Three Chips named all-NMHL

 

Manistee forwards Keegan Nowaczyk (left) and Yari Lynch (right) closed their prep careers with all-NMHL honors. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate file photo)

Captains are chosen for a reason.

And the three Manistee skaters who had letters sewn onto their shoulders this season fulfilled their roles for the co-op Chippewas.

Captain Yari Lynch and alternate captains Jacob Harrie and Keegan Nowaczyk were all-league selections for the Northern Michigan Hockey League.

Lynch, a Ludington senior, and Harrie, a Ludington sophomore, were selected to the NMHL’s second team while Nowaczyk, a Ludington senior, was an honorable mention.

Nowaczyk led the Chippewas in scoring with 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) and was also named the team’s Hobey Baker Character Award winner.

“He’s just that quiet leader that lets his play speak for itself,” said Manistee coach Jeff Patulski. “A high, high, high quality kid.”

Lynch finished with 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) in 21 games after missing a stretch with a wrist injury.

“He was our leader from top to bottom,” Patulski said. “Minus his injury, he had a good season and carried the team in a lot of cases just from pure leadership. We are going to miss him a ton.”

Harrie had a standout season in his first for the Chippewas and led the team in goals (13) while finishing third in points (18).

“As a sophomore, he brought an awful lot to the varsity team,” Patulski said. “We skated him as both a center and a wing — a little bit outside his comfort zone working as a center — and he did a super-great job. We’re looking for his skill, his talent and his leadership to be back next year. He’ll bring lots to the team next year and be a go-to guy for sure.”

The Chippewas face a tough task of rebuilding after losing 10 players to graduation. Replacing Nowaczyk and Lynch — the top two in points on a team that struggled offensively — doesn’t make it any easier.

Patulski said there will be a skate next month to get a feel for next season’s team and he would prefer to start the following campaign better than the last one, as the Chippewas scuffled before some strong performances late to finish 6-20.

“We are very pleased with the last month of play,” he said. “We would have liked to see that in January, but we’re very pleased how they wound up the year.”

 

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