Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dallas Native & Wenatchee WIld Goaltender Robert Nichols named NAHL Goaltender of the Month for January

Just a couple of weeks after Robert Nichols was named the NAHL Player of the Week on January 17th. The Wild Goaltender who has an impressive 7 Shutouts and a 1.49 Goals Against Average (Both League Leaders) has been named the Goaltender of the Month for January as he has helped the Wild move up to 3rd Place in the NAHL West Division after starting the season.

He hopes to bring the Wild back into the NAHL Robertson Cup Tournament when it comes to Frisco in May after making the League's Championship Event in both 2009 & 2010. The team's biggest year came in 2009 when the Wild got to the Robertson Cup Championship Game before losing to the St. Louis Bandits, 3-2, in OT.

However, one of the big surprises so far this season is that he was left off the NAHL Top Prospects Game that will be taking place later this month in Troy, Michigan.

Prior to his time with the Wenatchee Wild, he spent his time playing AAA Hockey with the Colorado Thunderbirds who currently compete in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League (Same League as the Dallas Stars Elites) who have turned into one of Colorado's Strongest AAA Teams which included their U16AAA Team winning a National Championship back in 2010. 

His time came with the Thunderbirds during the 2010-2011 season where he played for their U18AAA Team and was also called up to play 7 games with the Wild last season and also played a single game for the Bulls while he was looking to assert himself in the North American Hockey League.

He also has won this for the 2nd time the Wenatchee Wild has won the Goaltender of the Month Award. Back in October, Greg Lewis, also took home the League Honors during the early portion of the regular season.

Robert Nichols has been one of the best Goaltenders in the NAHL All Season. Photo Courtesy of both the North American Hockey League & Wenatchee Wild

NAHL Press Release

The North American Hockey League has announced that Wenatchee Wild Goaltender Robert Nichols has been named the Brian's Custom Sports NAHL NAHL Goaltender of the Month for January. Nichols, 19, posted a 4-2-0 record in six games played during the month of January. Nichols (5'11"/180) also posted three shutouts during the month and stopped 129 of a possible 136 shots, which was good for a .949 Save Percentage and a goals against average of just 1.18.

"Our goaltending has been a big factor in our success this year and Robbie has been a big part of that," said Wenatchee Wild Head Coach John Becanic. "He Consistently gives us a chance to win every game and his competitiveness is something that is a huge asset for him. His work ethic and drive is based on one thing, winning. That is something you love to see and what separates good goalies from great goalies."

Nichols posted three shutouts in a span of four starts. He posted Shutouts in back-to-back starts in Dawson Creek back on January 13th and 15th, earning him the NAHL's #1 Star that week. He then posted a shutout in his final start in January back on January 28th, a 2-0 win over the Kenai River Brown Bears. Those three shutouts during the month moved Nichols into a 1st place tie in NAHL Shutouts with seven so far this season.

"I think it's more a reflection of the team then it is an individual," said Nichols. "My teammates allow me the opportunity to be successful on the ice because there is such attention to detail, especially defensively. We don't give up a lot of chances, so I just try and remained focused make sure I am keeping us in the game."

Nichols allowed just three goals in each of his two losses during the month and he hasn't allowed more then four goals in a game this season. It is a big reason why Nichols currently leads the NAHL in both goals against average (1.49) and save percentage (.942) this season. Half of Nichols 14 wins this season have been shutouts and despite splitting time with fellow Wild Goaltender Greg Lewis (who previously won October's NAHL goalie of the month), Nichols has managed to post an impressive 14-3-3 record so far this season.

Becanic made it clear at the start of the season he would platoon both Nichols and Lewis, with each starting every other game. True to his word, that Trent has continued all season long and and one that he plans to continue into the 2012 Robertson Cup Playoffs. "It makes it really easy on a coach when both goalies of Robbie (Nichols) and Greg (Lewis) caliber and both are capable of winning us a game on any given night," said Becanic. "Both push each other to be better every day in games and in practice, and that type of competition and respect among teammates is something that fuels them."

Nichols sees it the same way as his coach, "It is easier on us knowing we only usually play one game per weekend. It allows us to prepare better and have the proper mindset going into each game," said Nichols. "It is also good for the team because they know that either one of us can win the game, so it doesn't matter who starts in goal."

Nichols came to the Wild after playing the last two seasons for the Colorado Thunderbirds Midget Major Tier 1 team. He signed a tender with the Wild last season, which ultimately lead to his spot this season. Prior to playing in Colorado, Nichols was born and grew up playing hockey in Dallas, Texas.

Other Goaltenders nominated were (Alphabetical): Gabe Antoni, Springfield Jr. Blues - Tommy Burke, Bismarck Bobcats - Alex Fons, Fairbanks Ice Dogs - Connor Hellebuyck, Odessa Jackalopes - Tony Kujava, Janesville Jets - Ken MacLean, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings - Jacob Meyers, Alexandria Blizzard - Anthony Stolarz, Corpus Christi Icerays - Mike Taffe, Amarillo Bulls - Peter Traber, Topeka Roadrunners

Previous 2011-2012 Brians NAHL Goaltender of the Month winners - September 2011, Tony Kujava, Janesville Jets - October 2011, Greg Lewis, Wenatchee Wild - November 2011, Jacob Meyers, Alexandria Blizzard - December 2011, Peter Traber, Topeka Roadrunners.

About Brian Custom Sports

The official goaltending Equipment Supplier of the NAHL, Brian's has been a leading Canadian Supplier of custom built goal equipment since 1984. The factory is located in Kingsville, Ontario near the Southern tip of Canada with ready access to supplying the North American Market. As one of the original and remaining custom goal equipment manufacturers Brian's remains committed to continuing to lead the industry with exceptional design and quality. visit Brian's online here


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  3. It was a great month for them. They got to titles. I hope that they can keep it up for the rest of the season.