ALL-SPHL Teams Include Gillespie and Brierley
By Allan Westerholt | SPHL
The Southern Professional Hockey League on Thursday announced its All-SPHL First and Second Teams as selected by a vote of SPHL coaches, staff, and broadcasters.
2022-2023 All-SPHL First Team F- Justin MacDonald, Knoxville Ice Bears
F- Michael Gillespie, Birmingham Bulls
F- Garrett Milan, Pensacola Ice Flyers
D- Zach Wilkie, Peoria Rivermen D- Rourke Russell, Knoxville Ice Bears (tie)
D- Nick Neville, Peoria Rivermen (tie) G- Trevor Gorsuch, Evansville Thunderbolts
Justin MacDonald of the Knoxville Ice Bears captured the 2022-2023 Kevin Swider Leading Scorer Award, leading the SPHL with 79 points. In addition, MacDonald led the league in goals (34), assists (45 – tied), power play goals (13), and second in power play points (31). The Newmarket, ON native, was also a two-time SPHL Player of the Month award winner in January and February.
Michael Gillespie of the Birmingham Bulls ranked second in the SPHL in goals (27 - tied), while attempting the second most shots on goal (212) and ranked sixth in points (60). Gillespie was also sixth in power play assists (13 – tied)
Garrett Milan of the Pensacola Ice Flyers finished first in the SPHL in power play points (34), power play assists (22), second in points (69), assists (43), power play goals (12), and third in goals (26). The North Vancouver, BC native, became Pensacola’s all-time points leader on February 3, 2023, securing his 207th point as a mem- ber of the Ice Flyers. Zach Wilkie of the Peoria Rivermen led the SPHL with a +42 rating, led all defensemen in points (43), shots on goal (171), and game-winning goals (three) was second in goals (13) and assists (30).
Rourke Russell of the Knoxville Ice Bears led all defensemen in power play points (20) and was third in assists (28). The native of Long Beach, CA also ranked third among all defensemen in points (37) while finishing third among rookies with 104 penalty minutes.
Nick Neville of the Peoria Rivermen led all defensemen in assists (36) and power play assists (19), while ranking second in points (41), and power play points (19). The Bloomfield Hills, MI native, was also fourth among all players in plus/minus with a +25 rating.
Trevor Gorsuch of the Evansville Thunderbolts led SPHL goaltenders in goals against average (2.26) and save percentage (0.936). Gorsuch, a native of St. Charles MO, also finished third in shutouts (two – tied) and fifth in wins (15).
2022-2023 All-SPHL Second Team F- Alec Hagaman, Peoria Rivermen
F- Dean Balsamo, Knoxville Ice Bears
F- Sy Nutkevitch, Huntsville Havoc D- Taylor Brierley, Birmingham Bulls
D- Dominic Procopio, Huntsville Havoc
G- Kevin Resop, Quad City Storm
Alec Hagaman of the Peoria Rivermen led the league in game-winning-goals (seven – tied) and minor penalties (46), was second in the SPHL in shots (212 – tied), while ranking fourth in power play points (23), fifth in points (61 – tied).
Dean Balsamo of the Knoxville Ice Bears was second in the SPHL in goals (27 – tied) and was third in the league in power play points (24) and power play assists (18 – tied). The St. Clair Shores MI, native, also finished third in the SPHL in points (66).
Sy Nutkevitch of the Huntsville Havoc finished first in assists (45 – tied), fourth in points (63), and game-winning goals (four – tied) while finishing fifth in power play as- sists (15 – tied).
Taylor Brierley of the Birmingham Bulls was one of four rookie defensemen to tally a
shorthanded goal while also ranking fifth among all SPHL defensemen in points (30), and assists (25 – tied). A native of East Grand Forks, MN, Brierley ranked fifth among all defensemen in shots on goal (107).
Dominic Procopio of the Huntsville Havoc appeared in 53 games this season, scoring a goal and adding 13 assists while also ranking second overall in plus/minus rating (+29). The Grosse Pointe MI, native, was named the NAHL South Defensemen of the Year in 2018 as a member of the Shreveport Mudbugs.
Kevin Resop of the Quad City Storm led SPHL goaltenders in saves (1,043), and shootout wins (two – tied) while ranking second in minutes (2,144). The St. Petersburg, FL native, also ranked fourth in goals against average (2.69), save percentage (0.916), and shootout save percentage (.800% | 12/15).
The league will announce its Coach of the Year on Friday.