USA Junior Hockey Magazine — January 2012
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Northern Cyclones/Washington Jr. Nationals
Steve Stein

Balaban gives nod to SUNY-Plattsburgh

Second-year Northern Cyclones forward Max Balaban (San Diego, Calif.)Recently committed to SUNY-Plattsburgh for the 2012-13 season, becoming the second member of this season’s AJHL team to become a Cardinal.

Balaban has been a tremendous offensive threat to opposing teams and looks to continue that trend as he heads to the Empire State under the guidance of head coach Bob Emery. Plattsburgh, consistently a Division 3 NCAA hockey powerhouse, currently sits in the top five in the Division 3 NCAA rankings.

Balaban will join current teammate Zach Popp and Cyclones alumnus Preston Kaye on next season’s roster.

“This is a great opportunity for me.I couldn’t be more excited and honored to be given the chance to play for Coach Emery and his top notch hockey program,” said Balaban. “I want to thank Coach Flanagan for his daily support in helping me commit to not only a great academic school, but also one with such a great hockey program.

“He has continuously pushed me and helped me become the player I am today by implementing a work ethic that I will continue to have when I’m playing at Plattsburgh,” added Balaban. “Lastly, I want to extend a huge thank you to my family for supporting me and sacrificing so much for me to pursue my dream of playing college hockey.”

Balaban got to this point thanks to a consistent scoring effort during his time with the Cyclones. He scored 77 points through 70 career AJHL games going back to last season.

In 2010-11, he gathered up 44 points in 44 games and is on a better than point per- game average here in 2011-12, with 33 points through 26 games at the halfway mark.

He went through a stretch of eight points in four December games before being shut out by the first-place Walpole Express.

The Northern Cyclones wish Max the best of luck in competing at the NCAA collegiate level for the SUNY-Plattsburgh Cardinals.

Stormy weather: The Cyclones strung together four wins in a row for the month of December, a streak that was broken by the Express on Dec. 18 in a 3-1 Walpole win.

When Charles Bando, a 1992-born Wakefield, Mass., resident, registered an assist, it gave him six points in the last four games. That was the only multiplegame point streak that could be carried over into the New Year.

Washington Jr. Nationals

Dipalma named new coach; Govig supports successor ‘100 percent’

The New Year brought a new coach to the Washington Junior Nationals.

Anthony diPalma replaced troy govig at the helm of the last place team in the 12-team Atlantic Junior Hockey League.The Junior Nationals were 2-27-1-1 at the holiday break, including an 0-11-1-1 record at home. They had been outscored 175-53.

DiPalma began the season as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Junior Flyers of the AJHL. Last year, he coached the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Junior Knights in their inaugural season in the league.

Govig left graciously. He was named the Junior Nationals coach after training camp last season and went 6-32 with a team he inherited.

“I guess I did and didn’t think that this might happen,” he said. “I was hoping to finish out the season, but I understand why the move had to be made. We only had two victories.

“I picked the kids for the team, and we didn’t win. It wasn’t their fault. They’re better than their record, they have great character, and I felt I had great relationships with them. I stand behind them.”

The Junior Nationals came into the season with less high-level junior experience than any team in the AJHL.Only five of 25 players had competed in the Atlantic Junior League or at a similar level.

“There are a lot of growing pains going from Junior B to the AJHL,” Govig said. “With more time playing Junior A hockey, we would have had a different team.”

Govig said he will complete his office commitments like helping Junior Nationals players who are being recruited by colleges.

One of those players is forward Melvin nichols, an assistant captain, who has attracted interest from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Castleton (Vt.) State College in his final junior season.

“I had a great experience working with Coach Govig,” Nichols said. “He’s a good coach. I have nothing but good things to say about him. Even though we were losing when he coached us, I thought we were making great strides. It was tough to hear that he’d been let go.”

Govig said he hopes his former team will finish the season strong with DiPalma behind the bench.

“I support Anthony 100 percent,” he said. “Hopefully with a new philosophy, the kids will win some games. I wish nothing but the best for the organization.”

Nichols has the same aspirations as Govig, for the Nationals.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what our new coach brings to the table, what new stuff we’ll need to learn,” he said. “We’d all like to win a few games.”