The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton Hockey for the week ending March 13, 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: Matt Jennings, forward, Minot Minotauros
With three wins in three games last week, the Minot Minotauros moved into sole possession of 1st place in the Central Division with seven games to go in their regular season. Forward and Dartmouth College commit Matt Jennings, 18, had a big week as the native of Buford, Georgia, had six points, which included five goals in the three wins and was also a +6. On Tuesday, Jennings (5’8/172) had two goals in a 4-1 win over Aberdeen. On Friday, he added two more goals and an assist in a 5-3 win over the Brookings Blizzard. The next night, Jennings added a shorthanded goal in a 5-1 win. Since his trade from Topeka, Jennings has 12 points in nine games with the Minotauros and overall, has 37 points in 39 games played this season. “Matt has been very big lift to our line up since his arrival. His offensive numbers are obvious, but he is reliable in both ends of the rink and has helped our penalty killing immensely. It seems he's getting more comfortable everyday with his new surroundings and it's shown in his play and production,” said Minot head coach Marty Murray.
2nd Star: Kris Carlson, G, Austin Bruins
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Harrison Aide, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Daniil Gerasimov, G, Minnesota Magicians – Max Reisinger, F, Minot Minotauros – Carter Roo, F, Aberdeen Wings – Hunter Shepard, G, Bismarck Bobcats – Peter Thome, G, Aberdeen Wings
East Division Star of the Week: Tommy Horn, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks
The Johnstown Tomahawks kept pace with the East Division leaders this past weekend with a home sweep of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. Forward Tommy Horn, 20, played a big role in the two wins as the native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had four points (2 goals, 2 assists) and was a +3. On Friday, Horn (6’0/175) had a goal and two assists in a 5-3 win. On Saturday, he scored the game-winning goal in a 3-0 shutout win. In 42 regular season games played this season, the second-year NAHL forward has recorded 26 points. “We had a great weekend sweep and Tommy was right in the middle of everything. He scored a big, game-tying goal on Friday night and then on Saturday he finally broke a 0-0 tie in the 3rd period with a goal. He also helped set up two other goals. I was really proud of how hard he competed, blocked shots and made plays throughout the entire weekend. He is a guy that is so versatile and is so willing to play any way that you ask. It was a really big weekend for us picking up four points and Tommy was a huge part of our success,” said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.
2nd Star: Darion Hanson, G, Aston Rebels
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Dean Balsamo, F, Aston Rebels – Dalton Hunter, F, Johnstown Tomahawks
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Brady Tomlak, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues
With a weekend home sweep of the Kenai River Brown Bears, the Springfield Jr. Blues gave themselves a little breathing room in the standings for the 4th and final playoff spot with now eight games remaining in their regular season. Forward and Air Force commit Brady Tomlak had a good weekend as the 20-year-old native of Oakland, Michigan, had four points (3 goals, 1 assist) and was +3 in the two wins. On Friday, Tomlak (6’2/200) had two goals, including the game-winner, in a 4-0 shutout win. On Saturday night, Tomlak had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win. For the season, Tomlak leads the Jr. Blues in scoring with 43 points in 52 games played. “It was great to see Brady step up and play his role as a power forward, scoring a rebound goals and two more on deflections. He is a key component in our success and it showed this weekend,” said Springfield head coach Tony Zasowski.
2nd Star: Jack LaFontaine, G, Janesville Jets
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Conor Bucsis, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Josef Ingman, D, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Jeff Skinner, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Tyler Tomberlin, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Adam Winborg, F, Janesville Jets
South Division Star of the Week: Dryden McKay, goaltender, Corpus Christi IceRays
Thanks to their weekend home split against the 1st place Wichita Falls Wildcats, the Corpus Christi IceRays extended their lead for the 4th and final playoff spot in the South Division to four points. Goaltender Dryden McKay, 18, who has been on fire the last couple of weeks, was again the backbone for his club, which picked up its first win on the season over the Wildcats. For the weekend, the native of Downers Grove, Illinois, faced 79 shots in the two games and made 76 saves, giving up just three goals. On Friday, McKay (5’11/170) made 36 saves in a 3-1 (empty-net goal) loss to the Wildcats. The next night, McKay made 40 saves in a 2-1 win over the Wildcats. His 40 saves were the second most in a game this season. For the season, McKay has a 12-10-2 record with a 2.49 goals against average and a 91.9% save percentage. “Over the past 11 games, Dryden likely has the best numbers in the entire NAHL with 1.41 GAA and a .950 save percentage. He has been a major factor in us continuing to battle for the last playoff spot in the South. Our team has rallied around him and has started to play playoff-type hockey heading down the stretch,” said IceRays head coach Jon Becanic.
2nd Star: Alex Berardinelli, F, Lone Star Brahmas
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Hogan Davidson, F, Lone Star Brahmas – Michael Forman, F, Amarillo Bulls – Andrew Hart, F, Topeka RoadRunners – Nikita Litviak, F, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Luka Maver, F, Topeka RoadRunners – Aleksi Poikola, F, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Nick Santoro, F, Amarillo Bulls