The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton for the week ending September 28, 2014. The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2014-15 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: Ronnie Hein, forward, Aberdeen Wings
Aberdeen Wings forward Ronnie Hein, 17, helped the Wings to a weekend split to keep the team in 2nd place in the Central Division. The native of Chelsea, MI and Ferris State University recruit had three goals in two games this weekend as the Wings fell on Friday at home to Bismarck, but rebounded with a 4-1 win in Brookings on Saturday. Hein (6’0/165) had the lone goal in Friday’s 3-1 loss to the Bobcats. On Saturday, Hein had two goals in the 4-1 win at Brookings. The rookie forward currently leads Aberdeen in scoring with eight points in his first six NAHL games. “Ronnie has a lot of talent, but he gets to the next level because he plays and works extremely hard,” said Wings head coach Francis Anzalone. “He goes into the areas that very few players like to go into. He is on a great line that is clicking right now.”
2nd Star: Atte Tolvanen, G, Minot Minotauros
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jake Howie, F, Minot Minotauros – Andrew Shortridge, G, Aberdeen Wings
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Tobias Bjorklund, defense, Minnesota Wilderness
The Minnesota Wilderness find themselves in 1st place in the Midwest Division thanks to their weekend home sweep of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. 19-year-old defenseman Tobia Bjorklund (5’10/180) was a big contributor at both ends of the ice as he ended up with a +2 rating and four points in the two wins. On Friday, the native of Filipstad, Sweden, assisted on the second Wilderness goal in a 4-3 win over Fairbanks. On Saturday, Bjorklund assisted on the first goal and then scored the next two goals in a 5-3 win. He is tied for second in scoring on the Wilderness roster and leads all defensemen with five points. “Tobias had a fantastic weekend. He is very skilled, he sees the ice well and he makes sure he takes care of things defensively as well,” said Wilderness head coach Corey Millen.
2nd Star: Tyler Andrews, D, Kenai River Brown Bears
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Maurin Bouvet, F, Kenai River Brown Bears – Kane Durment, F, Minnesota Magicians – Jack Forbort, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Jacob Hetz, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs - Marc Michaelis, F, Minnesota Magicians - Caleb Schroer, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
North Division Star of the Week: Alex Blankenburg, goalie, Keystone Ice Miners
The Keystone Ice Miners are right back on top of the North Division thanks to three road wins this past weekend, including a sweep of the Soo Eagles and a win over the Michigan Warriors. Third-year netminder Alex Blankenburg, 20, got back to his old form with two great performances on Friday and Sunday. On Friday, the native of Washington, MI, made 31 saves in a 6-3 win against the Eagles. On Sunday, Blankenburg (5’9/167) made 46 saves in a 2-1 win over the Warriors. For the weekend, Blankenburg stopped 77 of the 81 total shots that came his way. For the season, Blankenburg has a 4-1-1 record with a 2.76 goals against average and a 91.2% save percentage. “We allowed a lot more shots than we wanted to, but Alex was equal to the challenge. He is back to the guy we saw last year in net. He is very calm, cool and collected and that allows us to play a little more freely knowing he is behind us and able to handle the odd man situations,” said Keystone head coach Michael Gershon.
2nd Star: Alex Smith, D, Janesville Jets
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jake Gwillim, G, Johnstown Tomahawks – Nick Kossoff, G, Keystone Ice Miners – Dryden McKay, G, Springfield Jr. Blues – Brian Rigali, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Brandon Schultz, F, Janesville Jets.
South Division Star of the Week: Austin Beaulieu, forward, Wichita Falls Wildcats
Thanks to a weekend home sweep of the Topeka RoadRunners, the Wichita Falls Wildcats moved into 2nd place in the South Division and leading the way was rookie forward Austin Beaulieu. The 18-year-old from Coral Springs, FL, had a great weekend as he contributed five points (4 goals, 1 assist) in the two wins and was a +4. The University of Alabama-Huntsville recruit scored the game-winning goal in both victories. On Friday, Beaulieu (5’9/170) had two of the Wildcats three goals in a 3-1 win. On Saturday, he scored two more goals and added an assist in a 5-1 win. Beaulieu not only leads the Wildcats in scoring with eight points in seven games, but he also leads the NAHL with three game-winning goals. “Austin continues to get better each week. His goals were very timely and came against a good opponent,” said Wildcats head coach John LaFontaine. “They were very tight games and he made the difference. Austin has a real ability to make plays and can score.”
2nd Star: Austin Shaw, G, Wichita Falls Wildcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jake Ahlgren, F, Wenatchee Wild – Nathan Bryer, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Andrew Lindgren, G, Corpus Christi IceRays - Andre Pison, F, Wenatchee Wild