WICHITA FALLS, Texas – Defenseman Cam Knight and forward Austin Beaulieu of the Wichita Falls Wildcats were both named to the North American Hockey League’s 2014-15 All-Rookie Teams as voted upon by the league’s head coaches, it was announced Wednesday.
Knight was selected to the 2014-15 All-NAHL Rookie First Team, while Beaulieu was tabbed for the 2014-15 All-NAHL Rookie Second Team; both skaters were named to the 2014-15 South Division All-Rookie Team.
“This is well-deserved recognition for both Cam and Austin,” Wildcats Head Coach John LaFontaine said. “Most players need an adjustment period when stepping up to the junior game, but we were fortunate to have a group of first-year players who acclimated quickly to our league. Cam and Austin established themselves early in the season and improved on that level of play throughout the year, which speaks to their character both on and off the ice.”
For Knight, the All-NAHL Rookie First Team honor comes after a season in which he appeared in all 60 games for the Wildcats. The North Reading, Mass., native announced his arrival in the NAHL by averaging a point-per-game throughout September, for which he was named the runner-up in the Defenseman of the Month voting.
The Alabama Huntsville-commit finished the campaign with 33 points on nine goals and 24 assists while skating in all situations for the red-and-black. The 33 points established a new franchise record for points in a single season by a first-year defenseman, and also helped Wichita Falls set a new team record for most cumulative points by a defensive corps in a single season (179).
Beaulieu’s selection to the All-NAHL Rookie Second Team follows a year in which he become an integral piece of a Wildcats attack that lead the league in goals scored. After posting one point in his first three contests, Beaulieu burst onto the scene with a nine-point flourish over his next five games, including five points (four goals, one assist) in a weekend sweep of the Topeka RoadRunners at the end of September which earned him South Division Star of the Week honors.
The Florida-born Beaulieu, who skated for the NAHL Selects squad at the league’s Top Prospects Tournament in February, ended the season with 22 goals and 33 assists for 55 points, good for second on the team in scoring while also standing as the second-highest point total by a first-year skater in franchise history.
While he did not finish atop the team leaderboard in points, it is fair to say that Beaulieu, who is also committed to Alabama Huntsville, was one of the team’s most important forwards; Wichita Falls posted a 31-3-3 record in games in which he had at least one point, as opposed to an 8-12-3 mark when Beaulieu was held off the scoresheet.
Knight and Beaulieu are the first Wildcats to receive All-Rookie recognition since Evan Cowley was named to the All-NAHL Rookie First team in 2012-13.
Only NAHL players who had not played in a junior league prior to the 2014-15 season, or entered the season having played less than 10 NAHL regular-season games, were eligible for All-Rookie recognition and honors.
Stay updated on the latest team news and notes by connecting with the Wildcats on Facebook (WFWildcats), Twitter (@WFWildcats), Instagram (WFWildcats) and on YouTube (Wichita Falls Wildcats).