NAHL announces Bauer Hockey 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 May 2, 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.
Central Division Star of the Week: Payton Matsui, Forward, Aberdeen Wings
The NAHL’s leading scorer, Aberdeen Wings forward Payton Matsui, 21, was at it again this past weekend as the Wings picked up a road sweep of the St. Cloud Norsemen. The 5’8/160 lbs. native of Lakeville, MN, had two goals and an assist in the series, bringing his league-leading point total to 60. On Friday, the Alaska-Fairbanks recruit had an assist in a 4-1 win. On Saturday, he had two goals, including the game-winning goal, in a 3-2 win. “Payton has been a big-time gamer this season. His passion and enthusiasm is contagious throughout our dressing room. This week Payton elevated his game once again to help us achieve four points. We’ll look to him to keep the momentum going in this final stretch of the season,” said Wings head coach Scott Langer.
2nd Star: Ryan O’Neill, F, St. Cloud Norsemen
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Grant Ahcan, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Kyle Gaffney, F, Aberdeen Wings – Christian Galatz, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Peter Jacobs, F, Austin Bruins – Hudson Hodges, G, Austin Bruins – Donte Lawson, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Ryan Taylor, F, Bismarck Bobcats
East Division Star of the Week: Christian Stoever, Goaltender, New Jersey Titans
New Jersey Titans goalie Christian Stoever, 21, was solid between the pipes during a weekend series in Maryland against the Black Bears. The 6’3/165 lbs. native of Northville, MI, allowed just two goals on 62 shots during the weekend split. On Friday, the Bowling Green recruit made 25 saves in a 2-1 loss. On Saturday, he stopped all 35 shots that came his way for his second shutout of the season in a 5-0 win. For the year, Stoever has posted a 13-5-2 record for the Titans, with a 2.53 goals against average and .933 save percentage, which currently ranks 3rd among NAHL goaltenders. “Christian has continued his strong play for our team. He has been a stabilizing force since joining us in February. He was stellar all weekend in Maryland for us and helped secure two critical points,” said Titans head coach Craig Doremus.
2nd Star: Cannon Green, F, Maine Nordiques
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Ricky Boysen, F, Northeast Generals – Aidan Connolly, F, Maine Nordiques – Ryan Gordon, F, Northeast Generals – Liam Gross, G, Johnstown Tomahawks – Will Margel, F, Johnstown Tomahawks – Edvard Nordlund, G, Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Zach Murray, Forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
The Fairbanks Ice Dogs continued their home stand this past weekend in a series split against the Chippewa Steel. Rookie forward Zach Murray, 19, was a factor in both games. On Friday, the 6’2/165 lbs. native of Arlington, VA, and NAPHL grad, scored the game-winning goal in a 6-0 shutout win. On Saturday, Murray had his team’s lone goal in a 5-1 loss. For the season, Murray has recorded 14 points (4 goals, 10 assists) in 36 games played to date. “Zach provided energy throughout the weekend. He was strong in the face off dot and provided offensive support. We need players like him to step up at this time of the year,” said Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart.
2nd Star: Brandon Lajoie, F, Kenai River Brown Bears
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jasper Lester, D, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Lucas Wahlin, F, Kenai River Brown Bears
South Division Star of the Week: Joe Mack, Forward, Shreveport Mudbugs
Shreveport Mudbugs forward Joe Mack, 21, had a busy and productive week, appearing in four games and recording six points. The 6’2/200 lbs. native of New Hudson, MI, had three goals and three assists in the four games and was also a +2. On Tuesday, Mack had an assist in a 4-1 road win in Amarillo. The next night against the Bulls, Mack had a goal and an assist in a 5-0 win. Then in a weekend road series against the Lone Star Brahmas, Mack had two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist in a 5-3 win on Saturday, which put Shreveport on the brink of winning the South Division regular season title. For the season, Mack is currently tied for 3rd in team scoring with 35 points in 42 games played. “Joe’s been firing on all cylinders lately. With limited practice for our team lately he’s managed to find a way to stay hot. His line mates compliment him well and they are contributing in all areas of the game. His commitment to doing extra work with everything we do has been paying off for him,” said Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell.
2nd Star: Owen Baumgartner, D, Wichita Falls Warriors
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Joey Baez, F, Lone Star Brahmas – Owen Bartoszkiewicz, G, Wichita Falls Warriors – Braiden Dorfman, F, Shreveport Mudbugs – Zach Purcell, F, Lone Star Brahmas