The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Bauer Hockey for the week ending December 31, 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: Nathan Burke, forward, Aberdeen Wings
It was a huge weekend for the Aberdeen Wings and forward Nathan Burke. The 6’1/175 lbs. native of Scottsdale, Arizona, helped his team to a weekend home-and-home series sweep of the Brookings Blizzard. For the weekend, Burke, 19, had six points in the two wins, which included three goals and three assists, along with a +4 rating. He had a goal and an assist in a 6-3 win in Brookings on Friday and on Saturday he had two goals and two assists in a 7-3 home win. Burke currently leads the Wings in scoring with 31 points in 30 games played and his 17 goals ranks 4th in the NAHL. “Nathan has had a very good first-year player campaign to date. He is a very determined player that focuses on making his teammates around him better each day. He is a very hard working player of character that plays the game determined and with a lot of work ethic,” said Wings head coach Scott Langer.
2nd Star: Cooper Haar, F, Bismarck Bobcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Evan Cholak, F, Austin Bruins – Austin Dollimer, F, Minot Minotauros - Luke Dow, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Eric Gotz, D, Minnesota Wilderness – Michael Mahan, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Joe Strada, F, Aberdeen Wings – Michael Talbot, F, Minot Minotauros
East Division Star of the Week: Curtis Carlson, forward, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Thanks to a weekend home sweep of the Kenai River Brown Bears, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights took over the lead in the East Division for the time being. Forward Curtis Carlson, 20, had a good weekend as he recorded four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in the two wins and was also a +4. The 6’1/175 lbs. native of Lakewood, New York, had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win on Friday and on Saturday, he added another goal and another assist in a 5-1 win. In 29 games this season, Carlson had 22 points, which includes 10 goals and 12 assists. “Curtis is one of the most dynamic players on our roster. That comes from his tremendous work ethic on and off the ice and is why he wears the ‘C’ on his sweater. This past weekend, he was able to come up with some early assists to get us going and scored two big goals to put games to bed. It’s what we expect from him as a veteran and a leader. I’m very happy Curtis is being recognized for his strong play and continued contributions to our organization,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal.
2nd Star: Adrian Danchenko, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): None
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Jakov Novak, forward, Janesville Jets
Janesville Jets forward and Bentley University recruit Jakov Novak, 19, had a big weekend for his club as the Jets picked up a weekend home sweep of the Minnesota Magicians. The 6’3/201 lbs. native of Windsor, Ontario, extended his point streak to six straight games as he lit up the scoresheet this past weekend. On Thursday, Novak had two assists in a 6-3 win and on Friday, he had two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist in a 4-0 win. For the season, Novak leads the Jets in scoring with 35 points in just 26 games played. His 35 points is currently tied for the NAHL scoring lead. “Jakov played very well this week and was rewarded by his efforts. He led by example of playing the right way and took control of the play when he was on the ice not only on the score sheet, but also in all areas of his game,” said Jets head coach Gary Shuchuk.
2nd Star: Evan Fear, G, Springfield Jr. Blues
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): David Kaplan, F, Kenai River Brown Bears – Markuss Komuls, D, Kenai River Brown Bears – Luke Orysiuk, D, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Jeff Skinner, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Noah Wilson, D, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
South Division Star of the Week: Evan Somoza, forward, Odessa Jackalopes
After a three-game weekend sweep of the Amarillo Bulls, the Odessa Jackalopes find themselves firmly in 2nd place in the South Division. One of the big contributors this weekend was forward Evan Somoza. The 6’0/170 lbs. native of Simi Valley, California, had five points in the three-game sweep of the Bulls, which also including scoring a goal in each of the wins. On Friday, Somoza, had a goal in regulation and then the shootout-winning goal in a 3-2 shootout home win. On Saturday, Somoza had another goal in a 3-2 win in Amarillo and then on Sunday, he saved his best for last as he had the game-winning goal and two assists in a 5-2 win, which completed the sweep. The former NAPHL’er leads the Jackalopes in scoring this season with 31 points in 32 games and has recorded a point in eight of his last nine games. “Evan came back from the holiday break refreshed and ready to go. He used his speed well and when he had the opportunities he finished them,” said Jackalopes head coach Greg Gatto.
2nd Star: Matt Brown, F, Odessa Jackalopes
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Gueorgui Feduolov, F, Shreveport Mudbugs – Dominick Procopio, D, Shreveport Mudbugs