The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Bauer Hockey for the week ending October 28, 2018. The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2018-19 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: Dante Zapata, forward, Austin Bruins
With three more wins this past week, the Austin bruins continue to be the league’s hottest and best team. Third-year forward Dante Zapata, 20, had a big week as he put up six points (1 goal, 5 assists) in the three wins. The 6’1/200 lbs. native of Huntington Beach, California, began the week with a goal and two assists in a 3-1 home win over the Minnesota Wilderness on Wednesday. On Friday, Zapata had an assist in a 5-4 road win against the Chippewa Steel. On Saturday, he picked up two more assists in a 5-0 home win over the Steel. For the season, Zapata is 2nd in team scoring with 12 points in 13 games played. “This is Dante’s third season as a Bruin and he’s paid his dues. He plays the game the right way and we use him in all situations. We are hoping that a NCAA Division I program will see that potential and the fact that he can fit anywhere in their line up next season,” said Bruins head coach Steve Howard.
2nd Star: Sam Malinski, D, Bismarck Bobcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Andrew Kangas, F, Minot Minotauros – Noah Kim, D, Austin Bruins – David Raisanen, F, Minot Minotauros – Julian Timba, D, Bismarck Bobcats – Matt Vernon, G, Aberdeen Wings – Dalton Weigel, D, Aberdeen Wings
East Division Star of the Week: Samuel Solensky, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks
Veteran Johnstown Tomahawks forward Samuel Solensky, 20, not only helped his team widen their lead in the East Division and extend their winning streak to five straight games, but he also made some history in the process. The 5’10/170 lbs. native of Michalovce, Slovakia, recorded seven points (1 goal, 6 assists) in a series home sweep of the Northeast Generals and in the process became the Tomahawks all-time assists leader. Solensky had a goal and four assists in Saturday’s 8-1 win and then recorded two more assists in Sunday’s 5-4 shootout win. For the season, Solensky currently leads the NAHL in scoring with 26 points in 16 games played. “We were fortunate to get two wins on home ice this weekend and Sammy was instrumental in both wins. His ability to create offense not only for himself, but also his teammates was special. That is one of his biggest assets is that he not only can produce for himself, but he makes those around him better. His NCAA Division I interest has deservedly increased rapidly and we look for him to continue to be a huge part of our team,” said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.
2nd Star: Ryan Keane, G, Jamestown Rebels
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Carson Briere, F, Johnstown Tomahawks – Ryan Naumovski, F, New Jersey Titans – Nick Stuckless, F, Jamestown Rebels
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Andrew Kruse, defenseman, Minnesota Magicians
Thanks to three wins this past week, the Minnesota Magicians widened their lead in the Midwest Division to five points. Thanks to a career weekend from veteran blueliner Andrew Kruse, 19, the Magicians picked up a three-game weekend road sweep in Springfield. The 5’11/185 lbs. native of Delano, Minnesota, recorded five points (1 goal, 4 assists) in the three wins and was an astounding +9. That included an assist in a 5-1 win on Thursday, a goal and an assist in a 5-1 win on Friday and two assists in a 5-4 overtime win on Saturday. For the season, Kruse has seven points in 16 games played. “Andrew is a true soldier on our blueline for us. His ability to play in all situations along with his consistent work ethic and leadership are strong qualities we admire in him. He had a great weekend and helped our team succeed in many ways,” said Magicians head coach A.J. Bucchino.
2nd Star: Cameron Buhl, F, Minnesota Magicians
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Cole Brady, G, Janesville Jets – Gavin Enright, G, Kenai River Brown Bears – Markuss Komuls, D, Kenai River Brown Bears – Johnny Sorenson, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Tomas Vochozka, F, Chippewa Steel – Noah Wilson, D, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
South Division Star of the Week: Akira Schmid, goaltender, Corpus Christi IceRays
New IceRays goalie Akira Schmid, 18, paid instant dividends this past weekend as the IceRays picked up a weekend home sweep of the Kenai River Brown Bears. The 6’5/195 lbs. native of Bern, Switzerland and 2018 draft pick of the New Jersey Devils started and won both games this past weekend, allowing just three goals on 58 shots. On Friday, Schmid made 18 saves in a 3-1 win over the Brown Bears and then on Saturday, he made 37 saves in a 5-2 win. His save percentage for the weekend was .948. “Akira was very good all weekend helping us win two very important games. He played a very calm and confident style, while making big saves when needed,” said IceRays head coach Ryan Cruthers.
2nd Star: Jason Grande, G, Amarillo Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Gueorgui Feduolov, F, Shreveport Mudbugs – Ethan Harrison, F, Shreveport Mudbugs – Logan Jenuwine, F, Amarillo Bulls – Jake Stella, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Dallas Tulik, F, Topeka Pilots