Jake Smith Named Howies Hockey Tape ECHL Rookie of the Month
After becoming the first ECHL Player of the Week in Iowa Heartlanders hockey history, forward Jake Smith kept the accolades going, earning honors as the Howies Hockey Tape ECHL Rookie of the Month for January.
It was a spectacular month for Smith, who scored 10 goals and added 10 assists in 13 games. Smith scored at least one point in 11 of the 13 games and set a single-game high on January 9 when he recorded his first professional hat trick as part of a five-point performance. The five points is also a team record.
Smith got off to a fast start, scoring the only goal the team produced in a 4-1 loss to the Indy Fuel on January 2. That helped cut a 2-0 deficit in half at the time of the tally.
On January 7, the Heartlanders began a three-game series with the Rapid City Rush and Smith was held off the scoresheet in the first contest, but he caught fire from there, scoring a goal and added an assist the next night. In the final contest of the series, the Iowa forward scored three goals and added two assists in a 9-1 victory. He recorded a goal in each period of the contest, including scoring his second power-play goal of the month.
Iowa then welcomed the Kansas City Monarchs to town and looked like they were going to be blown out when they fell behind 3-0 in the first period. However, Smith led a feverish comeback, scoring two goals and adding an assist in the second as the team forced overtime before falling. However, it gave the Heartlanders a point.
The team then traveled to Indy where they lost to the Fuel in overtime. However, Smith helped the team earn another point, adding a goal and an assist. He then led the Heartlanders to a 2-1 victory over Indy a night later, scoring the game-winner with 68 seconds left in the contest.
On January 21, Iowa lost to Toledo, 4-3. Smith added an assist in the game. The Heartlanders then moved on to Wheeling where they beat the Nailers in both contests. Smith scored the opening goal in Friday night’s victory and added an assist to give Iowa a 2-0 lead coming out of the first period. The following night he added an assist in a 2-1 victory over the Nailers.
On January 26, Smith added an assist in a 5-3 victory over Indy. He added an assist two nights later in a 5-2 loss the Kalamazoo. The Wings then defeated Iowa the following night, 3-2. That was just the second contest of the month were Smith did not record a point.
Jake Smith becomes the first player in team history to earn Rookie of the Month honors. In 26 games, Smith has recorded 22 points. He now has four power-play goals and is averaging 0.85 points per game.
By Robert Pannier