NCDC 2023-24 Mountain Division Players Of The Month: February 2024 

By Joshua Boyd / 


Selection Process: The league media office sends statistical leaders to divisional coaches for review and coaches either approve or challenge the nominations. 


Forward: Makar Klochkov, Utah Outliers 

Klochkov (‘04/Moskva, Russia) is the Outliers’ goal leader, after scoring six goals and 11 assists for 17 points in nine games over the month of February. He rose up to 20 goals and 52 points on the season, the latter mark ranking him in a tie for ninth league-wide. Klochkov was also the Outliers’ plus-minus leader in February with a +10, and he also drove opponents into the penalty box – he drew five penalties for 10 opposition minutes versus just two of his own. He won 46 of 83 faceoffs last month also, for a 55 percent success rate. 


Forward: Garrett Joss, Utah Outliers  

Joss (‘04/Whitby, Ont.) is a second-year junior player who, like Klochkov, has put the team on his back and recently helped push them to the top of the Mountain Division amid a season-long race with their historic rivals the Ogden Mustangs. He put up three goals and 10 assists for 13 points in nine games of February. He is also on a seven-game, 13-point scoring streak that he’s carried into March to rise to 59 points, good for third in the entire NCDC.


Forward: Hunter Hayes, Pueblo Bulls

Hayes (‘04/Lodi, Calif.) just never stops getting the job done for his team as they push hard to win a playoff spot in an ongoing duel with the Idaho Falls Spud Kings as we get into the low single digits in games remaining. Hayes has a current scoring streak of 8-8-16 in his last eight games, including his first couple in March. During February, the scope of this award, he put up 7-6-13 in eight games for a 1.63 points per game average. He started his current scoring streak on Feb. 9. He is also dynamite in the circle for the Bulls, winning 106 of 172 draws last month for a 62 percent success rate. 


Defense: D.J. MacLeish, Idaho Falls Spud Kings 

MacLeish (‘05/Troy, Mich.) scored three goals and six assists for nine points in the Spud Kings’ 10 February games. As mentioned above, the Spud Kings are well aware of what is at stake, trying to chase down their first NCDC playoff berth. They’re in an almost game-to-game sparring match for the fourth and final playoff spot with the Pueblo Bulls. At the same time, they remain in contention for third place, so they’re battling to move up against the Provo Predators. MacLeish has been one of the most productive blueliners on the offensive side all season, ranking third in scoring among defensemen with 41 points in 45 games. He’s also the No. 1 goal-scorer among defensemen, with 16. 

He plays five minutes more per game on average than his closest teammate, averaging 25:17, and during February, he also led the Spud Kings in plus-minus (+6), hits (12) and blocked shots (23) and he was second in defensive takeaways (98). 


Defense:  Henri Mustonen, Ogden Mustangs

Mustonen (‘04/Oulu, Finland) was a great presence on both ends of the ice through February for the Mustangs, putting up seven assists in six games. He was also a +2, made 27 takeaways and also fired 20 shots on goal in his six appearances. Mustonen is a great example of #USPHLAdvancement In Action, as he made the jump to the NCDC from the USPHL Premier last year with the Minnesota Squatch. 


Goaltender: Tucker Inabinet, Idaho Falls Spud Kings 

Inabinet (‘03/Phoenix, Ariz.) had another fantastic month as he joins MacLeish and the other Spud Kings in their determination to make the Mountain Division playoffs. He went 6-2-0-0 with a .958 save percentage, stopping 254 of 265 shots. He stopped all 30 shots that he faced on Feb. 9 against Utah, one game before stopping 45 of 46 against Ogden – and then he stopped 34 of 35 against Provo for three outstanding performances in a row. In 10 games between Jan. 27 and March 1, he only allowed more than one goal twice.


Top Performers Of The Week (Feb. 22-29)

Forward: Ty Walker, Idaho Falls Spud Kings, 3GP 2G 2A 4PTS 

Defense: Tyler Lafferty, Ogden Mustangs, 3GP 0G 3A 3PTS 

Goaltender: Mathis Thirion, Rock Springs Grizzlies – 1-1, 71 saves on 75 shots, 1.92 GAA, .947 save %

Rookie*: Easton Edwards, Idaho Falls Spud Kings, 2GP 2G 2A 4PTS 

* = ’04 or younger/10 or fewer Tier II games in prior seasons