The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Bauer Hockey for the week ending March 11, 2018. 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: Matt Vernon, goaltender, Aberdeen Wings
A new week, a different goalie has shined for the Aberdeen Wings, who are rolling right now. This past week, it was 19-year-old Matt Vernon, who helped the Wings to another weekend sweep and push their winning streak to five straight games. The 5’11/175 lbs. native of Calgary, Alberta, got the start in both wins over the Bismarck Bobcats this past weekend. On Friday, Vernon made 22 saves in a 4-1 road win in Bismarck, and then on Saturday, he allowed just a single goal on 20 shots in another 4-1 win at home against the Bobcats. For the 2017-18 season, Vernon has a 14-4-1 in 19 games played with a 2.17 goals against average and a 90.4% save percentage. “Matt has been an important part of our team on and off the ice since his arrival earlier this season. His ability to elevate his play in the most important games is a trait of an elite goalie that can move on to NCAA and Pro hockey in the future,” said Wings head coach Scott Langer.
2nd Star: Miroslav Mucha, F, Minot Minotauros
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Andrew Bellant, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Josh Boyer, F, Brookings Blizzard – Devon Fields, D, Austin Bruins – Travis Kothenbeutel, F, Austin Bruins – Grant Loven, F, Minot Minotauros – Zach Noble, F, Aberdeen Wings – Johnny Roberts, G, Bismarck Bobcats
East Division Star of the Week: Ryan Keane, goaltender, Philadelphia Rebels
It had been over a month since Rebels goalie Ryan Keane, 19, had seen action, so his perfect return this past weekend was just what he and the Rebels needed as they continued to win and close in on the East Division regular season title. The 5’9/160 lbs. native of Coppell, Texas, was perfect in a two-game sweep of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. On Friday, Keane stopped all 24 shots that came his way for his second shutout of the season in a 3-0 win. On Saturday, at the Wells Fargo Center, Keane had to make just 14 saves in another 3-0 shutout, his third shutout of the season. For the season, Keane has posted a 20-5-2 record with a 1.74 goals against average and a 93.0% save percentage. “Ryan had not played in last six games and for him to play the way he did was fantastic. He made some big stops against Grade A opportunities early in the game on Friday night when we really needed it,” said Rebels head coach Joe Coombs.
2nd Star: Samuel Solensky, F, Johnstown Tomahawks
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Joe Kile, F, Johnstown Tomahawks – Jensen Zerban, F, Philadelphia Rebels
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Jakov Novak, forward, Janesville Jets
It was another momentous-filled weekend for the NAHL’s leading scorer, Jakov Novak. The Bentley University recruit and Top Prospects forward had another big weekend as he helped the Jets to a weekend road sweep in Kenai River against the Brown Bears. The 19-year-old native of Riverside, Ontario, recorded five points (4 goals, 1 assists) and was +2 in the sweep, which saw set a new single-season scoring record in Janesville Jets history. Novak (6’3/201) had two goals and an assist in a Friday’s 6-2 win, and on Saturday he had two more goals in a 5-1 win. For the season, Novak leads in the NAHL in points with 65 points and 31 goals. “Jakov lead again by example on the ice and let his play dictate his success he had. He has been competing hard and been getting rewarded by playing the right way. When he plays well other players on our team feed off his play and it's been part of our success this season,” said Jets head coach Gary Shuchuk.
2nd Star: Kyle Mayhew, D, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Connor Chilton, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Daniel Lebedeff, G, Janesville Jets – Brandon Puricelli, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Patrick Smyth, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Emil Zetterquist, G, Coulee Region Chill
South Division Star of the Week: Jared Domin, forward, Amarillo Bulls
As the Amarillo Bulls battled for their playoff lives this past weekend, forward Jared Domin answered the call to help his team pick up three valuable points. The 21-year-old native of Novi, Michigan, had five points in the three games, which included a goal and four assists, to go along with a +4 rating. On Friday, Domin (6’0/185) had two assists in a 3-2 win over the Corpus Christi IceRays. On Saturday, Domin scored Amarillo’s lone goal in a 4-1 loss against the IceRays. On Sunday, Domin assisted on two of the Bulls’ three goals in a close 4-3 overtime loss in Odessa. For the season, the Top Prospects forward has recorded 23 points in 36 games played, which includes 17 points in 21 games with the Bulls. “Jared has been a great addition to our program since he joined us. He is a very skilled forward that plays a physical North/South game. I have no doubt that he will be a tremendous addition to whichever NCAA program that he commits to,” said Bulls head coach Rocky Russo.
2nd Star: Ryan Burnett, F, Shreveport Mudbugs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jayson Dimizio, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Jordan Fader, F, Shreveport Mudbugs – Steven Ipri, F, Lone Star Brahmas – Aidan Spellacy, F, Lone Star Brahmas – Conor Yawney, D, Corpus Christi IceRays