The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Three Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending February 5, 2012. The Three Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2011-12 regular season that honors the top performing players each week of the regular season as nominated by their respective teams.
1st Star: Jack Prince, forward, Texas Tornado
For someone who has amassed over 170 points in his NAHL career, Texas Tornado forward and captain Jack Prince is saving his best season for last. Prince, 20, put up some big numbers this week as his Tornado went 2-1-0 in three games to keep pace for 2nd place in the South Division. The native of England opened up the week with a hat-trick and an assist on Thursday night in a 6-0 home shutout of Wichita Falls. Prince (6’4/205) scored a power play, shorthanded and even strength goal in the game. The next night, Prince scored two goals, including the game-winner, both in the 3rd period in a 4-3 win over the Wildcats. On Saturday, Prince assisted in both Tornado goals in a 4-2 loss at Wichita Falls. For the week, Prince recorded five goals and three assists for eight points. He not only leads the Tornado in scoring, but ranks second in the NAHL with 31 goals this season and ranks fourth in points with 62, both of which are career highs. “I think Jack has developed in a premier player in this league,” said Tornado head coach Tony Curtale. “He is rightfully earning some major Division I interest because of his ability to score goals. Jack not only does that on a consistent basis, but he has also worked hard on the other parts of his game to become a complete, all-around player.”
2nd Star: Gabe Levin, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
For someone who is leading the NAHL in scoring, Fairbanks Ice Dogs forward Gabe Levin does it with quiet and methodical precision. Levin, 20, may not be the flashiest scorer in the league, but he may be its smartest. This past weekend was again evidence of that for the native of Marino del Ray, California, as he helped the Ice Dogs to a weekend split on the road in Wenatchee. Amazingly, Levin (5’8/165) had a hand in all seven goals the Ice Dogs scored this weekend. On Friday, Levin scored the game’s first goal (the game-winner) and then assisted on the next four for a five point night as Fairbanks shut out Wenatchee, 5-0. The next night, Levin assisted on both Fairbanks goals in the close 3-2 loss. Levin, who is a graduate of the North American Prospects Hockey League (PHL), currently leads in the NAHL in points with 68 and assists with 54. “Gabe is so smart on the ice, which may be the key reason that he factors in on so many of our scoring plays,” said Fairbanks head coach Trevor Stewart. “He knows where everyone is on the ice, he knows how to read plays and he understands his teammates. Since he doesn’t put up a lot of goals, he may not get the credit that some other goal scorers do, but he is the key to our offense.”
3rd Star: Kyle Cook, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues
The Springfield Jr. Blues are currently on a resurgence having won six of their last seven games and a big reason why was the play of forward Kyle Cook this past weekend. Cook, 19, is Springfield’s leading scorer this season with 42 points, which doubled his career mark from last season. The Mercyhurst recruit helped the Jr. Blues take four of six points this weekend in Chicago against the Hitmen as he registered three goals and five points in the weekend series. In both of Springfield’s wins over the weekend, it was Cook who scored the game-winning goals. On Friday, the native of Middleburg Heights, Ohio scored twice (including the game-winner) and assisted twice in a big 10-2 win. After being shutout on Saturday, Cook (6’4/215) came back on Sunday with yet another game-winning goal late in the 3rd period as Springfield beat the Hitmen, 6-5. “Kyle has been playing very well all year, but he has improved because of his work ethic,” said Springfield head coach Joe Dibble. “As a veteran he understands all of the game scenarios, which enables him to come up big in situations. If he isn’t scoring points, he is doing something positive for his team and is an all-around work horse.”
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Alex Brooks, defenseman, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Adam Chapie, forward, New Mexico Mustangs – Brian Christie, forward, Topeka RoadRunners – Lawrence Cornellier, forward, Odessa Jackalopes – Alex Frere, forward, Kenai River Brown Bears – Jordan Greenberg, forward, Texas Tornado – Jake Hebda, goaltender, Minot Minotauros – Evan Johnston, forward, New Mexico Mustangs – Shigenobu Kakudate, forward, Chicago Hitmen – Ryan Matthews, forward, Dawson Creek Rage – Connor McBride, forward, Janesville Jets – Ethan Nauman, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues – Steve Perry, goaltender, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Taylor Portner, forward, Odessa Jackalopes – Brock Raffaele, forward, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Sean Reynolds, forward, Chicago Hitmen – Austin Severson, goaltender, Kenai River Brown Bears – Tomas Sholl, goaltender, Fresno Monsters – Ryan White, forward, Topeka RoadRunners.