Half-dozen players with California connections honored with monthly NCDC, USPHL awards
The USPHL and NCDC have announced their monthly awards for January, with six players with California ties bringing home the honors.
Pueblo Bulls forward Hunter Hayes and Ogden Mustangs forward Dimitri Voyatzis are NCDC Mountain Division Forwards of the Month, while Bakersfield Roughnecks blueliner Emile Rodrigue is the Pacific Premier Division Defenseman of the Month, Charlotte Rush forward Yianni Tsatsoulis is the Southeast Elite Division Forward of the Month, and Northern Cyclones forward Josh Bruno and Islanders Hockey Club forward Eamon Navin are New England Elite Division Forwards of the Month.
Hayes, an ‘04 from Lodi, put up the NCDC’s best points-per-game average for the month of January, as his nine goals and four assists for 13 points in eight games worked out to be 1.63 points per game.
Hayes has been a great addition for the Bulls, who are pushing hard to potentially seal up a playoff spot. They entered February in fourth place in the Mountain Division (the last available playoff spot), but are being chased closely by the fifth-place Idaho Falls Spud Kings. Hayes’ output, which includes 25 goals and 14 assists for 39 points in 37 games, will be key for the Bulls down the stretch towards the end of the regular season in mid-March.
Hayes wasn’t just potent on the offense, he also was clutch for the Bulls in the faceoff circle, winning 105 of 164 draws in January for a 64% success rate. He also led the team in shots on goal with 39, which gave him a very impressive shooting percentage of 23 percent.
Back home, Hayes played for the Golden State Elite Eagles and St. Mary’s High School.
The owner of the NCDC’s longest scoring streak this year (16 games, Sept. 23-Nov. 17), the 2003-born Voyatzis was also on fire during January when he put up points in six of the seven games in which he appeared, giving him a 2-7-9 line over the seven games. This has helped the Fountain Valley native put up 44 points in 35 games this year, and Voyatzis is also sixth all-time in Mustangs history counting their time both in the USPHL/NCDC and prior to that.
He has 169 points through 131 games in a Mustangs jersey since 2020. The captain of the Mustangs was also the leader for forward ice time (19:17 per game in January) and his 152 accurate passes also led the team’s forward corps.
During his youth hockey days, Voyatzis played for the Anaheim Jr. Ducks.
Rodrigue, an ‘04 from Saguenay, Quebec, certainly travels a long way to be part of the Roughnecks – more than 3,100 miles from his home – but he makes it worth it every trip.
During the month of January, he put up nine goals and added 10 assists for 19 points in just 10 games for the Roughnecks. That month helped him already bypass his 2022-23 scoring, in which he posted 29 points.
He now has 40 points for this season through 37 games. His 23:18 of ice time per game led the team in January, as did his 54 blocked shots.
Prior to the USPHL, Rodrigue played high school hockey for the Kern County Knights (LAKHSHL).
Tsatsoulis, a 2004 birth year out of San Clemente, had a massive January when he registered five goals and added 11 assists for 16 points in six games, over which the Rush went 4-1-1-0. That 2.33 points per game average was among the best in all of the USPHL Elite.
The second-year Rush veteran has again eclipsed the 40-point mark and now has 41 points in 22 games for the season. His plus-9 rating for January led all Rush forwards.
In California, Tsatsoulis played for the San Diego Saints, Anaheim Jr. Ice Dogs and Santa Margarita Catholic High School.
During the month of January, Bruno, an ‘04 from Glendora, put up 11 goals and eight assists for 19 points. In so doing, he also made Cyclones history to hit the 110-point mark for his career and become the all-time leading scorer in Cyclones Elite history. His 19 points are just part of the 42 points he’s posted for this season over the 24 games he’s played.
Bruno first started playing for the Cyclones in 2021-22 with their USPHL 18U team, where four other of his current teammates also played alongside Bruno that year.
During his youth hockey career, Bruno skated for the Empire Hockey Club, Orange County Hockey Club and Los Angeles Jr. Kings.
An ‘06 out of San Francisco, Navin has been a great find for the Islanders. He joined the IHC out of the Golden State Elite Eagles, a Tier II nationals competitor last season, and recently provided a 2-13-15 line in eight January games as a rookie junior player. That also pulled him up to just shy of a point per game average for the season, as he has registered 35 points in 36 games so far.
He is joined on the IHC by fellow former GSE standout Luca Tartaglia.
Also back home, Navin played for the San Francisco Sabercats high school team.
(February 8, 2024)