The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton Hockey for the week ending November 15, 2015. The Easton Hockey Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2015-16 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: Lucas Murray, goaltender, Minot Minotauros
Minot goalie Lucas Murray, 19, was busy this week as he started all three games for Minot. The native of Virginia, Minnesota, won two of the three outings and gave up two goals or less in all three games. Murray (6’0/160) ended up stopping 72 of 77 shots in the three games, which was good for a 93.5% save percentage. On Tuesday, Murray made 22 saves in a 2-1 home win over Bismarck. On Friday, he made 21 saves in a 2-1 loss in Aberdeen. On Saturday, he rebounded to make 29 saves in a 3-2 overtime win over the Wings. “Lucas has been a nice surprise for us this season. He came into the season as a virtual unknown, but he continues to impress with every start. He gives our guys confidence playing in front of him and had another strong week starting all three games. He won two of them and kept the opposition to two goals or less in all three outings,” said Minotauros head coach Marty Murray.
2nd Star: Pierce Crawford, F, Minnesota Magicians
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tucker DeYoung, F, Aberdeen Wings – Derek Frentz, F, Minot Minotauros – Garrett Nelson, D, Bismarck Bobcats – Gavin Paczosa, G, Aberdeen Wings – Alex Strand, F, Bismarck Bobcats
East Division Star of the Week: Grant Valentine, goaltender, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalie Grant Valentine, 18, led his club to five of six points over a three-game road series this past weekend in Johnstown against the Tomahawks. The native of Medina, Ohio, posted a 93% save percentage during the weekend as he stopped 92 of 99 shots that came his way in two wins and a shootout loss. On Thursday, Valentine (5’11/175) made 29 saves in a 4-1 win. On Friday, he made 34 saves in a 4-3 win. On Saturday, Valentine made 29 saves through regulation and overtime, but the Knights fell in a shootout, 4-3. He has won three of his last five starts. "Grant was exceptional for us this weekend. His solid play was a huge reason we were able to have some success and get some road points against a very tough and hungry Johnstown team. He made many big and timely saves at critical times of the game and gave our team confidence throughout the entire three game set,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal.
2nd Star: Luke Lynch, F, Johnstown Tomahawks
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Andrew Durham, F, New Jersey Titans – Paul Maust, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Taylor Fernandez, forward, Janesville Jets
It was a big weekend for the Janesville Jets, who got back on track with a weekend road sweep in Fairbanks against the Ice Dogs. Veteran forward Taylor Fernandez, 20, was a big reason for the two, one-goal wins as the native of Northville, Michigan, recorded four points, which included three goals and an assist. On Friday, Fernandez (5’11/185) had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win. On Saturday, Fernandez scored twice, including the game-winning goal, in a 2-1 win over Fairbanks. For the season, the third-year forward has 11 points in 17 games played. He played for the North Division team at last year’s NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. “Sweeping Fairbanks is a very hard thing to do, especially on this road, so we were happy with the effort. Taylor’s work ethic speaks for itself and he never stops giving his maximum effort. He brings it every night and for him to have the weekend he had, we don’t have the type of success without him,” said Jets head coach Joe Dibble.
2nd Star: Jeff Skinner, F, Springfield Jr. Blues
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Evan Butcher, F, Kenai River Brown Bears – Jeff Fasegha, F, Kenai River Brown Bears – Jack LaFontaine, G, Janesville Jets – Reggie Lutz, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Gavin Nieto, G, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Caleb Schroer, F, Coulee Region Chill – Brady Tomlak, F, Springfield Jr. Blues
South Division Star of the Week: Kyle Patava, forward, Lone Star Brahmas
The Lone Star Brahmas continued their season dominance of the Amarillo Bulls with a weekend home sweep. Veteran forward and Air Force Academy recruit Kyle Patava, 19, had a big weekend recording four points (2 goals, 2 assists) and was a +3 in the two wins. On Friday, Patava (6’2/205) had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win. On Saturday, the native of Des Mounes, Iowa, duplicated the feat with another goal and an assist in a 4-3 win. For the season, Patava, who played midget hockey with the Omaha 16U team in the NAPHL prior to coming to the NAHL, has 10 points in 15 games played. “Kyle did a lot of the little things this weekend, so it wasn’t a surprise that he was successful. He is smart veteran hockey player and knows you have to go into the tough areas to pay the price and create opportunities,” said Brahmas head coach Dan Wildfong.
2nd Star: Hampus Sjodahl, F, Odessa Jackalopes
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Oliver Celec, F, Odessa Jackalopes – Max Harper, F, Topeka RoadRunners – Andrew Hart, F, Topeka RoadRunners – Jake Houston, F, Amarillo Bulls – Graham Hunt, G, Corpus Christi IceRays – Jonathan Lazarus, F, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Brad Power, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Max Reisinger, F, Wichita Falls Wildcats