By @MichaelCaples –
The NAHL has announced its first batch of monthly award winners, and two Michigan names received some recognition.
River Rouge native Jason Brancheau was named the league’s forward of the month for September, while Sterling Heights native Brenden Datema earned defenseman of the month honors.
Brancheau, a Ferris State commit, led the NAHL in scoring in September en route to the Bauer NAHL Forward of the Month selection. The Wyandotte and Belle Tire product logged 13 points in seven games, helping his Amarillo Bulls to a 6-1-0 record in the process.
“Jason’s talent was evident from day one last season,” said Amarillo head coach Rocky Russo in a league release. “His skating and puck skill are elite, which is why he received his NCAA commitment to Ferris State so early. Jason’s compete level and ability to play with high intensity on a consistent basis is what has taken his game to the next level. The way he thinks the game and sees the ice, allows him to make good decisions with the puck and at times slow the game down. He finished the last games of the 2017-18 season playing on a line with Alex Peterson and Brett Abdelnour, allowing them to create some chemistry, which has led to their hot start this season season. Jason has also come back to Amarillo more prepared to be a leader and a mentor for some of our first year players. He takes that responsibility seriously and has done a great job of it to this point.”
Datema found similar success skating alongside Brancheau down in Texas. The Bulls blue liner led the league in scoring by a defenseman, racking up 11 points in seven games. A Honeybaked, Victory Honda and Belle Tire alum, Datema has already surpassed last season’s points total.
“We are very proud of Brenden for the way he has started the season,” Russo said. “He took his summer very seriously, adding muscle and improving his game in a number of ways. He returned to Amarillo prepared to be a leader and play in all situations and his results are currently reflecting that effort. Brenden is a very good skater with good offensive instincts and an NHL quality shot. He has been a calming presence in our defensive zone and his stick and physical play have helped us to succeed on the penalty kill. We look forward to watching Brenden continue to grow and develop this season and in the future.”