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 September 26, 2021. The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2021-22 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: Ryan O’Neill, Forward, St. Cloud Norsemen
St. Cloud Norsemen forward Ryan O’Neill, 20, continued his hot start to the season with another big weekend as the Norsemen posted a weekend home sweep of the Bismarck Bobcats. The 5’10/175 lbs. native of Roseville, MN, had six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in the two wins to help the Norsemen improve their record to 3-1-0 on the season. On Friday, had the game-winning goal and an assist in a 5-4 win. On Saturday, he had a power play goal and three assists in an 8-3 win. For the season, O’Neill is tied for the team lead with 8 points in four game played. “Ryan had a great weekend. He continues to get better, and we rely on his leadership,” said Norsemen head coach Corey Millen.
2nd Star: Jackson Yee, F, Aberdeen Wings
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Simone Dadie, F, North Iowa Bulls – Logan Kittleson, F, St. Cloud Norsemen – Kyle Kozma, G, Aberdeen Wings – Jens Richards, F, Austin Bruins – Max Scott, F, North Iowa Bulls
East Division Star of the Week: Matt Boczar, Forward, Northeast Generals
Northeast Generals forward Matt Boczar, 20, helped his team to a weekend home sweep of the Johnstown Tomahawks and climb into first place in the East Division with a four-point weekend. The 6’2/185 lbs. native of Sewell, NJ, had an assist in a 5-1 win and then on Saturday had a power play goal and added two assists in a 6-3 win. For the season, Boczar is tied for the team lead in scoring with 8 points in 8 games played. “Matt has been phenomenal all season. He has set the tone both on and off the ice and it was on full display this weekend. He set up a beautiful goal on Friday night that helped us get off to a hot start, and then on Saturday he had a great assist on the first goal and then finished of a perfect 3 on 2 for our second goal. He was dominant in the faceoff circle and in the defensive zone as well. He is a great Captain and has really stepped up his game,” said Generals head coach Bryan Erikson.
2nd Star: Tommy Bannister, F, New Jersey Titans
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Gus Holt, G, Maine Nordiques – Dom Marcinkevics, F, Maine Nordiques – Martin Marnauzs, D, Northeast Generals – Andrew Takacs, G, New Jersey Titans
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Gunnar Thoreson, Forward, Minnesota Wilderness
Minnesota Wilderness forward Gunnar Thoreson, 19, helped his team jump right back in the middle of the Midwest Division standings thanks to a weekend sweep of the Kenai River Brown Bears. The 6’0/185 lbs. native of Andover, MN, had five points in the two wins. On Friday, Thoreson had a goal in a 5-2 win and then on Saturday, he scored a shorthanded goal and added three assists in an 8-4 win. Thoreson was also a +7 in the two wins. For the season, he is tied for the team lead with seven points in six games played. “Gunnar is the ultimate 200-foot player that played in all situations for us. As a result of his relentless effort and attention to detail, he was able to put up some very impressive offensive numbers this past weekend,” said Wilderness head coach Dave Boitz.
2nd Star: Talon Sigurdson, F, Anchorage Wolverines
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jake Hale, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Sam Jacobs, F, Minnesota Magicians – Lucas Kanta, F, Minnesota Magicians – Owen Millward, G, Janesville Jets – Cam Morrison, F, Anchorage Wolverines – Max Ruoho, D, Minnesota Wilderness – Tyler Stewart, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
South Division Star of the Week: Kristaps Skrastins, Forward, Amarillo Wranglers
For the second straight week Amarillo Wranglers forward Kristaps Skrastins, 19, has been named the South Division Star of the Week. The 5’11/180 lbs. native of Riga, Latvia, put up five points in two games as the Wranglers climbed to the top of the South Division standings thanks to a weekend sweep of El Paso. On Friday, Skrastins had the game-winning goal and an assist in a 4-3 win. On Saturday, he had three assists in a 5-1 win. For the season, Skrastins leads in the NAHL in scoring with 14 points in just six games played. “It was fantastic to see Kristaps continue his great start and not take his foot of the gas pedal. He not only is a great offense threat, but he plays with a lot of spirit and grit,” said Wranglers head coach Harry Mahood.
2nd Star: Damon Beaver, G, Corpus Christi IceRays
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Sam Antenucci, F, Lone Star Brahmas – Blake Benson, F, Lone Star Brahmas – Christopher Duclair, F, Odessa Jackalopes – Max Gutjahr, G, Amarillo Wranglers – Jude Kurtas, F, Corpus Christi IceRays