NAHL announces Bauer Divisional Stars of the Week
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Bauer Hockey for the week ending April 3, 2016. The Bauer 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: Josh Kuehmichel, goaltender, Brookings Blizzard
Entering the final weekend of the year, the Brookings Blizzard control their own destiny for the 4th and final playoff spot in the Central Division. That is thanks in large part to their home-and-home sweep last weekend of the Aberdeen Wings. Goaltender Josh Kuehmichel, 19, was in net for both wins and ended up stopping 81 of 85 shots in the process. On Friday, the Hopkins, MN, native made a season-high 49 saves in a 4-3 home win over the Wings. The next night, Kuehmichel (5’11/160) made 32 saves in a 2-1 win. Kuehmichel has won five of his last six starts. “Josh has really stepped his game up the last two months and he is giving us a chance to win every night and have the opportunity to make the playoffs,” said Brookings head coach Dan Daikawa.
2nd Star: Travis Wood, F, Bismarck Bobcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Kevin Fitzgerald, F, Aberdeen Wings – Derek Frentz, F, Minot Minotauros – Matt Pulver, F, Aberdeen Wings – Gunner Rivers, G, Minot Minotauros – Alex Strand, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Zack Taylor, D, Minnesota Magicians
East Division Star of the Week: Alex Alger, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks
Johnstown finished up their regular season with a weekend home sweep of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. Forward and Miami (OH) University recruit Alex Alger, 20, had a big weekend as the native of Livonia, MI, had five goals and was a +2 in the wins. On Friday, Alger (5’11/150) had a hat-trick, which included the game-winning goal in overtime as the Tomahawks beat the Knights, 4-3. On Saturday, he scored two more goals in a 6-3 win. For the season, Alger had 32 points in 49 games played. “It was a great way for us to finish our regular season with a sweep at home in front of great crowds. Alex had missed some games over the last little while and came back making up for lost time. He was all over the puck the entire weekend making plays. He is such a good person and determined player that those type of weekends don't surprise me even after missing the time off. I couldn't be prouder of him for how he contributed this weekend to the team's overall success,” said Johnstown head coach Mike Letizia.
2nd Star: Frank Spellman, F, Aston Rebels
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Andrew Ballant, F, Aston Rebels – Brad Becker, F, New Jersey Titans - Ryan Burr, D, Johnstown Tomahawks
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Jack LaFontaine, goaltender, Janesville Jets
Janesville picked up two wins in three games this past weekend in Springfield, keeping their hopes alive for 2nd place and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. In goal for both of the those wins was goalie Jack LaFontaine, 18, who faced a total of 90 shots in the two wins and made 86 saves. On Thursday, the native of Mississauga, ON, made 45 saves in a 6-2 win over the Jr. Blues. On Saturday, LaFontaine (6’3/190) made 41 saves in another 6-2 win. For the season, LaFontaine, a University of Michigan recruit, has a 23-8-6 record with a 2.12 goals against average and a 92.2% save percentage, both of which rank in the top 7 in the NAHL. “Jack was great for us this weekend. He gave us a chance to win every night. Having a guy in the net playing with the confidence he is right now has allowed our team to relax and play. This team builds off one another and Jack is one of the guys that sets the tone for us every night,” said Jets head coach Joe Dibble.
2nd Star: CJ Boothe, G, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Dominik Florian, F, Coulee Region Chill – Ryan Kero, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Matt Long, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Cullen Munson, F, Janesville Jets – Keenan Sabatini, D, Springfield Jr. Blues
South Division Star of the Week: Corbin Kaczperski, goaltender, Lone Star Brahmas
The Lone Star Brahmas took three of four points this past weekend in Odessa against the Jackalopes thanks in large part to their goaltender, Corbin Kaczperski. The native of Detroit, MI, and Yale University recruit, gave up only two goals in the two games, while facing 74 shots. On Friday, Kaczperski, 20, made a season-high 38 saves in a 4-1 win. On Saturday, Kaczperski (6’2/180) had 34 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss. For the season, Kaczperski has a 24-6-4 record. His 24 wins rank 4th among all NAHL goaltenders. “Corbin played really well and it is what we need going into the playoffs right now. Odessa was playing great playoff-style hockey and without Corbin we would not have been able to get three points,” said Lone Star head coach Dan Wildfong.
2nd Star: Drake Lindsay, F, Corpus Christi IceRays
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brian Baker, G, Amarillo Bulls – Tyler Gernhofer, F, Amarillo Bulls – Max Harper, F, Topeka RoadRunners – Nikita Litviak, F, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Juho Niku, G, Topeka RoadRunners – Aleksi Poikola, F, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Brad Power, F, Corpus Christi IceRays