Former Milton Icehawk & North York Ranger Gabe Valenzuela (photo credit – Shawn Muir/OJHL Images), now with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Tigers, was named Atlantic Hockey’s Rookie of the Week for the second time this month.
Valenzuela would join the Milton Icehawks late in the 2011-12 season and although only with the club for a short-time, tasted immediate success, scoring goals in his first two junior games, while recording five goals and thirteen points in the final eleven games of the regular season. .
Following a year away from the rink, the skilled playmaker returned in 2013-14, joining the North York Rangers. Valenzuela picked-up where he had left off, starting the season with a three game point scoring streak and going on to play all 53 regular season games for the club. He finished the regular season with 10 goals and 34 points and then posted another six points in six post-season contests.
It was the 2014-15 season that saw a true breakout from Valenzuela and earned his scholarship to RIT. The diminutive forward’s quick start to the 2014-15 season saw him named the OJHL Gongshow Gear South-West Conference Player-of-the-Month for October after recording 20 points in 11 games during the month. Valenzuela’s efforts this season would earn him a spot on Team OJHL Coffey, tallying one goal in three games at the 2014 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge that was held in Toronto. After finishing the season with 34 goals and 76 points in 53 regular season contests, he was named an OJHL 2nd Team All-Star Forward, the league’s Most Improved Player Award recipient and the runner-up for the Most Gentlemanly Player Award.
Below is the press release from the RIT Athletics website (www.ritathletics.com):
Freshman forward Gabe Valenzuela (Brampton, Ontario/North York Rangers) of the RIT men’s hockey team was named the Atlantic Hockey Conference Rookie of the Week on Tuesday, for the week ending Jan. 24, 2016. It is the second weekly honor in January for Valenzeula.
Valenzuela scored three goals and was plus-2, as the Tigers swept a weekend series at Sacred Heart. On Friday, Valenzuela scored a power-play goal and fired seven shots in a 3-1 win. Sunday, he recorded the first multiple-goal game of his career, tallying RIT’s first two goals and was plus-2 in a 5-3 win. Valenzuela is third on the team in scoring with 17 points on nine goal and eight assists in 24 games played this season.
RIT (12-10-2, 12-5-1 Atlantic Hockey) is back home for a weekend series against Holy Cross. Both Friday and Saturday’s contests start at 7:05 p.m. from the Gene Polisseni Center.