The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its Players of the Week, sponsored by SBK Hockey, for the week ending Feb. 20.
SBK HOCKEY/NORTH PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Alec Shields - Traverse City North Stars
Traverse City forward Alec Shields rang up three goals and two assists as the North Stars skated to a two-game sweep over Port Huron. On Friday, the Moon Township, Pa., native picked up an assist on Connor Schmidt’s game-winning goal. The next night, the 19-year-old recorded a hat trick, including the game-winning marker, and an assist as the North Stars bested the Fighting Falcons, 5-1. He was also a plus-4 on the weekend.
“Alec had a strong weekend,” said North Stars head coach Anthony Palumbo. “He really stepped up for us Saturday and dominated the game. When Alec is at his best, he can really be a game-changer.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Chicago forward Chad Spiller; Janesville forward Pijus Rulevicius; Motor City forward Drew Slanton
SBK HOCKEY/SOUTH PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Justin Hussar - Topeka RoadRunners
Topeka forward Justin Hussar connected for three goals and three assists as the RoadRunners celebrated a two-game sweep over Springfield. On Friday, the Lancaster, N.Y., native recorded a hat trick, including the game-winning goal, and two assists in a 6-4 victory. The next night, the 18-year-old picked up another assist as the RoadRunners doubled up Jr. Blues, 4-2. The Merrimack College recruit was also a plus-6 for the weekend.
“Justin played very well both nights,” said RoadRunners assistant coach R.J. Enga. “He was able to capitalize on almost all of his chances on Friday and created just as many on Saturday. His scoring ability continues to develop and his entire line did a great job.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Texas forward Jack Prince; Topeka forward Michael Hill; Wichita Falls forward Ryan Frost
SBK HOCKEY/CENTRAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Conner Gaarder - Coulee Region Chill
Coulee Region forward Conner Gaarder struck for three goals and two assists as the Chill fashioned a 1-0-1 mark against Bismarck. On Friday, the Edina, Minn., native picked up a pair of assists in a 4-3 overtime loss. The next night, the 19-year-old recorded a hat trick, including the game-winning goal, as the Chill bested the Bobcats, 5-3. He was also a plus-2 on the weekend.
SBK HOCKEY/WEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Michael DiPuma - Wenatchee Wild
Wenatchee forward Michael DiPuma came through with two goals and an assist as the Wild skated to a two-game sweep over Dawson Creek. On Friday, the Chicago native scored a pair of goals in a 4-1 victory. The next night, the 20-year-old picked up an assist as the Wild again downed the Rage, 4-1.
"Michael has not only been a steady offensive producer, but a leader in the locker room for us all season long," said Wild assistant coach Chris Clark. "He's really been outstanding for us the past few weeks and we expect even better from him as we finish the last 10 games and head into the playoffs."
HONORABLE MENTION: Kenai River forwards Bobby Murphy and Jesse Ramsey
SBK HOCKEY/GOALIE OF THE WEEK
Keegan Asmundson - Austin Bruins
Austin goaltender Keegan Asmundson backstopped the Bruins to a two-game sweep over Alexandria, turning aside 62 of 65 shots. On Friday, the Mayville, N.D., native made 36 saves in a 3-2 victory. The next night, the 20-year-old stopped 26 shots as the Bruins downed the Blizzard, 7-1.
“Keegan has been the backbone of our team since Christmas and he continued his solid play last weekend with two great efforts,” said Bruins head coach Chris Tok. “He’ll be a great addition to a college program next season.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Janesville’s Tony Kujava; Kenai River’s Mathias Dahlstrom; Texas’ Jimmy Kruger; Topeka’s Eric Rohrkemper; Wenatchee's Brandon Jaeger