Zilina, Slovakia).
Young, an ’01 right-shot 6’2, 200 lbs defenseman and Norsemen captain, has bolstered the St. Cloud defense, consistently blocking shots and chipping in offensively for three assists in the month of March. Young is part of a Norsemen defense that has held opponents far below St. Cloud’s shot totals for 51 of 56 games this season.
“Young has been a huge part of our success over the last couple months. We love his leadership, sacrifice and ability to respond to challenges and elevate to another level of play,” said assistant coach Clark Kuster.
Bolo posted an 8-0-1 record in March, with a 2.00 goals against average, making 228 saves. Bolo also received an honorable mention for Central Division Star of the Week after going 3-0 in three starts last week and making nearly 90 saves, allowing just 6 goals in those three games. Bolo has a 2.36 GAA and .908 save percentage with a 27-7-1-0 record, the second most wins in a single-season in franchise history.
St. Cloud is 37-16-2-1 overall and has won the Central Division regular season title. The Norsemen are on the road this weekend at Minot for a Friday-Saturday series, before traveling to begin a home-and-home with North Iowa on Friday, April 15. The final regular season game for the Norsemen is on Saturday, April 16 and it is Fan Appreciation Night. The playoffs will begin for St. Cloud with a home series at the Municipal Athletic Complex on April 22-23. Get your tickets for Norsemen home games at tickets.stcloudnorsemen.com