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 January 5, 2020. 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: Dante Sheriff, Forward, Austin Bruins
Another week, another standout performance from Austin Bruins forward Dante Sheriff, 20, who for the second straight week, earned Central Star honors thanks to the Bruins road sweep of Bismarck. The 5’11/175 lbs. native of Woodbridge, Ontario, and Mercyhurst recruit had another five-point week helping Austin to two more wins. On Friday, Sheriff had an assist in a 2-1 win. On Satuday, Sheriff had two goals and two assists in a 4-3 overtime win. For the season, Sheriff leads the Bruins in scoring with 36 points in 30 games played. “Dante had another great weekend for us. We were short some forwards due to some players being sick and he (along with the rest of our players) stepped up in a big way. We expect Dante to keep it up and stay focused on continuing his hot streak,” said Bruins head coach Steve Howard.
2nd Star: Cole O’Connell, F, Minot Minotauros
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tyler Bost, G, St. Cloud Blizzard – Pierson Brandon, D, Aberdeen Wings – Cooper Haar, F, Aberdeen Wings – Joseph Harguindeguy, F, Minot Minotauros – Ryan Nelson, D, Minnesota Wilderness – Tiernan Shoudy, F, Austin Bruins – Tyler Watkins, F, Minnesota Wilderness
East Division Star of the Week: Christian Gorscak, Forward, Johnstown Tomahawks
Johnstown Tomahawks forward Christian Gorscak, 19, led his club to a pair of home wins early in the week over the Maine Nordiques. The 5’11/185 lbs. native of Jeannette, Pennsylvania and NAPHL grad had seven points (4 goals, 3 assists) in the two wins. On Monday, Gorscak had two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist in a 4-2 win, and then on Tuesday, he scored two more goals and added two more assists in a 7-2 win. Gorscak, who is committed to play NCAA Division 1 hockey at Niagara, is currently 2nd in NAHL scoring with 42 points in 35 games played. “Christian’s play for our team this week has been reflective of what he has been doing for a long time. He seems to continue to raise his game to a new level every time he is on the ice. We had a quick, important two game series coming out of our holiday break and he delivered in many ways helping us pick up wins both nights. The way he has continued to grow since committing to Niagara has been extremely encouraging because I really believe the sky is the limit for him,” said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.
2nd Star: Jordan Strand, D, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Ethan Heidepriem, F, Maryland Black Bears – Jon Howe, G, Jamestown Rebels – Thomas Jarman, D, Maryland Black Bears – Johnny Kaljian, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights – Max Kouznetsnov, F, Johnstown Tomahawks – Jared Lambright, D, Northeast Generals – Valentino Passarelli, F, Jamestown Rebels – Jonathan Young, F, Northeast Generals
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Mason Plante, Forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
The Fairbanks Ice Dogs opened up 2020 with a weekend road sweep in Maine against the Nordiques. Rookie forward Mason Plante, 19, had three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in the two wins and was a +1. On Friday, the 5’9/165 lbs. native of Marshall, Minnesota, had an assist in a 5-4 win. On Saturday, he recorded a goal and an assist in a 7-3 win. For the season, Plante 18 points in 33 games played. “Mason came back from break with a lot of determination. As an organization, we feel he has continuously gotten better and it is because he is intrinsically motivated. He was moving at a faster pace and thinking at a higher level,” said Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart.
2nd Star: Jonathan Panisa, F, Springfield Jr. Blues
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Laker Aldridge, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Brett Oberle, D, Minnesota Magicians – Jake Seitz, F, Minnesota Magicians – Caden Villegas, F, Springfield Jr. Blues
South Division Star of the Week: Joey Baez, Forward, Lone Star Brahmas
It was an explosive weekend for Lone Star Brahmas forward Joey Baez, 19, who led his team to a three-game weekend home sweep of the Odessa Jackalopes. The 5’9/175 lbs. native of Tampa, Florida, recorded eight points, including seven goals in the three wins. On Friday, Baez had a hat-trick, which included the game-winning goal, in a 9-0 win. On Saturday, he recorded another hat-trick, which also included another game-winning goal in a 7-0 win. On Sunday, Baez scored again and added an assist in a 10-1. For the season, the Alabama-Huntsville recruit leads all NAHL players with 24 goals this season and ranks tied for 3rd in league scoring with 40 points in 37 games played. “Joey has been playing unbelievable. He is seeing the ice really well, playing the right way, and scoring goals. He is playing both sides of puck and it is fun to watch right now,” said Brahmas head coach Dan Wildfong.
2nd Star: Gleb Murtazin, F, Amarillo Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Cayden Bailey, G, Lone Star Brahmas – Noah Carlin, D, Amarillo Bulls – Emil Gabrielson, F, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Quinn Green, F, Topeka Pilots – Garrett MacKay, G, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Connor Zilisch, F, Topeka Pilots