NEW JERSEY DEVILS’ HIGH SCHOOL PLAYERS OF THE MONTH HONORED
FIVE SENIORS, ONE JUNIOR, ONE SOPHOMORE HIGHLIGHT DECEMBER SELECTIONS
The New Jersey Devils High School Player of the Month Program continues in this, their milestone 25th season honoring the top scholastic players in the Garden State.
Closing out the calendar year, goaltenders dominated the action, sparking the resurgence of several teams with four of the seven area selections coming in between the pipes. Among the nominations, six were upperclassmen, including five seniors. One sophomore’s standout play in net booked him a spot among the best in the state.
Players named for December 2016 are: Delbarton senior goaltender Troy Kobryn (Gordon Conference); Glen Rock senior forward Jake Kinney (Big North Conference), Notre Dame senior forward Jason Janora (Colonial Valley Conference), Millburn senior goaltender Gabe Nadell (Essex/Union), Morris Knolls’ sophomore goaltender Ty Franchi (MCSSIHL), Hunterdon Central junior goaltender Noah Dominick (Greater Middlesex/Skyland Conference) and Central Regional senior forward Michael Mania (Shore Conference).
Each month, December through February, seven student-athletes from throughout the state are selected as recipients of the award. Public A, Public B and Non-Public All-Tournament Teams will be selected in March and an overall Boys and Girls High School Player of the Year will also be chosen at the conclusion of the season.
Kobryn was stellar for Delbarton in December, helping the Green Wave remain undefeated with a perfect 8-0 record with three shutouts. Kobryn yielded just six goals to turn in a 1.33 goals-against average and sparkling .956 save percentage.
Kinney struck for 11 goals, including a pair of hat tricks, to go along with 15 points. Kinney leads the Panthers in scoring with 20 goals and 41 points this season.
Janora was a playmaker in December with seven goals and 11 assists, including a five-assist performance in an Egan Cup game. With a team-leading 18 goals and 25 assists, Janora paces the Irish with 43 points this season.
After winning 11 games the entire 2015-16 season, Millburn went 8-2-1 in December in large part to the play of Nadell in between the pipes. The senior netminder was nothing short of spectacular with a 1.00 goals-against average and .968 save percentage highlighted by four straight shutouts. Nadell stood tall with 53 saves against Madison on Dec. 29.
A sophomore in classification only, Franchi is playing above and beyond his status for the Golden Eagles. Franchi went 4-1-1 in December with three of the wins coming via shutout. Franchi yielded just six goals all month to sport a 1.00 goals-against average and .955 save percentage.
The Red Devils held sole possession of first place in the Skyland Conference after December in thanks to the play of Dominick in net. The junior went 6-3-1 with a 2.55 goals-against and .810 save percentage, including an opening night 31-save shutout against Ridge.
Mania is the state’s scoring leader with an astounding 81 points behind 43 goals and 38 assists for Central Regional in the Shore Conference. Mania got off to a strong start in December with 21 goals and 17 assists for the Golden Eagles, including an 11-point game in a win over Freehold Boro on Dec. 6.
Winners are based on nominations received from members of the media who cover the state’s scholastic hockey. Award winners and their guests receive tickets to a Devils game, a plaque presented by a Devils’ player and dinner compliments of the Devils. This marks the 25th season that the Devils are honoring high school student-athletes.
Player of the Month selections for January 2017 are forthcoming.
John Christian Hageny
Lead Writer — Hockey Clan
Buffalo Sabres Team Writer — The Hockey Writers