The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton Hockey for the week ending February 21, 2016. 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: Alex Strand, forward, Bismarck Bobcats
The Bobcats kept pace atop the Central Division with two road wins this past weekend in Richfield against the Minnesota Magicians. The games, which both finished with a scored of 3-2 in favor of the Bobcats, were close and forward Alex Strand, 20, came up clutch in both wins. The native of Roseau, Minnesota, recorded three goals in the two wins, which included the game-winning goal in both wins. On Friday, Strand (5’10/172) had two power play goals, including the game-winner, in a 3-2 win in regulation over the Magicians. The next night, Strand scored the overtime-winning goal in another 3-2 win. Strand also played in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament earlier in the week, where he had two assists in two wins for the Central Division team. He is 2nd in scoring on the Bobcats this season with 40 points in 44 games played. “At this time of the year, you need your big-time players to make big-time plays and Alex stepped up and did that for us this weekend. He also had a strong showing at Top Prospects last week and kept it going both nights with some very important goals,” said Bismarck head coach Layne Sedevie.
2nd Star: James LaDouce, D, Minot Minotauros
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Zack Bross, F, Minot Minotauros – Matt Pulver, F, Aberdeen Wings – Hunter Shepard, G, Bismarck Bobcats – Peter Thome, G, Aberdeen Wings
East Division Star of the Week: Spencer Wright, goaltender, New Jersey Titans
Another week, another divisional star honor for New Jersey Titans goalie Spencer Wright, who was a brick wall this weekend in New Jersey’s home-and-home sweep of Aston. In back-to-back 2-1 wins, the 18-year-old native of Farmington Hills, Michigan allowed just a single goal each night and stopped 50 of 52 shots. On Saturday, Wright (6’2/170) made 20 saves in a 2-1 shootout win and on Sunday, it was 30 saves in another 2-1 win for the Titans. It is Wright’s second star of the week award in as many weeks for the Titans, who now have a four-point lead atop the East Division. “This past weekend Spencer was the best player on our team. He played a solid game on Saturday and really rose to the challenge on Sunday to help us get two wins. Good goaltending is a must this late in the season and we are lucky to have Spencer in our lineup,” said Titans head coach Rich McKenna.
2nd Star: Grant Valentine, G, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Raymond Brice, F, New Jersey Titans – Brendan Jaquay, F, Johnstown Tomahawks
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Matiss Kivlenieks, goaltender, Coulee Region Chill
Coulee Region goalie Matiss Kivlenieks, 19, led his club to two wins in three games in a weekend home series against the Minnesota Wilderness. The native of Riga, Latvia, didn’t start in the opening game on Thursday, which resulted in the only loss of the weekend for the Chill. The next two nights, Kivlenieks (6’2/190) was outstanding as he stopped 77 of a possible 80 shots in two wins. On Friday, Kivlenieks made 37 saves in a 6-1 win and on Saturday, he made 40 saves and stopped two of three shooters in the shootout in a 3-2 shootout win. Earlier in the week, Kivlenieks played for the Midwest Division team at the 2016 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament where he stopped 36 of 39 shots. “Matiss has been awesome for us this season. It makes the players play relaxed when you have a goalie in net who gives you a chance to win every night,” said Chill head coach AJ Degenhardt.
2nd Star: Gavin Nieto, G, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Ryan Bloom, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Kevin Dineen, F, Coulee Region Chill – Matt Long, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Joey Lupo, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Kyle Patava, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Jakob Stridsberg, D, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
South Division Star of the Week: Drake Lindsay, forward, Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi IceRays forward Drake Lindsay, 20, had a big weekend as him team picked up a weekend split in Amarillo against the Bulls to stay in the 4th and final playoff spot in the South. The native of Grosse, Manitoba, had five assists and was a +1 in the two games. On Friday, Lindsay (6’1/205) assisted on three of the four Corpus Christi goals in a 4-2 win. On Saturday, Lindsay assisted on two of the three IceRays goals in the game in a 5-3 loss. Earlier in the week, Lindsay also played on the South Division team at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, where he had a goal and an assist in two game for the South, who went 2-0 at the event. In 43 games played with the IceRays this season, Lindsay has 32 points. “Drake played extremely well in both games and was a threat to score all weekend. He is playing at a higher level since coming back from Top Prospects. Hopefully he can continue to lead us as we make a push for the playoffs,” said IceRays head coach Jon Becanic.
2nd Star: George Mika, F, Amarillo Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Phil Fromberger, D, Amarillo Bulls – Mason Krueger, F, Corpus Christi IceRays