AMARILLO, TX – After wrapping up their first season under Head Coach Rocky Russo, the Amarillo Bulls have plenty to be proud of as they enter the off-season. Today, the Bulls staff handed out hard earned hardware to both offensive and defensive standouts from this season.
- Most Improved Player/Co- Defensive Forward- Brett Abdelnour
The Macomb, Michigan, native finished the season with 20 points in 55 games, including seven goals and 13 assists and Coach Russo is happy to have him back for the 2018-2019 season.
“Brett has improved tremendously throughout the year. His work ethic and daily desire to improve has served him well. He was a very important penalty killer for us as well as a reliable center in all 3 zones. He always played the game from a defense first perspective and was able to be trusted in big situations. I am very excited to see how well he performs for us next season.”
Defensive Defenseman- Marcus Chorney
Chorney, a Quinnipiac University commit, answered the bell this season. He appeared in 60 games for the Bulls and contributed 29 points, including seven goals and 22 assists.
“Marcus was our most consistent defensive D all season long. He was our best penalty killer and shot blocking defender. He was always willing to sacrifice his body to make a play and help turn the momentum for our team. He was an excellent leader for us and will be a tremendous addition to the Quinnipiac Defense Core.”
Offensive Defenseman and Co-MVP- Brendon Michalian
Michaelian, The Robert Morris University Commit, led the Bulls in points this season. He finished with five goals and 29 assists over the course of 59 games.
“Brendon was a tremendous part of our team this season. His calming presence on the Powerplay and his ability to create offense was as good as I saw in the league. He was a fantastic captain and a great example of what it took to be successful for our younger players,” said Coach Russo. “Coach Schooley and his staff are getting a player that can make an immediate impact on the Robert Morris program next fall.”
Co-MVP- Jason Grande
Grande was a nightmare for opposing offenses this season. The rookie Pennsylvania native finished the year with 0.911 save percentage and is one of the biggest pieces returning to the 2018-2019 roster.
“Jason most certainly earned this award this season. He was a workhorse for us, appearing in 45 of our 60 games. That is a tall task for any rookie goalie, but he did a tremendous job with it. He was a calming presence for our group and certainly kept us in games when we weren’t playing well. I have no doubt that Jason will be one of, if not the best goaltender in the NAHL next season and will have many options when it comes to his NCAA Division 1 future.”
Offensive Forward, Jason Brancheau
The Bulls have a lot to look forward to next season with the return of this year’s award winner for offensive forward. Brancheau, The 2020 Ferris State commit finished the 2017-2018 season having played in 56 games, scoring nine goals and contributing 20 assists and will be a welcomed returner in the ’18-’19 season.
“Jason had a very good season for a first-year player in the NAHL. His offensive ability is very special, he sees the ice extremely well, has elite skating ability, and tremendous patience with the puck. It took him a few months to get acclimated to junior hockey but once he did he was dangerous every time he was on the ice. We expect him to be a huge piece to our success next season and a dynamic player for Ferris State the year after.”
Co-Defensive Forward- Austin O’Rourke
O’Rourke joined the team mid-season and made an immediate impact for the Amarillo Bulls. Not only was he named a Co-Captain, but his experience and leadership helped this young team learn what it takes to win.
“Austin was incredibly impactful on our program during the short time that he was with us. He Almost immediately took on the role of Co-Captain and helped to grow the culture and accountability of our program. Offensively he was a big part of winning some very important games, but more importantly he helped to create an environment of defensive pride with our group. He was a reliable piece to our penalty kill and played all 3 forward positions during his time here. I have no doubt that he will make a huge impact on the UMass-Lowell hockey team, in many different facets.”
Coaches Award- Stephen Rex
The 5’8” Rex was a tone setter for the Bulls this season. Not just because of his abilities on the ice, but his attitude and drive in all aspects of the game are what makes him a special player.
“Stephen won the coaches award simply for being Stephen. His work ethic and compete level set the standard every single day of this past season. He showed up to the rink and gave his very best effort regardless of the circumstances of the day. He always had a smile on his face, was happy to accept coaching and worked as hard as he could in every situation. We are extremely hopeful that Stephen will return next season because not only do we expect him to be a big impact player for us, we also expect him to be a key piece to our leadership group.”
The Amarillo Bulls enter the off-season with some big holes to fill, but with a talented group returning, Coach Russo has plenty to look forward to not just next season but for years to come.
2018-2019 Season Tickets are now on sale! Call or come by the Bulls office to get your new season tickets or renew your seats from last season. We can even set up an interest free payment plan that will work best for you.
Being a Bulls season ticket holder isn’t only having your favorite seat at EVERY game, but you get a ton of other perks including discounts at sponsor locations around town, discounted special Bulls events, VIP skate with the team, bring-a-friend vouchers, a ticket redemption program and MUCH more!
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