NEW JERSEY DEVILS’ HIGH SCHOOL PLAYERS OF THE MONTH HONORED
FOUR SENIORS, FOUR JUNIORS, ONE FRESHMAN AND TWO TWINS!
HIGHLIGHT NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 SELECTIONS
The New Jersey Devils High School Player of the Month Program continues in this, their 27th season honoring the top scholastic hockey players in the Garden State.
Players named for November/December 2018 are: Pope John senior goalie Matt Schoer (Gordon Conference); Lakeland senior goalie Luke Joyce (Big North Conference), Princeton junior forward Aidan Trainor (Colonial Valley Conference), Millburn senior forward Samuel Charlat (Essex/Union), Vernon senior defenseman Jack Bokun (MCSSIHL), Hillsborough junior forward Jude Kurtas (Greater Middlesex/Skyland Conference), Manasquan-Point Pleasant Beach junior forwards Mike and Matt Franzoni (Shore Conference) and Summit freshman forward Leah Rubinshteyn (Girls Ice Hockey).
Schoer put up a wall in between the pipes going 6-1-1 with a 1.25 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and four shutouts for Pope John. The All-State goaltender, who was also named HockeyClan’s Boys Ice Hockey State Player of the Month, posted 20+ saves in five straight games and had a scoreless streak of 11 shutout periods from Dec. 5-14.
Joyce was a stellar 10-1-1 with three shutouts in November-December, yielding just 15 goals in 12 games good enough for a 1.25 goals-against and .941 save percentage. Highlights include a 37-save performance in a 2-1 win over Indian Hills on Nov. 30 and a 41-save showing in a 4-1 triumph over Wayne Hills on Dec. 14.
“This is my eighth year and I’ve never seen this from a goaltender,” Lakeland coach Nick Crouch said after the calendar flipped to 2019. “He’s only given up 10 goals in his last 11 games. He’s only let in more than two goals in a game three times this season.”
Trainor, who shined with 29 goals and 56 points as a sophomore last season, has been exceeding a two point-per-game average registering 10 goals and 23 points tallying a point in all 11 games November through December. Trainor recorded two goals and two assists in a 7-1 season-opening win versus Hopewell Valley on Nov. 27 and recorded a hat trick, five-point game in a 7-1 triumph over Steinert on Dec. 21.
After scoring 19 goals as a junior, Charlat is well on his way to surpassing that mark with 14 goals and 21 points through 11 games while taking on more of a leadership role for the Millers. Charlat has three hat tricks and a five-point game in a 6-2 win over Bayonne on Dec. 21 but no game was bigger than when he accounted for both goals in a 2-1 triumph over Madison in the Essex Holiday Tournament on Dec. 27.
Bokun has all the tools to excel at both ends of the ice. The senior defenseman and team captain is a solid four-year shutdown defender who eclipsed the 100-point plateau at the end of last season. This year, Bokun has 11 goals and 11 assists including his two-goal, three point effort that sealed Vernon’s third straight Sussex Cup in a 5-0 victory over High Point on Dec. 31.
“He doesn’t get the fanfare,” Vernon coach Ray Zimmerman said. “He really flies under the radar. 100 points as a defenseman? Jack is definitely the key to our success. He’s a straight-A student and a great all-around kid.”
With a goal and an assist in a 4-4 game against Ridge on Dec. 7, Kurtas eclipsed 100-career points at Hillsborough. Kurtas has been on fire since then amassing 20 goals and 21 assists in 11 games this past month to pace all scorers in the Skyland Conference. Highlights for Kurtas, who has four hat tricks this season, include two six-point nights against Kinnelon and Brick Memorial Dec. 5 and Dec. 8, respectively.
What’s better than one Franzoni? How about two? For the first time in the Devils’ High School Hockey Honors Program, two players were selected as area players of the month. Manasquan-Point Pleasant Beach has yet to taste defeat this season and a lot of that has to do with junior twins Mike and Matt Franzoni. Collectively, the forwards have combined for 24 goals and 37 points for Manasquan, which remains unbeaten at 7-0. Mike leads the team in goals (13) and points (20) with Matt right behind in him in both categories.
Rubinshteyn led New Jersey Girls ice hockey, state-wide, with 20 goals and 30 points this past month for Summit. The freshman, who was also named HockeyClan’s Girls Ice Hockey State Player of the Month, had five hat tricks in November-December including a four-goal, six point game against Westfield on Dec. 11.
Each month, December through March, eight student-athletes from throughout the state will be selected as recipients of the award. Public A, Public B, Public C 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.
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 27th season the Devils honor high school student-athletes.
Written by John Christian Hageny / @JCCSPORTS
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