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NAHL announces Bauer Hockey Stars of the Week

April 12, 2021

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Bauer Hockey for the week ending April 11, 2021.  The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2020-21 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.


Watch: Highlights for the NAHL Stars of the Week for April 5-11


Central Division Star of the Week: Jacob Zacharewicz, Goaltender, Minnesota Wilderness

Minnesota Wilderness goalie and Brown University recruit Jacob Zacharewicz, 20, won both of his starts this past weekend to help keep his team in a playoff spot in the Central Division. The 6’2/195 lbs. native of Riverhead, NY, allowed just three goals in two home wins over Bismarck and Minot. On Thursday, Zacharewicz made 33 saves in a 3-2 win over the Bobcats. On Saturday, he made 20 saves in a 2-1 overtime win over the Minotauros. For the season, Zacharewicz has a 7-9-2 recrd with a 2.51 goals against average and a .922 save percentage. “Myself and our organization are thrilled to see Jacob be recognize for his performance this past week. He is extremely committed to has craft and gives our squad the opportunity for success every time he takes the net,” said Wilderness head coach Jon Vaillancourt.

2nd Star: Garrett Dahm, F, Austin Bruins

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Clayton Cosentino, F, Aberdeen Wings – Liam Fraser, F, Aberdeen Wings – Cooper Gay, F, St. Cloud Norsemen – George Grannis, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Jake Herter, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Connor Mylymok, F, Austin Bruins – Ryan O’Neill, F, St. Cloud Blizzard – Ryan Taylor, F, Bismarck Bobcats


East Division Star of the Week: Jake LaRusso, Forward, New Jersey Titans

New Jersey Titans forward and Colorado College commit Jake LaRusso, 19, helped the Titans get back on track with a big road sweep of the Maine Nordiques. The 5’11/180 lbs. native of Colts Neck, NJ, put up six points (4 goals, 2 assists) and  was +4 in the two wins. On Friday, LaRusso had two goals, including the game-winner, and added two assists in a 7-3 win. On Saturday, he scored two more goals, including another game-winner, in a 5-1 win. For the season, LaRusso is 2nd in team scoring with 32 points in 43 games played. “Jake stepped up huge this weekend for himself and our team. We had been struggling mightily to score and win games and Jake stepped up as a leader and veteran and set the tone for us offensively. Jake’s game has grown expediently over the past two years and this year has been much of the same. We look forward to him continuing his strong play as we surge towards the playoffs,” said Titans head coach Craig Doremus.

2nd Star: Ryan Gordon, F, Northeast Generals

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Michael Morelli, G, Maryland Black Bears – Zach Nazzarett, F, New Jersey Titans – Adam Smith, D, Northeast Generals – Philip Tornqvist, D, Maryland Black Bears


Midwest Division Star of the Week: Riley Sims, Goaltender, Janesville Jets

Janesville Jets goalie Riley Sims, 20, helped his team to two road wins this past weekend against the Minnesota Magicians. The 6’1/175 lbs. native of St. Albert, AB, helped the Jets move back into 1st place thanks to allowing just a single goal in the two wins, which included stopping 51 of 52 shots. On Friday, Sims made 26 saves in a 2-1 overtime win. On Saturday, he posted his third shutout of the season, making 25 saves in a 6-0 win. For the season, Sims has a sparkling 11-2-1 record with a 2.41 goals against average and .925 save percentage. “Riley continued to establish himself as one of the best goaltenders in the NAHL. He had back-to-back tremendous outings against a highly talented Magicians team. Riley is a future NCAA Division I goaltender, there is no doubt in my mind. He is a leader on and off the ice. He’s a tremendous goaltender and young man. We are very fortunate to have Riley and Owen backstopping us this season,” said Jets head coach Parker Burgess.

2nd Star: Nick Leyer, F, Janesville Jets

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): None


South Division Star of the Week: Matt Vermaeten, Forward, Shreveport Mudbugs

Thanks to a weekend home sweep of the Odessa Jackalopes, the Shreveport Mudbugs pushed their current winning streak to eight straight games and their lead atop the South Division to six points. This past weekend it was forward Matt Vermaeten, 20, who was the big star as the 5’10/170 lbs. native of Ottawa, ON, put up five points in the two wins. On Friday, Vermaeten had a goal in a 4-2 win. On Saturday, he recorded a hat-trick, including the game-winning goal, and added an assist in an 8-4 win. For the season, the Canisius College commit has 16 points in 29 games played. “Matt has been a great penalty killer for us all year. Instead of stopping goals it was great to see him explode offensively this past weekend.  He consistently and quietly gets every job done that the team requires him to do. I’m excited to see how this propels him forward for the remainder of the season,” said Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell.

2nd Star: Malcolm Palmer, D, Lone Star Brahmas

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Owen Bartoszkiewicz, G, Wichita Falls Warriors – Jack Collins, F, Lone Star Brahmas – Hunter Jones, F, Wichita Falls Warriors – Joe Mack, F, Shreveport Mudbugs – Nick Martino, F, Amarillo Bulls – Sean Vlasich, D, Amarillo Bulls

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