NAHL announces Bauer Hockey Divisional Stars of the Week
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Bauer Hockey for the week ending December 9, 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: Matt Vernon, goaltender, Aberdeen Wings
With three more wins this past week, Aberdeen Wings goalie Matt Vernon, 20, is now the NAHL leader in the category with 16 wins so far this season. The 5’10/170 lbs. native of San Jose, California, helped Wings extend their winning streak to five straight games and move into 1st place with a win in Brookings on Tuesday and then a weekend home sweep of the Minnesota Wilderness on Friday and Saturday. On Tuesday, Vernon made 30 saves in a 2-1 win against the Blizzard. On Friday, he stopped all 29 shots that came his way for his second shutout of the season in a 1-0 win over the Wilderness, and then on Saturday, he made 33 saves in a 4-3 win. For the week, Vernon stopped 92 of 96 shots. “Matt has been a work horse for us here in the first half. He came into the season in great shape and very driven to prove he is one of the league’s best. Matt’s wins and numbers this weekend are a testament to his work ethic,” said Wings head coach Scott Langer.
2nd Star: Austin Jouppi, F, Bismarck Bobcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Cam Babiak, D, Brookings Blizzard – Justin Kelley, F, Minot Minotauros – Vince Marino, F, Brookings Blizzard – Kyle McClellan, G, Austin Bruins – Alex Pollock, F, Bismarck Bobcats – David Raisanen, F, Minot Minotauros - Dante Sheriff, F, Austin Bruins – Dalton Weigel, D, Aberdeen Wings
East Division Star of the Week: Brad Jenion, defenseman, Maryland Black Bears
In a pair of road games against the New Jersey Titans, Jenion, 20, helped his team snap a losing skid, contributing on both ends of the ice. The 6’4/215 lbs. native of Rushton Spencer, England, recorded four points (1 goal, 3 assists) and was a +4 in the two games. On Saturday, Jenion had two assists in a 5-3 loss. The next day, Jenion had the game-winning goal and another assist in a 4-2 win to snap their losing skid and stay close in the playoff race in the East Division. Jenion, who started the season with Shreveport in the NAHL, has five points in seven games with the Black Bears and nine points overall this season. “Brad has come into Maryland and has brought a very strong defensive and physical component to our team. He is a fierce competitor, a ‘team-first’ player, and it was nice to see him create some things on the offensive side as well. It is very rewarding for us to see him receive this accolade and it is well-deserved,” said Maryland head coach Clint Mylymok.
2nd Star: Ryan Naumovski, F, New Jersey Titans
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Oliver Benwell, F, Johnstown Tomahawks – Jeff Bertrand, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Brady Gaudette, F, Northeast Generals – Luke Mountain, F, Maryland Black Bears – Brett Postula, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Matt Rutigliano, F, Northeast Generals – Alex Wilkins, D, Johnstown Tomahawks
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Cole Brady, goaltender, Janesville Jets
The Janesville Jets and goaltender Cole Brady, 17, got back to the winning side of things this weekend as they posted a 3-0 win on Friday over the visiting Fairbanks Ice Dogs to help the team move back into 2nd place in the Midwest Division. The Arizona State recruit and 6’5/165 lbs. native of Toronto, Ontario, stopped all 22 shots that came his way in the win for his third shutout of the season. Brady’s 12 wins rank 4th in the NAHL and he has a 2.35 goals against average and a .925 save percentage in 21 appearances so far this season. “Cole has been outstanding for us and has been giving us a chance to win and be competitive in all of our games. His play gives the rest of the team confidence and he is a true competitor out there,” said Jets head coach Gary Shuchuk.
2nd Star: Cameron Buhl, F, Minnesota Magicians
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jake Borgida, D, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Parker Brown, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Gavin Enright, G, Kenai River Brown Bears – Andrew Kruse, D, Minnesota Magicians – Brenden Olson, F, Janesville Jets – Michael Spethmann, F, Kenai River Brown Bears
South Division Star of the Week: Nick Seitz, forward, Corpus Christi IceRays
The Corpus Christi IceRays stayed in the thick of the NAHL’s South Division playoff race thanks to a weekend home sweep of the Odessa Jackalopes. Forward Nick Seitz, 18, played a big role in the sweep, totaling five points (3 goals, 2 assists) and a +3 rating in the two wins. On Friday, the 6’1/185 lbs. native of New York, New York, had a hat-trick and an assist in an 8-2 win over the Jackalopes. On Saturday, the Princeton University recruit had an assist in a 5-2 win. In 11 games so far this season with the IceRays, Seitz has recorded 11 points. “Nick raised his compete level this weekend and it led to success. He was doing all the little things right and possessed the puck all weekend. He has a heavy shot with a quick release and when he puts it all together these are the type of results he should expect,” said IceRays head coach Ryan Cruthers.
2nd Star: Michael Muschitiello, F, Topeka Pilots
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Sam Best, G, Corpus Christi IceRays – Leo Chuard, G, Shreveport Mudbugs – Jason Grande, G, Amarillo Bulls – Gagik Malakyan, D, Amarillo Bulls – C.J. Regula, D, Shreveport Mudbugs – Connor Zilisch, F, Topeka Pilots