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 16, 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
For the second consecutive week, Aberdeen Wings goalie Matt Vernon, 20, has earned the Central Division star honors. The 5’10/170 lbs. native of San Jose, California, picked up two more wins as he helped Wings extend their winning streak to seven straight games and stay in 1st place with a road sweep of the Minot Minotauros this past weekend. Vernon, who leads the NAHL with 18 wins this season, stopped all 33 shots that came his way for his third shutout of the season in a 3-0 win on Thursday, and then made 28 saves in a 7-1 win on Friday. For the weekend, Vernon stopped 61 of 62 shots. “One of the primary keys to success is consistency, and that's why Matt has had such a strong start to his season. He's consistent in his preparation, and in all phases of his daily life. No question, he's earned everything he's achieved. Matt was the backbone behind another good weekend,” said Wings head coach Scott Langer.
2nd Star: Hugh Larkin, F, Austin Bruins
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Nate Horn, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Dylan Johnson, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Austin Jouppi, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Lane Krenzen, D, Austin Bruins – Joe Strada, F, Aberdeen Wings – Ryan Taylor, F, Bismarck Bobcats
East Division Star of the Week: Carson Briere, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks
The forward of the month in November, Johnstown forward Carson Briere, 19, picked up right where he left off last month with another great weekend to help Johnstown pick up a sweep of the New Jersey Titans. The 5’8/175 lbs. native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had eight points (3 goals, 5 assists) in the two wins. On Friday, he had two goals and three assists in a 7-3 win and then on Saturday, he had a goal and two assists in a 6-4 win. For the season, Briere in 2nd in NAHL scoring with 48 points in 32 games played. “Carson has been a consistent contributor to our offense all season long and this week was no different. He was dangerous seemingly every time he was on the ice with and without the puck. He seemed to have some extra drive in his game and as usual, was right in the thick of the important moments of the game. I am very happy for him as he continues to provide a big offensive spark for our team. Going into the Christmas break it was important for our team to be successful and Carson hand a huge hand in helping us do so,” said Johnstown head coach Mike Letizia.
2nd Star: Luke Mountain, F, Maryland Black Bears
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Daylon Mannon, F, Maryland Black Bears – Bennett Stockdale, F. Johnstown Tomahawks
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Josh Langford, goaltender, Chippewa Steel
University of Maine recruit and Chippewa Steel goaltender Josh Langford, 17, helped his team to a weekend home sweep of the Kenai River Brown Bears this past week. The 6’5/185 lbs. native of Frisco, Texas, faced 65 shots in the two games and allowed just a single goal, making 64 saves in the two wins. On Friday, Langford stopped all 36 shots that came his way through regulation and overtime and then stopped all three shooters in the shootout for a 1-0 win, which was his second shutout of the year. On Saturday, he made 28 saves in a 3-1 win. “Josh has been a rock for us all season and it’s great to see his hard work pay off this past weekend against Kenai. He gave us the opportunity to win both games,” said Steel interim head coach Carter Foguth.
2nd Star: Brenden Olson, F, Janesville Jets
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Cole Brady, G, Janesville Jets - Max Brainin, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Parker Brown, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Brandon Puricelli, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Nate Reid, G, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Camden Thiesing, F, Chippewa Steel
South Division Star of the Week: Jake Stella, forward, Corpus Christi IceRays
The Corpus Christi IceRays continued their best stretch of the season, picking up a three-game road sweep in Odessa this past weekend to extend their winning streak to six straight games. Forward Jake Stella, 20, was the star this week for his club as he picked up six ponts (4 goals, 2 assists) and was a +5 in the three wins. On Thursday, the 6’0/190 lbs. native of Karlstad, Sweden, had a goal in a 7-3 win. The next night, he had a goal and an assist in a 6-1 win, and then on Saturday he had two goals and an assist in a 7-5 win to complete the three-game sweep. For the season, Stella is tied for 4th in team scoring with 19 points in 27 games played. “Jake has been our best forward all season. He plays a complete game and it’s nice to see him get rewarded with points this week. He has a very hard shot with a quick release that makes him dangerous and we were able to see that all week,” said IceRays head coach Ryan Cruthers.
2nd Star: Gueorgui Feduolov, F, Shreveport Mudbugs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Blake Evennou, D, Lone Star Brahmas – Cooper Fensterstock, F, Amarillo Bulls – Anthony Firriolo, D, Corpus Christi IceRays – Ethan Harrison, F, Shreveport Mudbugs – Logan Jenuwine, F, Amarillo Bulls