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 November 24, 2019. The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2019-20 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: Ben Almquist, forward, Austin Bruins
In a weekend home-and-home sweep of the Minnesota Magicians, Austin Bruins forward Ben Almquist, 20, had five points, which included three goals, two assists and a +6 rating. On Friday, the 6’0/175 lbs. native of Victoria, Minnesota, had a goal and an assist in a 4-0 home win over the Magicians. On Saturday, Almquist had two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist in a 5-2 road win. For the season, Almquist leads the Bruins in scoring with 20 points in 22 games played. “Ben had a great weekend for us. I thought Ben and his line mates worked really hard to earn scoring chances. He plays in all situations for us and leads by example. We hope that the NCAA schools see that and it earns him Division 1 scholarship,” said Bruins head coach Steve Howard.
2nd Star: Brett Miller, G, Austin Bruins
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Connor Beatty, F, Aberdeen Wings – Ethan Gauer, D, Bismarck Bobcats – Sam Metcalf, G, St. Cloud Blizzard – Cade Neilson, F, Aberdeen Wings – Tim Piechowski, F, Bismarck Bobcats
East Division Star of the Week: Christian Gorscak, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks
Johnstown Tomahawks forward and Niagara University recruit Christian Gorscak, 19, had a big weekend to help his club to a weekend home sweep of the Maryland Black Bears. The 5’11/185 lbs. native of Jeanette, Pennsylvania, had six points (2 goals, 4 assists) and was +3 in the two wins. On Friday, Gorscak, who also an NAPHL grad, had a goal and three assists in a 5-4 overtime win. On Saturday, he scored the overtime-winning goal and had an assist in another 5-4 win. For the season, Gorscak leads his team in scoring with 28 points in 26 games played. “Christian had a fantastic weekend for us. He scored some big goals and both games were tough and emotional. His game has seemed to elevate since committing to Niagara University earlier this season, which is the sign of a humble, driven player. It has been super exciting as a coach to watch the strides he has made so far this year and we will be relying on him heavily the rest of this season,” said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.
2nd Star: Hampus Rydqvist, D, Maryland Black Bears
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Nikita Asylaev, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Aden Bruich, F, Maryland Black Bears – Matt Cameron, F, New Jersey Titans – Cannon Green, F, Maine Nordiques – Lincoln Hatten, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Noah Kane, F, Maine Nordiques – Renars Karkls, D, Jamestown Rebels – Max Kouznetsov, F, Johnstown Tomahawks – Mitch Machlitt, F, New Jersey Titans – Noah West, G, Jamestown Rebels
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Landon Pavlisin, goaltender, Kenai River Brown Bears
There may be no hotter team in the NAHL than the Kenai River Brown Bears, who increased their lead atop the Midwest Division thanks to a three-game weekend home sweep of their rival, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Brown Bears goalie Landon Pavlisin, 20, started and won all three games, helping the Brown Bears extend their winning streak to 10 straight games. The 6’0/170 lbs. native of Orange, California, stopped 116 of 126 shots in the three games, and has won his last 10 straight starts. That included 34 saves in a 5-3 win on Thursday, 38 saves in a 6-4 win on Friday, and 44 saves in a 4-3 shootout win on Saturday. Pavlisin currently leads the NAHL with 16 wins. “Landon was outstanding this weekend and made a number of timely saves. He is a big reason for our team’s current winning streak and has given us a chance to stay in every game,” said Brown Bears head coach Kevin Murdock.
2nd Star: Alex Proctor, G, Springfield
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Laker Aldridge, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Matt Koethe, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Grant Riley, G, Janesville Jets – Henry Sweeney, F, Janesville Jets – Caden Villegas, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Preston Weeks, D, Kenai River Brown Bears
South Division Star of the Week: Matt Guerra, forward, Lone Star Brahmas
Lone Star Brahmas forward and leading scorer Matt Guerra, 20, helped his team widen their lead in the South Division with a three-game weekend road sweep of the New Mexico Ice Wolves. The 5’10/180 lbs. native of Sanford, Florida, had five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in the three wins. On Thursday, Guerra had a goal in a 5-4 win. On Friday, Guerra had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win, and then on Saturday he had two assists in a 4-0 win. For the season, Guerra leads the team in scoring with 29 points in 23 games played. “I thought Matt played a good 200-foot game this weekend. He showed a lot of skill and worked really hard in all three games. I think that type of effort and play will make him very successful at the next level,” said Brahmas head coach Dan Wildfong.
2nd Star: Jordan Venegoni, F, Amarillo Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Cayden Bailey, G, Lone Star Brahmas – Billy Feczko, F, Shreveport Mudbugs – Alex Gomez, F, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Giovanni Procopio, F, Shreveport Mudbugs – Niclas Puikkonen, F, Amarillo Bulls