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 March 20, 2022. 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: Will Gilson, Defenseman, Aberdeen Wings
Aberdeen Wings defenseman Will Gilson, 20, helped his team to a weekend road sweep of the North Iowa Bulls to maintain their spot in 2nd place in the Central Division. The 6’0/170 lbs. native of Old Greenwich, CT, had five points in the two wins, which included two goals and three assists. On Friday, the Alaska-Anchorage recruit had a pair of assists and the shootout-winning goal in a 4-3 shootout win. On Saturday, Gilson scored twice, which included the overtime-winning goal and an assist in a 4-3 overtime win. For the season, Gilson leads all Wings blueliners with 33 points in 51 games played. His 33 points ranks in the Top 10 among all NAHL defensemen. “Will had a strong weekend for us, delivering solid defensive performances while also leading our offense both nights. His play has been steadily improving all year and has taken a significant step forward in the second half. He’s clearly established himself as a leader on the ice and in our room,” said Wings head coach Steve Jennings.
2nd Star: Blake Mesenburg, F, St. Cloud Norsemen
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Logan Dombrowsky, F, North Iowa Bulls – Kyle Gaffney, F, Aberdeen Wings – Lassi Lehti, G, Minot Minotauros – Anthony Menghini, F, Austin Bruins – Sutter Muzzatti, F, Austin Bruins – Ryan O’Neill, F, St. Cloud Norsemen – Adam Pietila, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Carter Rapalje, F, North Iowa Bulls – Ryan Taylor, F, Bismarck Bobcats
East Division Star of the Week: Brendan Gibbons, Forward, Maine Nordiques
Maine Nordiques forward Brendan Gibbons, 19, had his best weekend of the 2021-22 for the Nordiques, who picked up five of a possible six points in a weekend home series against the Northeast Generals. The 6’2/205 lbs. native of South Kingston, RI, had seven points in the three games, which included five goals and two assists. On Friday, Gibbons was an offensive force with two goals and two assists in a 6-1 win. On Saturday, he had another goal in the 6-2 win. On Sunday, he had two more goals in a 7-6 overtime loss. For the season, Gibbons has recorded 21 points in 28 games played to date. “Brendan, simply put, loves to play the game of hockey. He is the last player off the ice every day after practice; he can’t get enough and takes pride in his development. Brendan started off the year, with some illness and injury which delayed his positive impact to the lineup. While working through the adversity he remained an outstanding teammate and put a huge focus on doing the most he could during that time. He is a gifted goal scorer with a tremendous frame that covers a lot of ice with his mobility. His character, Ivy level grades, and development in our league will have him prepared to compete and produce at the NCAA D1 level,” said Maine head coach Matt Pinchevsky.
2nd Star: Jacob Badal, F, Johnstown Tomahawks
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Billy Feczko, F, New Jersey Titans – Brad McNeil, F, Maryland Black Bears – Zach Murray, F, Johnstown Tomahawks – Avery Sturtz, G, Maine Nordiques – Michael Young, F, New Jersey Titans – Tyler Young, F, Maryland Black Bears
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Matthew Smith, Goaltender, Minnesota Wilderness
Wilderness goalie Matthew Smith, 19, continued his remarkable season by putting up two more wins over the weekend as the Wilderness completed a three-game sweep on the road against the Kenai River Brown Bears. The 5’11/165 lbs. native of Fenton, MO, picked up two wins and stopped 63 of a possible 65 shots, allowing just two goals. On Thursday, Smith made 30 saves in the 3-1 win. On Friday, Smith didn’t start, but came into the game in the final period and did not allow a goal in a 7-1 win. On Saturday, he made 29 saves in another 3-1 win. For the season the NA3HL and NAPHL grad has been lights out for the Wilderness since coming up from the Granite City Lumberjacks. For the season, Smith has a 9-1-0 record with a 1.76 goals against average and .935 save percentage. “Matt has been a huge addition to our team since the holiday break. He shows up every night with the exact same demeanor and has been as consistent as any goalie we have had play for the Wilderness. He is one of the biggest factors for our success in the second half. He couldn't be more deserving of this award,” said Wilderness head coach Dave Boitz.
2nd Star: Ryan Remick, F, Chippewa Steel
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): William Gustavsson, F, Janesville Jets – Cy LeClerc, F, Janesville Jets – Marcus Lund, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Aksel Reid, G, Springfield Jr. Blues – Nico Rexine, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Ethan Roberts, G, Springfield Jr. Blues – Nick Sajevic, F, Chippewa Steel – Tristan Sarsland, D, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
South Division Star of the Week: Danylo Korzhyletskyi, Forward, Amarillo Wranglers
It was a big weekend for the Amarillo Wranglers and forward Danylo Korzhyletskyi, 18, who stayed in the hunt for a playoff spot in the South Division with a weekend home sweep of the El Paso Rhinos. The 5’11/170 lbs. native of Vinnytsia, Ukraine, had his best weekend to date in the NAHL with five points (3 goals, 2 assists) in the two wins and was also a remarkable +6 on the weekend. On Friday, Korzhyletskyi had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win. On Saturday, he had two goals and an assist in a 5-3 win. For the season, Korzhyletskyi has record 13 points in 15 games played so far this season. “In my time as a Coach, I have never witnessed a more courageous performance from an 18-year-old young man, whose girlfriend and family are currently sheltering in Kyiv, Ukraine from the war around them. His play and strength of character has inspired us all these last weeks and given our group a heightened sense of gratitude for our life in this great country,” said Amarillo head coach Harry Mahood.
2nd Star: Devon Bobak, G, Shreveport Mudbugs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Damon Beaver, G, Corpus Christi IceRays – Michael Casey, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Vincent Corcoran, D, Wichita Falls Warriors – Tanner Daniels, F, Lone Star Brahmas – Brandon Holt, D, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Matt McQuade, F, Lone Star Brahmas – J.R. Perdion, F, Odessa Jackalopes – Sully Scholle, F, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Lukas Sedlacek, F, Shreveport Mudbugs – Kristaps Skrastins, F, Amarillo Wranglers – Brendan Williams, F, Wichita Falls Warriors