Nov 1, 2011 10:46 PM by Lee Douglas
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - Air Force swept the three Atlantic Hockey Association player of the month awards for October. Junior Kyle De Laurell was named the Player of the Month, senior Stephen Caple was named the Goalie of the Month and freshman Cole Gunner was named the Rookie of the Month.
De Laurell, a winger from Mission Viejo, Calif., leads Air Force with six goals and is second with 10 points, all in the month of October. He had two assists in the season opener vs. third-ranked North Dakota, Oct. 7. The junior had two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to beat Niagara, Oct. 14, and then added four points (2-2-4) in the Alabama-Huntsville series, Oct. 21-22. Against Canisius on Oct. 29, he scored a goal in the 3-3 overtime tie with the Golden Griffins. De Laurell has scored a point in five straight games and six of seven this season. He has scored a goal in four of the last five. De Laurell ranks 16th in the nation in goals per game with 0.86, is tied for the league lead with six goals and is second with 10 points.
Caple, from Rice Lake, Wisc., posted a record of 3-0-2 in five starts in October. In his first series, he stopped 39 of 43 shots as AFA beat Niagara and Robert Morris, Oct. 14-16. The senior tallied a career high 28 saves in the 1-1 overtime tie with Alabama-Huntsville, Oct. 22. Caple leads the AHA with a 1.93 goals-against average and a .800 winning percentage. He ranks fifth in the AHA with a .915 saves percentage. Caple has started more games this month (five) than in his entire career entering this month (three).
Gunner, a winger from Richfield, Minn., leads Air Force with 11 points this season, all in the month of October. The freshman is tied for sixth in nation in assists with 1.29 per game and is second in the nation in points by a freshman with 11 He leads the AHA with nine assists and 11 points. In his first career game, he had two assists against third-ranked North Dakota. Two games later, he tied his career high with two assists in the win over Niagara. The next night, he had an assist in the win over Robert Morris and earned his first AHA Rookie of the Week award on Oct. 17. In the series against Alabama-Huntsville, he recorded four points (2-2-4) and was named the AHA Rookie of the Week for the second time. His first career goal was the game-tying goal vs. UAH in a 1-1 overtime tie in the first game. In the 3-3 overtime with Canisius on Oct. 29, he had two assists. Gunner has scored in five straight games and six of seven this season.
Air Force, 3-2-2 overall and 2-0-1 and in first place in the AHA, hosts a two-game league series against Sacred Heart on Friday-Saturday, Nov. 4-5. The faceoff on Friday is at 7:05 p.m. while the Saturday game starts at 7:35 p.m.