The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton Hockey for the week ending February 28, 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: Hunter Shepard, goaltender, Bismarck Bobcats
As the Bismarck Bobcats moved back into sole possession of 1st place in the Central Division with their weekend home sweep of the Aberdeen Wings, they were once again led by their goaltender Hunter Shepard, who continued to make his case for MVP. The 20-year-old native of Cohasset, Minnesota allowed just a single goal in the two-game sweep, stopping 42 of a possible 43 shots. Shepard (6’0/200) stopped all 22 shots that came his way in a 1-0 win on Friday, which tied him for the league lead in shutouts with six. The next night, he made 20 saves in a 3-1 win. For the season, Shepard ranks 1st in the NAHL in wins (29) and shutouts (6), ranks 2nd in goals against average (1.98) and ranks in the top seven in both saves and save percentage. “The exciting part for us as a staff is to see Hunter's numbers improve every week, because they are a total reflection of the hard work and preparation he puts in every day. This weekend he was ready to make the big saves when he had to and was rewarded with tying a team record that has stood for seven years,” said Bismarck head coach Layne Sedevie.
2nd Star: Michael Wilson, F, Minnesota Magicians
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Patrik Demel, D, Bismarck Bobcats – Matt Jennings, F, Minot Minotauros - Casey Jerry, F, Minnesota Magicians – Max Reisinger, F, Minot Minotauros – Peter Thome, G, Aberdeen Wings
East Division Star of the Week: Anthony Parrucci, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks
Johnstown forward Anthony Parrucci, 20, helped his club to a weekend home split with the Aston Rebels this past weekend. The native of Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, had three points and was a +2. On Friday, Parrucci (6’1/200) had an assist on the lone Tomahawks goal in a 5-1 loss. On Saturday, he scored a goal and added an assist on the overtime-winner in a 3-2 win. For the season, Parrucci has 19 points in 49 games played. “I could not be more proud of Anthony for now earning Star of the Week for the second time this season. He is the ultimate team player, as well as, ultimate individual. He has a work ethic that is second to none and brings everything he has to this team day in and day out. With the way our division is so tight players like Anthony have the ability to rise up in pressure filled situations because they have such a strong passion and desire for team success. He factored in almost all of our scoring over the weekend, and made a beautiful pass on our team's OT winner Saturday night. This is a testament to his commitment and I am extremely happy for him,” said Johnstown head coach Mike Letizia.
2nd Star: Keegan Miller, F, New Jersey Titans
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Darren Brady, D, New Jersey Titans – Mike Merulla, F, Aston Rebels – Evgeny Yakovlev, F, Aston Rebels
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Taylor Fernandez, forward, Janesville Jets
As the Janesville Jets picked up a tough road sweep in Kenai River this past weekend, forward Taylor Fernandez stood out for his large contribution of the offense generated in the two wins. The 21-year-old native of Northville, Michigan, recorded six points in the two games as the Jets totaled eight goals. Those six points included the game-winning goals both nights. On Friday, Fernandez (5’11/185) had two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist in a 4-1 win. On Saturday, he duplicated the same feat in a 4-3 win with the game-winner coming in the final seconds of the 3rd period. For the season, Fernandez is 3rd in team scoring with 38 points in 44 games played. “Taylor has been a leader on our team when it comes to work ethic and compete level. He plays hard in every zone in every situation and has been getting rewarded on the offensive side for it. He came up big in crucial situations this past weekend and was a main factor in our success,” said Jets head coach Joe Dibble.
2nd Star: Todd Burgess, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Isak Bergland, F, Minnesota Wilderness - Ryan Bloom, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Niko Della Maggorie, G, Springfield Jr. Blues – Larry Jungwirth, F, Coulee Region Chill – Matiss Kivlenieks, G, Coulee Region Chill – Jack LaFontaine, G, Janesville Jets - Liam Stirtzinger, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Nathan Viberg, F, Springfield Jr. Blues
South Division Star of the Week: Corbin Kaczperski, goaltender, Lone Star Brahmas
In a big weekend showdown between the 2nd place Brahmas and the 3rd place Topeka RoadRunners this past weekend, it was the Brahmas team defense and goaltending which earned them a weekend home sweep and a subsequent playoff berth in the 2016 Robertson Cup Playoffs. Goaltender and Yale University recruit Corbin Kaczperski, 19, played very well in goal both games, allowing just two goals all weekend. On Friday, the native of Detroit, Michigan, and NAPHL alum, stopped 18 of 20 shots in a 3-2 win. On Saturday, Kaczperski (6’2/180) stopped all 15 shots that came his way for his third shutout of the season in a 3-0 win. The two wins improved his record to 20-6-2 overall this season. “Corbin made some key saves at critical times this weekend, especially on Friday. On Saturday, the team played some great defense in front of him, but he made the big stops when he had to against a very good opponent. We will need that type of goaltending to be successful heading into the playoffs,” said Lone Star head coach Dan Wildfong.
2nd Star: Derek Brown, F, Odessa Jackalopes
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Regen Cavanagh, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Cameron Clarke, D, Lone Star Brahmas – Drake Lindsay, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Nikita Litviak, F, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Juho Niku, G, Topeka RoadRunners – Coale Norris, F, Amarillo Bulls – Andre Pison, F, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Quinn Preston, F, Topeka RoadRunners – Jeff Solow, D, Amarillo Bulls