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 February 24, 2019. 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: Jed Pietila, defenseman, Austin Bruins
Austin Bruins defenseman Jed Pietila, 20, helped his club pick up a big weekend home-and-home sweep of the Minnesota Wilderness. The 6’0/180 lbs. native of Howell, Michigan, recorded three goals, including both game-winners, and an assist in the two wins. On Friday, Pietila had two goals, including the game-winner in a 3-1 win, and then on Saturday, he scored the OT-winner and added an assist in a 4-3 win. For the season, Pietila leads all Bruins blueliners with 28 points in 46 games played. “Jed has really stepped up for us this year and established himself as a puck-moving defenseman. He scored some big goals for us this weekend and we expect him to continue to play well down the stretch,” said Bruins head coach Steve Howard.
2nd Star: Ryan Taylor, F, Bismarck Bobcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brad Belisle, F, Aberdeen Wings – Jack Caruso, G, Brookings Blizzard - Daniel Chaldek, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Nick Grabko, G, Minot Minotauros – Dylan Johnson, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Kaleb Johnson, G, Minnesota Wilderness – Justin Kelley, F, Minot Minotauros – Kyle McClellan, G, Austin Bruins – John Sladic, F, Aberdeen Wings – Bud Winter, F, Brookings Blizzard
East Division Star of the Week: David Fessenden, goaltender, Northeast Generals
Thanks in large part to the goaltending of David Fessenden, 20, the Northeast Generals gave their playoff hopes a huge shot in the arm with a weekend road sweep of the Jamestown Rebels. The 6’6/240 lbs. native of Parker, Colorado and Alabama-Huntsville recruit stopped 58 of 59 shots during the weekend, allowing just a single goal in the two wins. On Friday, Fessenden, an NAPHL grad, stopped 25 of 26 shots in a 4-1 win, and then on Saturday he stopped all 33 shots that came his way for his first shutout of the season in a 1-0 win over the Rebels. For the season, Fessenden has a 13-9-7 record with a 2.99 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. “David was unbelievable for us this past weekend. He made some huge saves at critical parts of the games that put us in a great position to win both games. He is playing his best hockey and we are going to rely on him as we make our playoff push down the stretch,” said Generals GM Bryan Erikson.
2nd Star: Colin Price, F, Johnstown Tomahawks
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Oliver Benwell, F, Johnstown Tomahawks – Max Borst, F, Maryland Black Bears – Aurel Naus, F, Northeast Generals
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Matt Stanton, forward, Minnesota Magicians
Thanks to a couple of wins this past weekend, the Minnesota Magicians got back on track and stayed in 1st place in the Midwest Division. Forward Matt Stanton, 20, played a big role in the wins as the 6’4/205 lbs. native of Stillwater, Minnesota, recorded six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in a weekend home-and-home sweep of the Chippewa Steel. On Friday, Stanton had a goal in a 3-0 road win and then on Saturday, he had a goal and four assists in a 6-5 win. For the season, Stanton is 3rd in team scoring with 38 points in 46 games played. “Matt has a great weekend finding himself on the score sheet. He has the ability produce on a consistent basis as an experienced forward. We hope he continues that down the stretch,” said Magicians head coach AJ Bucchino.
2nd Star: Nikita Kozyrev, F, Springfield Jr. Blues
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Cole Brady, G, Janesville Jets – Ethan Haider, G, Minnesota Magicians – Matt Koethe, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Brandon Puricelli, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Jonathan Sorenson, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Michael Spethmann, F, Kenai River Brown Bears
South Division Star of the Week: Alex Peterson, forward, Amarillo Bulls
In the lone series in the South Division this weekend, the Amarillo Bulls moved closer to clinching the division title with a weekend home sweep of the Odessa Jackalopes. Forward and Holy Cross recruit Alex Peterson, 20, had a big weekend as the 5’11/183 lbs. native of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, recorded four goals in the two wins. On Friday, Peterson had a hat-trick, which included the game-winning goal, in an 8-2 win and then on Saturday, he had another goal in a 4-2 win. For the season, Peterson is currently 3rd in team scoring with 48 points in 46 games played. “Alex is such an important part of our team. He is a leader on and off the ice, and a catalyst every time he steps on the ice. His work ethic and compete level are second to none and set a tremendous example for his teammates. We are very proud of Alex and look forward to watching him continue to develop and help our team succeed,” said Bulls head coach Rocky Russo.
2nd Star: Matt Allen, F, Amarillo Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): None