The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Three Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending March 4, 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: Cory Ward, forward, Aberdeen Wings
The Aberdeen Wings got back to their winning ways this past weekend, thanks in large part to their leading scorer, Cory Ward. Ward, 18, a Bemidji State recruit, helped the Wings defeat both the division-leading Bismarck Bobcats and Minot Minotauros on the road this weekend. In the process, the Las Vegas, Nevada native scored the game-winning goal in both wins and recorded three goals and an assist in both weekend wins. On Friday, Ward had two goals, including the overtime-winner, and an assist in a 5-4 OT win at Bismarck. On Saturday, Ward scored the first goal as Aberdeen shutout Minot, 6-0. “Both nights Cory not only played strong offensively, but defensively as well. He has really come a long way to improve his overall game,” said Wings head coach Pete Sauer. “The win in Bismarck was a big confidence builder for Cory and the team, and it reaffirmed that we can compete with anyone.”
2nd Star: Tyler Green, goaltender, St. Louis Bandits
The St. Louis Bandits are back in 1st place in the Midwest Division and a big reason why has been the goaltending of Tyler Green. Since being acquired from Wichita Falls back in December, Green, 20, has put up some remarkable numbers with the Bandits and this past weekend was further evidence of that. The Noblesville, Indiana native posted back-to-back wins over Janesville, allowing just two goals in two games and stopping 50 of a possible 52 shots for a 96.2% save percentage. On Friday, Green made 36 saves as St. Louis beat Janesville, 5-1. On Saturday, Green made 24 saves in the Bandits 3-1 win over the Jets. While in a St. Louis uniform, Green has posted an 11-3-0 record with a 1.63 goals against average and a 93.5% save percentage. “Ever since he has arrived in St. Louis he has been great for us,” said Bandits head coach Jeff Brown. “This past weekend was a great example. We were outplayed at times during both of his starts and he stepped up big to help us win.”
3rd Star: John Furgele, defenseman, Bismarck Bobcats
Bismarck defenseman John Furgele, 19, makes his first appearance of the year in the 3 stars of the week award, as he helped the Bobcats close in on a division title by taking three of a possible four points over the weekend. On Friday, the Glen Mills, Pennsylvania native recorded a pair of assists as the Bobcats were edged at home in overtime by the Aberdeen Wings. On Saturday, Furgele recorded three assists in a convincing 6-1 win over the 2nd place Alexandria Blizzard. In total, Furgele recorded five points over the weekend (all assists) and was a +3. “I thought John played very well and adds a lot of depth to our blue line,” said Bismarck head coach Layne Sedevie. “He knows how to move the puck, he sees the ice very well and has come a long way defensively. He is a very smart defenseman who understands how to quarterback a power play.”
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jacob Barber, forward, Wenatchee Wild – Brett Beauvais, defenseman, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Gage Christianson, forward, Alaska Avalanche – Jeff Earnest, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Scott Fellnermayr, forward, Dawson Creek Rage – Alex Fons, goaltender, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Danny Hamburg, forward, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Matt Hansen, forward, Austin Bruins – Connor Hellebuyck, goaltender, Odessa Jackalopes – Trevor Husch, forward, Aberdeen Wings – Joe Kozlak, forward, Amarillo Bulls – Michael Lant, defenseman, Wenatchee Wild – Brett Lubanski, forward, Kenai River Brown Bears – Tyler Minx, defenseman, Odessa Jackalopes – Kevin Novakovich, forward, Alaska Avalanche – Kevin Patterson, defenseman, Topeka RoadRunners – Mike Taffe, goaltender, Amarillo Bulls – Matt Thompson, forward, Kenai River Brown Bears – Spencer Viele, goaltender, St. Louis Bandits – Richard Young, forward, Topeka RoadRunners.