By Kevin Scott
FRISCO, TX., April 25, 2019 — The Great Falls Americans had one player that was honored in the North American 3 Hockey League’s (NA3HL) League Awards for the 2018-19 season.
Great Falls, who completed their fifth season as members of the NA3HL, finished up the regular season in second place in the seven-team Frontier Division with a record of 38-8-0-1 (41-11-0-1 overall). The Americans, under first year coach Greg Sears, won the best-of-three Frontier Division Semi-Final playoff series over the Bozeman Ice Dogs, 2-1 before falling to the Helena Bighorns in the Frontier Divisional Finals in three games.
The coaches and general managers voted on the following divisional award categories based upon performance during the 2018-19 season in each of the six divisions (Central, Coastal, Frontier, Northeast, South and West). The divisional awards included Most Valuable Player (MVP), Forward, Defenseman and Goaltender of the Year, Rookie of the Year along with Community Service, Leadership and Academic Achievement Awards and the All-Division teams.
Great Falls forward Payton McSharry, who played with the Americans the past two seasons, was named to the six-member All-Frontier Division Team for the 2018-19 season. The Alaska native scored 48 goals and dished out 42 assists in 47 regular season appearances while leading Great Falls in points scored with 90 and had an additional eight points (5 goals and 3 assists) in two playoff series against the Bozeman Ice Dogs and the Helena Bighorns.
He was also 11th in the league in points and was one of four Great Falls Americans that suited up for the Frontier Division team at the 2019 Top Prospects Tournament in February in Massachusetts where he scored four goals in three contests.
The league awards were also performance-based and contained many of the same award categories as the divisional awards as voted on by the league head coaches and general managers. The awards included league Most Valuable Player (MVP), Forward, Defenseman and Goaltender of the Year, Rookies of the Year, Coach and General Manager of the Year and Organization of the Year. Other awards that were recognized this year were the All-NA3HL (1st, 2nd, 3rd Teams) and All-Rookie teams (1st and 2nd Teams, Community Service and Leadership Academic Award winners.
In addition to his All-Frontier Division team honors, the 21-year-old junior hockey standout was also named to the All-NA3HL Third Team. In his career with the Great Falls Americans, he amassed 94 goals and 85 assists since the 2016-17 season including two straight playoff appearances. He played in 22 games including the playoffs with the Americans during the 2016-17 season after coming over from the Missoula Junior Bruins in a trade earlier that year.
McSharry hasn’t yet announced his college commitment.
2017-18 and 2018-19 Season Stats: Payton McSharry
Story Courtesy: North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL): NA3HL announces 2018-19 Divisional awards (April 24, 2019)
Story Courtesy: North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL): NA3HL announces 2018-19 season awards (April 25, 2019)