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4 alums take NCAA monthly awards

Four BCHL alums earned February monthly awards in the NCAA this week. St. Cloud State forward and former Penticton Vee Patrick Newell took home the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Player of the Month award, Coquitlam Express alum Adam Rockwood earned Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Forward of the Month for Northern Michigan, Bentley goalie and former Chilliwack Chief Aidan Pelino won Atlantic Hockey’s Goalie of the Month and Victoria Grizzlies grad and Cornell keeper Matthew Galajda was named ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Month.

Newell had 10 points in six games in February and led the Huskies to a 5-0-1 record. The 23-year-old senior had three multi-point outings in the month and tied for the fourth-most February goals in the conference with four and the second-most assists with six. On the season, Newell leads St. Cloud State with 16 goals and 35 points, while chipping in 19 assists to go with his team-best +25 plus/minus. In his one and only season in the BCHL in 2014-15, Newell totaled 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists) in 56 regular-season games for the Vees and added another 14 points in the playoffs as Penticton went on to win the Fred Page Cup and appeared in the RBC Cup National Championship tournament.

Rockwood led the WCHA in points with 11 and assists with 10 in February, seven of which came with the man advantage. The senior forward posted a career-high equaling four assists in the Wildcats’ win over Lake Superior State on Feb. 23 to complete a two-game sweep of the Lakers. The Coquitlam native played two full seasons for his hometown Express from 2012 to 2014, putting up 100 points (19 goals, 81 assists) in 107 regular-season games. His best season came in 2013-14 when he finished fifth in BCHL scoring with 74 points and added another 20 in 19 playoff games, leading Coquitlam to the league championship.

Pelino went 5-2-1 in February with a 2.35 goals-against-average and a .908 save percentage. He helped Bentley to wins in the first five games of the month as part of an eight-game winning streak and a 12-game unbeaten streak, all of which helped elevate Bentley into the number-two seed in Atlantic Hockey. The junior netminder from Oakville, Ont. had the third-best goals-against average and save percentage in the conference in the month. Pelino played two seasons in Chilliwack from 2014 to 2016 and finished with a record of 40-23-3, a goals-against average of 2.84 and a save percentage of .902 with two shutouts. His BCHL highlight was the 2015-16 playoffs where he led the Chiefs all the way to the league finals, posting a 2.37 goals-against and a .919 save percentage.

Galajda led ECAC Hockey with a 1.61 goals-against average in February and ended the month with a save percentage of .929. He stopped 170 of 183 shots in the month and posted a 4-2-2 record in his eight starts. He also went 3-0 against nationally-ranked opponents, including a pair of shutouts against Union and Clarkson. Galajda, who hails from Aurora, Ont., played in 83 games over two seasons in Victoria, posting a 43-32-2 record,  a .918 save percentage and a goals-against average of 2.52 with three shutouts.