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 April 2, 2023. The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2022-23 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: Weston Knox, Defenseman, Minot Minotauros
Thanks to a weekend road sweep of the Aberdeen Wings, the Minot Minotauros moved into the 4th and final playoff spot in the Central Division. Defenseman Weston Knox, 18, was a factor in both wins, recording three points and putting up a +5 rating in the two wins. On Friday, the 6’1/185 lbs. native of Andover, MN, had the game-winning goal in a 5-1 win. On Saturday, Knox had another game-winning goal and an assist in a 2-1 win. For the season, the Air Force recruit has 20 points in 44 regular season games played to date. “Weston has been consistent with his play for us pretty much all season. He stepped up offensively in big moments this past weekend and was also relied on to help us stay tight defensively over the course of the weekend. We look forward to Weston continuing to raise his level of play down the stretch,” said Minot head coach Cody Campbell.
2nd Star: Kade Peterson, F, St. Cloud Norsemen
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Andrew Clarke, F, St. Cloud Norsemen – Nick Comfort, D, Aberdeen Wings – Calvin Hanson, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Tristan Kimmen, F, North Iowa Bulls – Chase LaPinta, F, Minot Minotauros – Jack Malinski, D, Austin Bruins – Geno Pichora, G, Aberdeen Wings – Adam Pietila, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Jack Seaverson, F, North Ioa Bulls – Walter Zacher, F, Austin Bruins
East Division Star of the Week: Nick Ahern, Forward, Johnstown Tomahawks
Forward Nick Ahern, 20, helped the Tomahawks keep their playoff chances alive thanks to a weekend road sweep of the Maine Nordiques. The 5’10/170 lbs. native of Chicago, IL, had five points and was a +5 in the two wins, which included four goals. On Friday, Ahern had a hat-trick, including the game-winning goal, and an assist in a 7-0 win. On Saturday, he added another game-winning goal in a 5-3 win. For the season, Ahern has 29 points in 30 regular season games played to date. “Nick was instrumental in our team’s success over the weekend. He has really delivered a ton of offense since returning from injury in early March. Nick is loaded with offensive ability, and we are going to need him to continue to play at a high level over the next two weeks,” said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.
2nd Star: Dominik Bartecko, F, New Jersey Titans
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Anthony Calafiore, F, New Jersey Titans – David Deputy, F, Philadelphia Rebels – Will Lawrence, F, Johnstown Tomahawks – Hunter Ramos, F, Maryland Black Bears – Trey Scott, D, Maryland Black Bears – Filip Wiberg, F, Maine Nordiques
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Kazumo Sasaki, Forward, Chippewa Steel
Thanks to winning two of three games in Anchorage this past weekend, the Chippewa Steel moved into 3rd place in the Midwest Division with two weeks remaining in the regular season. This week, it was forward Kazumo Sasaki, 17, who stepped up and produced as he totaled six points in the three games. On Friday, the 5’10/150 lbs. native of Nishitokyo, Japan, had an assist in a 6-3 win. On Saturday, Sasaki had a goal and an assist in a 7-4 loss. On Sunday, Sasaki had a hat-trick, including the game-winning goal, in a 6-2 win. For the season, the Lake Superior State recruit has 25 points in 50 regular season games played to date. “Kazumo has really found his footing offensively in the last few weeks. He’s a dynamic skater, who can hold on to pucks and create for his teammates. His ability to finish in tight is impressive. I’m most impressed with his improvement in his own end though. He has become a player we can rely on in all situations. I’m so happy for him, he is an outstanding kid and can’t wait to see how he finishes the season,” said Steel head coach Casey Mignone.
2nd Star: Drew Fisher, F, Wisconsin Windigo
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Axel Begley, D, Wisconsin Windigo – Justin Biraben, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Garett Drotts, F, Kenai River Brown Bears – Ryan Finch, F, Kenai River Brown Bears – Noah Grolnic, F, Chippewa Steel – Kevin Marx Noren, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Cameron Morris, F, Anchorage Wolverines – Jackson Reineke, F, Anchorage Wolverines – Billy Renfrew, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Oliver Stumpel, F, Minnesota Wilderness
South Division Star of the Week: Ryan Burke, Forward, Shreveport Mudbugs
Shreveport forward Ryan Burke, 20, helped his team to a huge weekend road sweep of the 1st place Oklahoma Warriors. The 6’0/175 lbs. native of London, ON, had six points in the two wins. On Friday, Burke had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 overtime win. On Saturday, he had four assists in a 5-2 win. For the season, Burke has 33 points in 54 games played to date during the 2022-23 regular season. “Ryan was fortunate enough to have a bit of a breakthrough weekend offensively. As a naturally gifted offensive player Ryan took it upon himself to be a more effective well-rounded player and has succeeded at it. There’s a lot of good teams in the South and if we want to be successful, we will need Ryan at his skilled, gritty, and poised best,” said Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell.
2nd Star: C.J. Kier, G, El Paso Rhinos
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): William Ahlrik, F, Oklahoma Warriors – Logan Heroux, D, Shreveport Mudbugs – Garrett Horsager, D, Oklahoma Warriors – Ben Ivey, F, Amarillo Wranglers – Jakub Jerman, D, El Paso Rhinos – Jakon Karpa, D, Lone Star Brahmas – Tony Leahy, F, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Jacob MacDonald, F, Lone Star Brahmas – Ryan Mansfield, F, Odessa Jackalopes – Gergely Orosz, G, Odessa Jackalopes – Pierce Patterson, D, Amarillo Wranglers – Carsen Stokes, G, New Mexico Ice Wolves