The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Bauer Hockey for the week ending April 10, 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
The Brookings Blizzard were able secure the Central Division’s final playoff spot this past weekend with a home split against the Minot Minotauros. For the second consecutive week, goaltender Josh Kuehmichel, 19, has been named the Central Division Star of the Week as he started both nights during the split. On Friday, the native of Hopkins, MN, made 21 saves in a 31 win over the Minotauros. On Saturday, Kuehmichel (5’11/160) made 15 saves in a close 2-1 loss. The win on Friday was enough to net Brookings the 4th and final playoff spot. In his final five regular season games down the stretch, Kuehmichel didn’t allow more than three goals in any of those games. “Josh has been the difference maker for us down the stretch he is giving us a chance to win every night,” said Brookings head coach Dan Daikawa.
2nd Star: Jade Miller, F, Austin Bruins
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Christian Mohs, F, Minot Minotauros – Lucas Murray, G, Minot Minotauros – Alex Strand, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Travis Wood, F, Bismarck Bobcats
East Division Star of the Week: No Games
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Dominik Florian, forward, Coulee Region Chill
Another team that needed points and wins down the stretch to make the playoffs was the Coulee Region Chill, who picked up two wins in their final three games over the weekend to claim the 4th and final playoff spot in the Midwest Division. Forward and leading scorer Dominik Florian, 20, had a big weekend, recording five points in the two wins. On Friday, the native of Vlasim, Czech Republic had two goals in a 4-3 loss in Janesville. The next night, Florian (6’3/200) had the game-winning goal in overtime and two assists, which sent the Chill to the playoffs with a 3-2 win. On Sunday, he went scoreless in a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wilderness. Florian, who played for the Midwest Division team at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, led the Chill in scoring this season with 51 points in 51 games played. “Dominik had a great weekend for us at a time we need it. He has really stepped up his game the last 15 games and been a leader for our club,” said Chill head coach AJ Degenhardt.
2nd Star: Cole Paskus, F, Janesville Jets
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jack Gates, F, Janesville Jets - Casey Gilling, F, Minnesota Wilderness - Brett Heikkila, F, Minnesota Wilderness
South Division Star of the Week: Austin Albrecht, forward, Wichita Falls Wildcats
The Wichita Falls Wildcats secured the #2 overall seed for the NAHL playoffs and put a 44-win cap on their South title with a weekend home sweep of the Corpus Christi IceRays. Forward and leading scorer Austin Albrecht, 19, completed his regular season in style with a four-point weekend. On Friday, the native of Flemington, New Jersey, had two assists in a 4-1 win and on Saturday, Albrecht (6’0/185) had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win. For the season, Albrecht, who played on the NAHL Selects Team at the 2016 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, led the Wildcats in scoring with 60 points in 58 games played. “Austin has found his consistency in the last month that he had earlier in the year. He's taken his game to another level at the right time of the year. We're excited for him,” said Wildcats head coach John LaFontaine.
2nd Star: Johnny Walker, F, Topeka RoadRunners
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Michael Bevilacqua, D, Coulee Region Chill – Marshall Bowery, F, Topeka RoadRunners – Mason Krueger, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Jonathan Lazarus, F, Wichita Falls Wildcats – George Mika, F, Amarillo Bulls – Joey Molinaro, F, Amarillo Bulls