The Ontario Hockey League today announced the Top OHL Performers of the Month for December, 2012, including forward Alex Galchenyuk of the Sarnia Sting, defenceman Ryan Sproul of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, rookie Blake Clarke of the Brampton Battalion, and goaltender Mathias Niederberger of the Barrie Colts.
OHL Player of the Month – Alex Galchenyuk (Sarnia Sting)
Alex Galchenyuk of the Sarnia Sting led the OHL with 11 goals in seven December games and finished the month with 17 points and a plus-minus rating of plus-10 before departing for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship with Team USA. He helped the Sting win six of the seven games he competed in last month and recorded four multi-point games including the first two five-point games of his career. In both contests he scored a hat-trick with two assists and was named the game’s first star including December 1 in a 5-2 win over the Peterborough Petes, and in his last OHL game December 15 in a 7-4 win over the Kingston Frontenacs before receiving OHL and CHL Player of the Week honours.
Galchenyuk, an 18-year-old from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is playing in his third OHL season after being the first overall pick in the 2010 OHL Priority Selection. A Montreal Canadiens prospect selected third overall at the 2012 NHL Draft, the Sting captain is currently third in OHL scoring with 61 points in 33 games and heading into Saturday’s Gold Medal Final has eight points in six games with the United States at the World Junior Championship.
OHL Defenceman of the Month – Ryan Sproul (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
Ryan Sproul of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds claims the award after producing 12 points in nine December games including six goals which led all defencemen. He recorded points in eight of his nine games with two three-point efforts earning first star honours both times. On December 8 he contributed three assists as part of a 6-4 win over the Saginaw Spirit, then closed out the month with his second career hat-trick on New Year’s Eve in a 7-3 win over the Spirit.
Sproul, a 19-year-old from Mississauga, ON, is playing in his third OHL season with the Greyhounds. Selected in the second round of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, Sproul ranks fifth in OHL scoring among defencemen with 29 points in just 22 games and was invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp last month.
OHL Rookie of the Month – Blake Clarke (Brampton Battalion)
Blake Clarke of the Brampton Battalion led all OHL rookies in scoring with 11 points in 11 games played in December scoring six goals and five assists while recording a plus-minus rating of plus-6. He produced points in seven different games including three multi-point games, notably a three-assist performance on December 2 as second star of a 4-1 win over the Kingston Frontenacs. Clarke also recorded the first two multi-goal games of his career last month leading the Troops to a victory both times with game-winning goals December 28 as first star in a 3-2 win over the Sarnia Sting, and December 31 as first star of a 5-2 win over Central Division rivals the Mississauga Steelheads.
Clarke, a 16-year-old from Wildwood, Missouri, was chosen by the Battalion 15th overall in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection from the St. Louis Minor Midget program. With 13 goals and 21 assists, Clarke ranks second in rookie scoring with 34 points in 40 games.
Vaughn OHL Goaltender of the Month – Mathias Niederberger (Barrie Colts)
Mathias Niederberger of the Barrie Colts posted a 3-2-0-0 record in December including one shutout win with a goals-against-average of 1.70 and a league-high save percentage of .954. He stopped 188 shots last month for the Central Division leading Colts highlighted by a 40-save performance on December 15 in a 2-0 win over the Plymouth Whalers where he was named first star of the game with his first shutout of the season. He also received first star honours December 28 in Kitchener after stopping 37 shots as part of a 4-1 victory over the Rangers.
Niederberger, a 20-year-old from Duesseldorf, Germany, is playing in his second OHL season with the Colts. In 30 games so far this season he carries a 19-7-0-1 record with a 2.60 goals-against-average and a .926 save percentage.
2012-13 OHL Performers of the Month:
Player of the Month:
December – Alex Galchenyuk (Sarnia Sting)
November – Ryan Strome (Niagara IceDogs)
October – Zach Hall (Barrie Colts)
Defenceman of the Month
December – Ryan Sproul (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
November – Dougie Hamilton (Niagara IceDogs)
October – Frank Corrado (Sudbury Wolves)
Rookie of the Month:
December – Blake Clarke (Brampton Battalion)
November – Connor McDavid (Erie Otters)
October – Connor McDavid (Erie Otters)
Vaughn Goaltender of the Month:
December – Mathias Niederberger (Barrie Colts)
November – Franky Palazzese (Kitchener Rangers)
October – Jordan Binnington (Owen Sound Attack)