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Omaha's Ryan Massa Named NCHC Player of the Month; Nick Schmaltz Tabbed as Top Rookie

The NCHC announced on Tuesday that Nebraska Omaha goalie Ryan Massa was the NCHC's player of the month for the month of October. North Dakota freshman forward was named the conference's rookie of the month.

It's a well-deserved honor for Massa. The Mavericks are off to a surprising 4-1-1 start on the season, thanks in large part to Massa's 1.38 goals against average and .952 save percentage.

Here's the NCHC's release on the award winners:

NCHC OCTOBER PLAYER OF THE MONTH

Ryan Massa

Omaha

Senior Goaltender

Littleton, Colo.

Massa opened his senior campaign in strong fashion, going undefeated between the pipes in October for the Mavericks with a 3-0-1 record, starting four of the team’s five games in the month. He compiled a 1.47 goals-against average during the month and posted a .946 save percentage, both of which were tops among NCHC netminders in October, as was his .875 win percentage during the month. Massa’s 1.47 GAA ranked eighth nationally in October, while his save percentage ranked 12th in the NCAA over the first month of the season.

In UNO’s season opener Oct. 10, Massa backstopped the Mavericks to a 5-3 win over No. 11 Minnesota State by making 22 saves. The following weekend he started both games in net and led Omaha to a NCHC-opening sweep at Western Michigan as he was named the game’s first star both nights. On Friday, Oct. 17, Massa compiled 37 saves, the third-highest total of his career, in a 5-2 victory, before pitching his third career shutout the next night when he stopped all 18 shots he faced to pick up a 3-0 UNO win. He garnered NCHC Goaltender of the Week for his showing in Kalamazoo.

After a bye week for Omaha, Massa closed out October with a 29-save effort at No. 18 Cornell Oct. 31 to lead the Mavs to a 1-1 overtime tie. He again was named NCHC Goaltender of the Week after his weekend in Ithaca. Massa allowed two goals or less in each of his final three starts in October, giving up three goals total in those contests. He surrendered just six goals all month in nearly 245 minutes of action, totaling 106 saves on 112 shots.

Massa is now a candidate for Hockey Commissioners’ Association (HCA) National Player of the Month for October, which will be announced on Wednesday. Other nominees for NCHC Player of the Month included Colorado College junior forward Cody Bradley, St. Cloud State junior forward Jonny Brodzinski, Miami junior forward Sean Kuraly, North Dakota sophomore defenseman Paul LaDue and Minnesota Duluth sophomore forward Dominic Toninato.

NCHC OCTOBER ROOKIE OF THE MONTH

Nick Schmaltz

North Dakota

Freshman Forward

Verona, Wis.

Schmaltz started his college career in a big way, totaling six points in his first six games at UND, helping North Dakota to a 4-1-1 record in October. During the month he scored one goal, on the power play, and added five assists, including three on the man advantage. He led all NCHC rookies during October with his six points and five assists, while his 1.00 points per game also led all NCHC newcomers. Nationally his six points tied for fourth among freshmen, while his five helpers tied for third during the month.

Schmaltz opened his career with a bang, scoring his first collegiate goal in his debut Oct. 10 against Bemidji State, which came on the power play. The following weekend, Oct. 17-18, he helped UND sweep its NCHC-opening series at Colorado College, compiling three assists against the Tigers. The Chicago Blackhawks draft pick handed out one assist on Friday, Oct. 17, while dishing out two more on the power play in Saturday’s 7-2 win for his first career multi-point game. He also assisted on the game-winning goal Oct. 18.

On the final weekend in October, Schmaltz recorded his second straight two-assist game in a 6-1 win over No. 5 Providence on Oct. 24, when he also had a +1 rating. Schmaltz finished the month with 13 shots on goal, second among NCHC rookies, while he also won 24 of 39 faceoffs for a .615 faceoff clip, tops among NCHC freshmen and sixth in the entire NCHC for October.

Schmaltz is now a candidate for Hockey Commissioners’ Association (HCA) National Rookie of the Month for October, which will be announced on Wednesday. Other nominees for NCHC Rookie of the Month included Minnesota Duluth freshman goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo and Colorado College freshman defenseman Teemu Kivihalme.