The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton Hockey for the week ending December 20, 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: Will Ulrich, goaltender, Minnesota Magicians
After a three-point weekend, the Minnesota Magicians find themselves in a playoff spot in the topsy-turvy Central Division. The Magicians were boosted by the play this past weekend of goaltender Will Ulrich, who gave up just two goals during the entire weekend and stopped a total of 66 of a combined 68 shots. On Friday, the native of Bloomfield Hills, MI, made 40 saves through regulation and overtime and allowed just a single goal in the shootout as the Magicians fell on the road against the Coulee Region Chill, 2-1. On Saturday, Ulrich (6’1/190) made 26 saves in a 2-1 home win over the Minnesota Wilderness. For the season, Ulrich has a 10-5-2 record with a 2.64 GAA and a 92.2% save percentage, which ranks him in the NAHL Top 10. “Will has been a very steady performer for us over the last month. He has given us a chance to win every night,” said Magicians head coach Scott Meyer.
2nd Star: Zack Bross, F, Minot Minotauros
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Harrison Aide, F, Bismarck Bobcats - Tucker DeYoung, F, Aberdeen Wings –Jake Leitner, F, Aberdeen Wings - Christian Mohs, F, Minot Minotauros – Jared Pike, F, Bismarck Bobcats
East Division Star of the Week: Braden Brown, forward, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights forward Braden Brown had a game unlike anyone else in the NAHL so far this season, which was good enough to earn him player of the week honors. After being shutdown in a 2-1 loss against Johnstown on Saturday, Brown (6’0/175) responded with an NAHL season-high four goals in Sunday’s 5-2 win in Aston against the Rebels. Three of Brown’s four goals came via the power play and the native of Plano, TX, now leads all Knights players with 12 goals this season. "Braden has been a key performer for our club since missing significant time due to injury at the start of the season. He's been a large factor in our teams improved play. He has a very high skill level and can be the difference in a hockey game when he is playing like this. Braden has shown recently why we felt strongly enough about him to take him first in last year's draft. We're looking for him to have a great second half of the season,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal.
2nd Star: Dean Balsamo, F, Aston Rebels
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Andrew Lindgren, G, Johnstown Tomahawks – Trevor Micucci, G, Aston Rebels
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Gavin Nieto, goaltender, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
In a battle of division leaders, it was Fairbanks Ice Dogs goalie Gavin Nieto, 19, who rose to the top with his performance over the weekend allowing the Ice Dogs to sweep a weekend road series in New Jersey against the Titans. The native of Yorba Linda, CA, started and won both games, allowing just a single goal in each of them and stopping 50 of 52 total shots in the two games. On Friday, Nieto (6’1/180) made 22 saves in a 3-1 win and on Saturday he made 28 saves in a 2-1 win. For the season, Nieto now leads the NAHL in goals against average (1.74) and is tied for the league lead in wins with 16. “Gavin showed great leadership against a really good New Jersey team this past weekend. He found a way to make timely saves all weekend and keep the momentum going,” said Fairbanks head coach Trevor Stewart.
2nd Star: Matt Long, F, Springfield Jr. Blues
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Niko Della Maggorie, G, Springfield Jr. Blues - Jack Forbort, F, Minnesota Wilderness - Jack Gessert, F, Kenai River Brown Bears – Ryner Gorowsky, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Brett Heikkila, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Nick Nast, G, Kenai River Brown Bears
South Division Star of the Week: Cameron Clarke, defenseman, Lone Star Brahmas
It was a big weekend for the Lone Star Brahmas as they got back on track with a three-game road sweep of the Wildcats in Wichita Falls. Brahmas defenseman and the NAHL’s Defenseman of the Month in November, Cameron Clarke, continued his great play with a five-point weekend. On Thursday, the native of Tecumseh, MI, had three assists in an 8-2 win. On Friday, Clarke (6’2/180) scored the game-winning goal in overtime in a 3-2 win and on Saturday, he had an assist in a 6-4 win. For the season, the Ferris State University recruit leads all Brahmas players in scoring with 23 points in 27 games played. “Cam had a really good weekend. He really helped kick start our offense, as we had been struggling as of late in that area. It all started from the back end and he was a big part of our success,” said Lone Star head coach Dan Wildfong.
2nd Star: Andy McGlynn, F, Corpus Christi IceRays
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brady Crabtree, F, Amarillo Bulls – Dominic Lutz, F, Topeka RoadRunners – Bud Madej, D, Lone Star Brahmas – Brendan Miller, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Jacob Nitsche, F, Amarillo Bulls – Sami Tavernier, F, Topeka RoadRunners