Austin's Josh Bretner plays the puck behind the goal during the second period last season against Coulee Region at Riverside Arena. -- Herald File Photo
Austin's Josh Bretner plays the puck behind the goal during the second period last season against Coulee Region at Riverside Arena. -- Herald File Photo

Bruins’ Bretner named defenseman of the month, Leclerc named Star of the Week

Published 6:28pm Monday, November 4, 2013

The Austin Bruins already have their second NAHL position player of the month this season and another Bruin was named Central Division Star of the Week Monday.

Josh Bretner of the Austin Bruins was named NAHL Defenseman of the Month for October after Jay Dickman was named Forward of the month for September.

The Bruins’ Star of the week was forward Guillaume Leclerc.

Bretner, a 20-year-old, 5-8, 180-pound defender, not only proved himself from a defensive side of things with a +5 rating during the month, but he also was a key ingredient in the offensive success of the Bruins.

“I think that since I have been in the NAHL, I have learned to play at both ends of the ice,” Bretner said. ” There are some really good players in this league and if you aren’t solid defensively first and foremost, then you aren’t going to last long.”

During October, the Bruins went 5-2 and Brenter recorded eight points (2 goals, 6 assists) in those seven games. The native of North Potomac, Maryland, began the month with a five-assist effort in a weekend sweep of Brookings. He then had a two-goal night in a 4-1 win at Aberdeen on Oct. 18. Bretner’s 15 points to date is third on the Bruins roster in scoring and ranks second among all NAHL defensemen.

“Josh does a great job of creating on the ice. He can move the puck on the ice and break the puck out of the zone and then transition that into offensive chances,” said Bruins head coach Chris Tok. “He has very quick feet and he is very competitive. He is very strong for his size and he is always in good position defensively.”

Bretner’s +12 rating to date is also second best among NAHL defensemen.

“I was an offense first type of player when I came into the league, but I feel I really have evolved into a defenseman who is responsible first on the defensive end,” said Bretner. “We have a great group of players this season. I think we just try and worry about one game at a time. I think if we get caught looking down the road or thinking about the playoffs, it could hurt us. I think we have a team that is capable of some great things. I think long term, I just want to keep improving to the point where I get a NCAA Division I opportunity.”

Leclerc. who is 5-8 and 165 pounds, is one of the early candidates for Rookie of the Year through the first two months of the season. The 17-year-old University of Massachusetts-Lowell recruit has lit the NAHL on fire since his debut in September and this past week was another example of his stellar play as the Bruins swept the Kenai River Brown Bears.

The native of Franois, France, had two goals and an assist and was a +4 in the two wins. All of Leclerc’s scoring came in Friday night’s 5-3 win. He was also a +1 in a 3-1 win on Saturday. For the season, Leclerc is second on the Bruins roster in scoring with 19 points and he ranks second in the entire NAHL with 11 goals to date.

“For his size, he does such a good job of getting in front of the net and he isn’t afraid to go in the tough areas,” said Tok. “Guillaume has a tremendous amount of skill and will be a great NCAA Division I hockey player. He is just scratching the surface with his potential.”


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