The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton Hockey for the week ending February 22, 2015. The Easton Hockey 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: Kyle Haak, forward, Aberdeen Wings
NAHL Top Prospects forward Kyle Haak played a big part in his team’s two victories over the weekend to stay in a playoff position in the Central Division. The 20-year-old from Okemos, Michigan, had a huge game in Aberdeen’s 4-3 win over Minot on Friday as Haak (6’0/180) had a hat-trick, including the game-winning goal and an assist, in a 4-3 win. The next night, Haak chipped in with a shootout goal as the Wings edged Bismarck, 3-2. For the season, Haak leads the Wings in scoring with 43 points in 49 games played. He also is a product of the Lansing Capitals in the NAPHL. “Kyle was there all weekend. He played physical and was responsible without the puck. When he had the puck, he made the right plays and was unselfish. Kyle is a very hard worker and the consummate team player,” said Aberdeen head coach Francis Anzalone.
2nd Star: Derek Olmschenk, D, Austin Bruins
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Alex Bitsakis, G, Bismarck Bobcats – Andrew Shortridge, G, Aberdeen Wings – Nico Sturm, F, Austin Bruins – Cullen Willox, F, Bismarck Bobcats
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Jack Gessert, forward, Kenai River Brown Bears
The Kenai River Brown Bears snapped their losing skid this past weekend and stayed in the Midwest Division playoff hunt thanks to a weekend split at home with the Johnstown Tomahawks. Forward Jack Gessert, 20, had a big weekend with five points as the Novi, Michigan native continued to lead his team in scoring. On Friday, the 6’2/205 lbs. Gessert had an assist in the lone Kenai River goal in a 3-1 loss. On Saturday, Gessert erupted for four goals, including the overtime-winner as Kenai River beat Johnstown, 6-5. For the season, Gessert, who is playing the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, has 41 points in 41 games, including 26 goals. “Through a tough season, Jack has stuck with it and risen to the occasion and this past weekend was a great example. He is a leader on our hockey team and would be a nice addition to any NCAA Division I program,” said Brown Bears head coach Geoff Beauparlant.
2nd Star: Darian Romanko, F, Minnesota Wilderness
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Maurin Bouvet, F, Kenai River Brown Bears – Josef Ingman, D, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Janis Jaks, D, MN Wilderness – Adam Wilcox, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
North Division Star of the Week: Matt Jurusik, goalie, Janesville Jets
In one of the more incredible runs in recent NAHL memory, Janesville goalie Matt Jurusik went another weekend without allowing a goal as the Jets won their 13th and 14th straight games in a weekend sweep in Springfield against the Jr. Blues. Jurusik, 17, stopped all 53 shots that came his way in the two wins and has now not allowed a goal in his last 5+ appearances, a stretch that spans over 300 minutes of playing time. The native of La Grange, Illinois made 29 save on Friday night in a 2-0 win and on Saturday made 24 saves in a 1-0 overtime win. Jurusik now leads in the NAHL in wins with 26 and save percentage at 93.8%. Jurusik is playing in this week’s NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. "Matt is on a great run right now and it is rubbing off on the rest of the team. Even when we are not at our best at times, he has been remarkable this season and would be a great addition to any NCAA Division I program,” said Jets head coach Joe Dibble.
2nd Star: Tanner Barnes, F, Johnstown Tomahawks
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Chad Catt, G, Soo Eagles – Matt Jones, F, Keystone Ice Miners – Dryden McKay, G, Springfield Jr. Blues – Zac Robbins, F, Johnstown Tomahawks – Austin Romzek, F, Keystone Ice Miners – Adam Winborg, F, Janesville Jets – Sandis Zolmanis, F, Soo Eagles
South Division Star of the Week: Andrew Lindgren, goalie, Corpus Christi IceRays
Corpus Christi goalie Andrew Lindgren, 18, had a perfect weekend as he helped the IceRays to a weekend split with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. On Friday, Lindgren came in relief and posted 37 minutes of shutout hockey, making 16 saves in an eventual 4-1 loss. On Saturday, the native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, stopped all 26 shots that came his way through regulation and overtime and then stopped three of five shooters in the shootout in a 1-0 shutout win. It was his second shutout of the season. For the weekend, Lindgren (6’0/175) stopped all 42 shots that came his way in 102+ minutes of action. “Andrew’s timing was very good because we needed a lift in goal. He played solid and made big saves. When he plays consistent and makes key stops at key times, it really gives us a lift,” said IceRays head coach John Becanic.
2nd Star: Nikita Litviak, F, Wichita Falls Wildcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Charlie Combs, F, Amarillo Bulls – Mike Coyne, F, Wenatchee Wild – Tyler Irvine, F, Topeka RoadRunners – Cam Knight, D, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Luke Novak, F, Amarillo Bulls – Dakota Raabe, F, Wenatchee Wild – Anton Santesson, D, Lone Star Brahmas – Sebastian Vidmar, F, Lone Star Brahmas