Four Americans among NA3HL award winners for 2016-17 season
By Kevin Scott
FRISCO, TX., April 7, 2017 — The Great Falls Americans, who finished their postseason run in the playoffs in March, had four individual players receive North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) honors for the 2016-17 season.
Great Falls finished the season with a 41-5-3-3 record including a two-game sweep in the Frontier Divisional Semi-Finals over the Gillette Wild before falling to the regular season champion Yellowstone Quake in the Frontier Divisional Finals in three games. Both series were a best-of-three format.
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 Awards and the All-Division teams. The coaches and the general managers voted on the awards based on performance during the 2016-17 season.
The league awards were also based on performance and voted on by the coaches and general managers in the league including Most Valuable Player (MVP), Forward of the Year, Defenseman of the Year, Goaltender of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, General Manager of the Year and Organization of the Year. Other awards that were recognized this year were the All-NA3HL 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and All-Rookie teams, Community Service and Leadership Academic Award winners.
Danny O’Donnell, the 6’2” defenseman from Ventura, California was the Frontier Division and the NA3HL Defenseman of the Year. The 20-year-old participated in the Top Prospects Tournament for the White Team (Frontier/West Division) in February in Plymouth, Michigan and earned three assists in three games. O’Donnell led the league defenseman with the most points (66) and scored 20 goals during the regular season. He assisted with 46 points and a +73-overall performance in 47 games played. Danny was also named to the All-Frontier Division squad and All-NA3HL First Team.
Nick Nast was awarded the 2016-17 Goaltender of the Year in the NA3HL’s Frontier Division and was one of the six members of the All-Frontier Division Team. Nast was excellent in the net for coach Jeff Heimel’s team accumulating a 20-3-0-1-1 record along with 733 regular season saves and a save percentage of 0.934. He was victorious in two games for the White Team and had 41 saves at the 2017 Top Prospects Tournament hosted by Plymouth, Michigan. The Oxnard, California product won three of the five games (3-1-0-1) he competed in including two straight wins against the Gillette (WY) Wild in the Semi-final round of the Frontier Division playoffs and a win in the Frontier Finals against the Yellowstone (WY) Quake. The five postseason appearances resulted in 164 saves.
Tanner Congdon, last season’s NA3HL and Frontier Division Rookie of the Year, was named to the 2016-17 All-Frontier Division team as a forward. The Americans team leader in goals (41) and points scored (82) in the regular season also provided six more goals in the playoff contests against Gillette and Yellowstone. Congdon contributed 41 regular season assists and four more in the playoffs. The Alaska native was a key contributor for the Americans playing in all 52 games.
Kody Thomas, the 5’9” forward from Boise, Idaho was the recipient of the Frontier Division’s Academic Achievement Award for the 2016-17 season for his outstanding academic success. In 44 games, he scored seven goals and racked up 13 assists. He also saw playing time in all five playoff contests for Great Falls.