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NAHL announces Easton Divisional Stars of the Week

January 27, 2014

(from top left to bottom right): Austin Bruins forward Luke Dietsch, Minnesota Wilderness goalie Frank Oplinger, Michigan Warriors forward Colin Larkin and Amarillo Bulls defenseman Brendan Vetter are honored.

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton for the week ending January 26, 2014.  The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2013-14 regular season that honors the top performing players in each of the four NAHL divisions. Only players that are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the Divisional Players of the Week award.

Central Division Star of the Week: Luke Dietsch, forward, Austin Bruins

It was two more wins and a weekend home-and-home sweep for the Austin Bruins this past weekend against the Brookings Blizzard and forward Luke Dietsch, 19, was at the forefront. The native of St. Paul, Minnesota had four points in the two wins as the Bruins increased their Central Division lead to five points. On Friday, Dietsch (6’1/200) had two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist in a 5-4 win. On Saturday, he assisted on the game-tying goal as Austin came from behind in a 3-2 win. For the season, Deitsch is 4th in team scoring with 26 points in 38 games played. “Luke has found a home in the front of the net and he has had success there,” said Bruins head coach Chris Tok. It is not an easy job and not many players are willing to pay the price and make the sacrifices that Luke has to stand in front and take the punishment in order to make sure the team succeeds.

2nd Star: Scott Dornbrock, defenseman, Minot Minotauros

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Chris Diver, defenseman, Bismarck Bobcats – Stanislav Dzakhov, forward, Bismark Bobcats – Jared Goudreau, forward, Brookings Blizzard – Jake Horton, defenseman, Aberdeen Wings – Merrick Madsen, goaltender, Minot Minotauros – Brandon Parker, defenseman, Brookings Blizzard


Midwest Division Star of the Week: Frank Oplinger, goaltender, Minnesota Wilderness

Wilderness goalie Frank Oplinger, 19, has filled in remarkably for injured goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo. The native of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, showed this past week that he can handle the rigors of being a starting goalie in the NAHL by going 3-0 for the Wilderness in their three wins over the Minnesota Magicians. Oplinger (5’10/170) allowed just four goals in the three wins and stopped 75 of a combined 79 shots. On Wednesday, he made 29 saves in a 4-3 win. On Friday, he stopped all 23 shots that came his way for his third shutout of the season in a 3-0 win and on Saturday he made 23 saves in a 4-1 win. “Frank really stepped it up for us and played very well,” said Wilderness head coach Corey Millen. “At this point in time, he gave us the ability to win games each and every night and that’s all we can ask.”

2nd Star: Brett Gervais, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Lonnie Clary, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Thomas Lindstrom, forward, Minnesota Wilderness – Matt Nuttle, defenseman, Wenatchee Wild – Chase Perry, goaltender, Wenatchee Wild


North Division Star of the Week: Colin Larkin, forward, Michigan Warriors

The Michigan Warriors moved into sole possession of 2nd place in the North Division with three wins on the road this past week. Out of the three wins, veteran forward Colin Larkin, 20, scored two of the three game-winners to help the Warriors win in Port Huron and in Johnstown. On Wednesday, Larkin (6’3/192) had the game-winning goal in a 4-1 win in Port Huron. On Saturday, the native of Waterford, Michigan had two goals in a 4-2 win in Johnstown against the Tomahawks. For the season, Larkin is 1st on the Warriors roster in goal with 16 and 2nd in points with 26. “Colin scored some big goals at big times for us, but he has been doing that all year,” said Warriors head coach Moe Mantha. “He has always been very talented offensively, but lately he has been doing a great job in the defensive end, which has translated into even more chances for him on the offensive end and made him a more complete player.”

2nd Star: Stefanos Lekkas, goaltender, Springfield Jr. Blues

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Max Kalter, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues – TJ Stuntz, forward, Michigan Warriors


South Division Star of the Week: Brendan Vetter, defenseman, Amarillo Bulls

Amarillo Bulls defenseman Brendan Vetter, 20, played a big role in helping the Bulls win two of three games against the Odessa Jackalopes this past weekend and had a hand in scoring in all three of the games, totaling five points and a +5 rating in the games. On Friday, Vetter (6’1/190) had an assist in a 3-2 loss. On Saturday, the native of North Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, had a goal and two assists in an 8-0 shuout. On Sunday, Vetter assisted on Amarillo’s first goal in a 4-1 win. With 25 points to date, Vetter is 2nd in the Bulls line-up in points for all defensemen. “Brendan is a solid veteran player and he has come in and shown great leadership,” said Bulls head coach Dennis Williams. “He has improved every game and logs a lot of ice time for us. He has played well at both ends of the ice and on special teams and is the kind of player that will be successful at the next level.”

2nd Star: Ben Myers, goaltender, Corpus Christi IceRays

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Kevin Antipov, forward, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Kyle Bauman, forward, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Collin Delia, goaltender, Amarillo Bulls – Kyle Froese, defenseman, Corpus Christi IceRays – Jake Kamrass, forward, Topeka RoadRunners – Yoshihiro Kuroiwa, goaltender, Odessa Jackalopes – Tyler Ledford, forward, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Tyler Poulsen, forward, Topeka RoadRunners – Nick Schmit, goaltender, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees

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