The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Bauer Hockey for the week ending October 29, 2017. The Bauer Hockey Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2017-18 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: Benjamin Beck, goaltender, Brookings Blizzard
Thanks to three wins this past week, the Brookings Blizzard moved back into a tie for 1st place in the Central Division. In between the pipes for the majority of those three games was first year goaltender Benjamin Beck. The 18-year-old from Landsberg am Lech, Germany, faced a total of 85 shots in about 2 ½ games this past week and allowed just four goals in the three appearances, making 81 saves. Beck’s (6’9/210) week started with 30 saves in a 7-1 road win in Austin on Wednesday. His good play against the Bruins continued on Friday, as the Maine recruit made 32 saves in a 4-2 home win. On Saturday, Beck didn’t start, but came into the game about midway through, and then stopped 19 of 20 shots in a 4-2 win. “Ben was very good this past week and a very good confidence builder for him. I think as the season has gone along he has gotten better. He practiced well, is tracking the puck well, and that translated into some great performances in the games. He is making big saves at key times in the game,” said Blizzard head coach Moe Mantha.
2nd Star: Jack Robbel, G, Minot Minotauros
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Nick Anderson, D, Minnesota Wilderness – Evan Cholak, F, Austin Bruins – Andriy Denyskin, F, Brookings Blizzard – Colton Fletcher, F, Aberdeen Wings – Andrew Kangas, F, Minot Minotauros – Kosta Likourezos, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Michael Mahan, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Joe Strada, F, Aberdeen Wings – Ryan Ullan, G, Bismarck Bobcats
East Division Star of the Week: Colin Bilek, forward, Northeast Generals
The Northeast Generals got back on track this weekend with a weekend home sweep of the New Jersey Titans. Forward and NAHL leading-scorer Colin Bilek, 20, had another productive weekend, accumulating four points (2 goals, 2 assists) and a +4 rating in the wins. On Friday, the 5’10/177 lbs. native of Brighton, Michigan, scored twice in a 5-2 win. On Saturday, Bilek had a pair of assists in a 4-3 shootout win to complete the sweep. Bilek’s current total of 24 points leads the NAHL. “Colin has been amazing all year. We hit our first losing streak of the season and he did what great players and captains do, and put us on his back, contributing in all three zones. As usual, he was our emotional leader both on and off of the ice,” said Generals GM Bryan Erikson.
2nd Star: Tyrone Bronte, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Justin Engelkes, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Luke Perunovich, D, Northeast Generals
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Jeff Skinner, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues
Springfield Jr. Blues forward Jeff Skinner, 19, led his team to a pair of important home wins this past weekend against the Topeka RoadRunners. The 5’11/180 lbs. native of Katy, Texas, had five points (2 goals, 3 assists) and was +4 in the two wins. On Friday, Skinner had an assist in a 3-2 shootout win. On Saturday, he had two goals, including the game-winner, and two assists in a 5-2 win. To date, Skinner has seven points in 12 games played. “Jeff really stepped up his game this weekend. We had a few key players out of the line-up and he stepped up and helped lead us to two wins. He has a ton of offensive ability and when he competes at a high level, he can be a top player in this league,” said Jr. Blues head coach Tyler Rennette.
2nd Star: John Keranen, F, Minnesota Magicians
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Max Brainin, F, Springfield Jr. Blues - Cameron Buhl, F, Minnesota Magicians – Gavin Enright, G, Kenai River Brown Bears – Brandon Koch, D, Coulee Region Chill – Luke Orysiuk, D, Fairbanks Ice Dogs - Luke Radetic, F, Kenai River Brown Bears – Nolan Schaeffer, D, Fairbanks Ice Dogs - Emil Zetterquist, G, Coulee Region Chill
South Division Star of the Week: Jason Grande, goaltender, Amarillo Bulls
It was literally a perfect weekend for the Amarillo Bulls and Jason Grande. The 6’2/185 lbs. native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, posted a shutout in both of Amarillo’s home wins over the Corpus Christi IceRays this past weekend. In total, Grande, 18, stopped all 66 shots that came his way in the two wins. On Friday, Grande stopped a season-high 39 shots in a 4-0 win and on Saturday, he stopped all 27 shots that came his way in a 1-0 win. Grande now has three shutouts on the season to go along with a 6-2-0 record and a 2.13 goals against average and a 93.4% save percentage. “Jason has been excellent for us and the big reason for our early season success. He is patient and poised in the net and that gives our team a strong sense of confidence. I am very confident that he is going to be an impact player at the NCAA Division I level and beyond,” said Bulls head coach Rocky Russo.
2nd Star: Kyle Hallbauer, D, Lone Star Brahmas
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Harrison Feeney, G, Lone Star Brahmas – Nick Granowicz, F, Topeka RoadRunners – Simon Morberg, F, Amarillo Bulls – Jake Rosenbaum, D, Topeka RoadRunners