AUSTIN, MN – The NAHL handed down its divisional award winners on Tuesday, and the Bruins had two players and their head coach recognized. Forward Travis Kothenbeutel was selected to the All-Central Division First Team as well as named Central Division Forward of the Year and Most Valuable Player. Alex Schilling was also selected to the All-Division First Team and named Central Division Goaltender of the Year. Head coach Steve Howard was named Central Division Coach of the Year.
Kothenbeutel broke several Bruins career milestones this season, including all three major offensive categories (points, goals, and assists). He broke the points record with number 120 on January 10th, 2018 in a 5-4 overtime win at Brookings. Kothenbeutel finished his third and final NAHL regular season with 24 goals and 43 assists, coming in just two points shy of the single-season franchise record. The ’97-born forward was also 2nd in the NAHL in points and assists. Kothenbeutel is committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA, DI) for next season.
Schilling, also a ’97-birthyear, played the 3rd most minutes of any NAHL goaltender (2454) despite sharing time with Mads Sogaard for much of the season. His goals-against average (2.35) finished in the top 10, and he was fourth in the league in wins (22), finishing the regular season with four victories in a row. Schilling committed to the Air Force Academy (NCAA, DI) just before the calendar turned to 2018.
Steve Howard – in his first year at the helm of the Bruins, has led the team to its sixth Central Division Finals appearance in eight seasons of existence. Especially impressive was the nine-win improvement from 2016-17, when the team missed the postseason entirely. Joining the Bruins after three years as an assistant for the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks, Howard was a bounce away from being the head coach of the Central at the Top Prospects Tournament, before Aberdeen’s OT win over Austin on February 3rd made him an assistant instead. Howard becomes the first head coach in Austin Bruins history to win Central Division Coach of the Year.
In the NAHL rookie awards announcement Monday, Bruins forward Andy Willis was named to the All-NAHL Rookie Second Team as well as the Central Division All-Rookie Team. The NAHL will announce its league-wide awards on Wednesday.
Click HERE for the full listing of Divisional Awards.