Wings dominate NAHL Central Division awards

Jun 8, 2021

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its All-Division teams and honors for the 2020-21 season — and the Aberdeen Wings received several of those accolades, including the coveted Central Division Organization of the Year.

Four players — Clayton Cosentino, Payton Matsui, Nico deVita and Jake Sibell — were named to the All-Central Division team.

All-Central Division Team

Forward: Brett Chorske, St. Cloud Norsemen

Forward: Clayton Cosentino, Aberdeen Wings

Forward: Payton Matsui, Aberdeen Wings

Defense: Nico deVita, Aberdeen Wings

Defense: Grant Docter, Minnesota Wilderness

Goalie: Jake Sibell, Aberdeen Wings

During the 2020-21 regular season, Matsui was the league’s top points earner — his 27 goals put him in third overall in the league, while his 38 assists was good for fourth overall, and he combined for a league-leading 65 points in 56 games played. He also led the league with the most game-winning goals (10) — setting a Wings single season record in the process — and was tied for most power play goals (10), plus he finished behind deVita for the league’s best +/- score, racking up an incredible 44 points.

Matsui was also named the Central Division’s Forward of the Year.

Wings captain Cosentino also had a banner year for the Wings. He notched twelve goals and an impressive 48 assists, which set an all-time franchise record, and was also good for the league’s top spot in the assist column. Overall, he grabbed 60 total points in 56 games played, good for fourth overall in the NAHL. He also tied for first with 16 power play assists and recorded the league’s sixth best +/- score of 37.

Cosentino was also honored with the Central Division’s Community Service Award.

Defenseman deVita was a force to be reckoned with all season. He finished the regular season with eight goals and 31 assists, tallying 39 total points, good for second overall among defensemen. His 31 assists was also second overall in the league among defensemen, only sitting behind fellow Wings defenseman Trevor Russell. deVita posted the league’s top +/- score, an impressive 49. That contributed to his all-time Wings franchise record with an overall +/- score of 67.

Goaltender Sibell turned heads everywhere he went, denying goals and demolishing records as the season progressed. He finished the season as the league’s top goalie, posting an incredible 1.19 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage, setting NAHL records in both categories. He also tied the NAHL record for most shutouts in a season, tallying eleven. Sibell faced 1,161 shots in 47 games played and only allowed 56 goals, which led to his 43 wins on the season, also an NAHL record.

Because of this, Sibell was also named the Central Division’s Most Valuable Player and Goaltender of the Year.

“To be recognized by your partners throughout the league is a huge honor,” Wings head coach and general manager Scott Langer said. “The players that made the All-Central 1st Team are all well-deserving and have put in a lot of work to achieve those accolades.”

Langer himself received the Central Division’s Coach and General Manager of the Year. Earlier in the season, he broke the NAHL’s all-time record for most wins when he earned his 603rd win. His Wings helped him demolish that record this year, and he know boasts 642 total wins in his career.

Part of that success came from a record-breaking season, in which the Wings set NAHL records for most wins in a season and most total points. In a shortened season, where the Wings only played 56 games as opposed to the usual 60, the Wings won 51 of those games, boasting a 51-4-0-1 record, and claiming a record 103 points.

With numerous records for the coach and players, the Aberdeen Wings have been named the Central Division’s Organization of the Year.

“The Odde family and the entire Wings staff have been honored for working each and every day to make this franchise one of the top in the league,” Langer said. “It is a great honor to be recognized as the top organization in the Central Division for the 2020-21 season.”

The remainder of the NAHL 2020-21 season awards, including the All-NAHL Teams, Most Valuable Player, Forward of the Year, Defenseman of the Year, Vaughn Goaltender of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, General Manager of the Year, Executive of the Year and Organization of the Year, along with the Academic Achievement Award, Leadership Award and Community Service Award, will be all be announced later in the week.