The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending October 28, 2012. The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2012-13 regular season that honors the top performing players in each of the four NAHL divisions as nominated by their respective teams.
Central Division Star of the Week: Aaron Nelson, goaltender, Bismarck Bobcats
The return of goaltender Aaron Nelson, 19, has put a spark in the Bobcats and it was evident this past weekend in their road sweep in Fresno against the Monsters. Nelson (5’9/165) got the call both nights and delivered two wins and in the process stopped a 41 of 44 shots (93.1% save percentage) as Bismarck got back to the .500 mark. The Bismarck, North Dakota native made 24 saves in Friday night’s 3-1 win over the Monsters. On Saturday, he made 17 saves in a 3-2 win to move his record to a perfect 3-0-0 since rejoining the team. “Goaltending is always a key position and anytime you can have a veteran like Aaron back in the line-up, it is a huge lift,” said Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie. “I thought Aaron played with a lot of confidence this weekend and we feel really good about the 1-2 goaltending tandem we have with him and Bryan Nies.”
2nd Star: Brandon Wahlin, forward, Austin Bruins
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Adam Knochenmus, forward, Bismarck Bobcats – Jake O’Borsky, forward, Minot Minotauros – Tyler Parks, goaltender Minot Minotauros.
North Division Star of the Week: Mike Fazio, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues
Springfield forward Mike Fazio, 20, had a big weekend as the Jr. Blues swept the Janesville Jets in Springfield to move up the North standings and creep closer to the .500 mark. On Friday, Fazio (5’11/203) had two assists, including one on the game-winning goal, as the Jr. Blues beat the Jets, 5-3. On Saturday, the native of Bartlett, Illinois, chimed in on all three of Springfield’s goals, which included two goals (including the game-winner) and an assist in a 3-1 win. Fazio is second on the team in points this season with 12 in 16 games played. “Mike’s strength is being a two-way player and benefitting from being that type of player,” said Jr. Blues head coach Tony Zasowski. “He brings so much more to the table, so it was nice to see him produce on offense like he did.”
2nd Star: Tyler Marble, goaltender, Soo Eagles
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Nick Horne, forward, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – James McGing, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues – Max Milosek, goaltender, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Robbie Payne, forward, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Brandon Reinholz, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks – Huba Sekesi, forward, Jamestown Ironmen – Cody Von Rueden, defenseman, Soo Eagles.
South Division Star of the Week: Paul Berrafato, goaltender, Amarillo Bulls
Amarillo goaltender Paul Berrafato, 19, is the #1-ranked goaltender in the NAHL thanks in large part to performances like he turned in this past weekend as the Bulls produced a home sweep of the Texas Tornado. Berrafato (6’0/180) is tops in the NAHL with a 1.14 goals against average and is second in save percentage (94.1%). This weekend, he helped his cause by stopping a combined 46 of 48 shots. On Friday, he made 16 saves in a 7-2 win. On Saturday, he posted his first NAHL shutout with a 30-save performance in a 4-0 win. The native of Buffalo, New York has yet to lose a game in regulation this season. “Paul had a very solid weekend. He battles hard and doesn’t give up easy goals,” said Bulls head coach Dennis Williams. “When you have him back there making the saves he does, the guys around him play better as a result they can play loose and free-wheel it a little bit more.”
2nd Star: Trace Strahle, defenseman, Topeka RoadRunners
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Lawrence Cornellier, forward, Odessa Jackalopes – Sean Gaffney, forward, Topeka RoadRunners – Hampus Gustafsson, forward, Amarillo Bulls – AJ Jarosz, forward, Corpus Christi IceRays – Hayden Stewart, goaltender, Corpus Christi IceRays.
West Division Star of the Week: Lucas Kohls, forward, Kenai River Brown Bears
Forward Lucas Kohls, 19, helped the Brown Bears keep pace in the West Division with a weekend home sweep of the Wichita Falls Wildcats. On Friday, the native of Forest Lake, Minnesota had two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist for a three-point night in a 9-3 win over the Wildcats. A night later, Kohls (6’3/197) assisted on the game-winning goal in a 5-2 win over Wichita Falls. For the season, Kohls is second on the team with 19 points in 16 games played, and three of his eight goals to date have been game-winning goals. “Lucas is a very gifted player and has a lot of offensive upside. He can score many number of ways,” said Brown Bears head coach Oliver David. “He has been a great addition to the team. He is great in the community and the fans really like him.”
2nd Star: Jake Davidson, defenseman, Kenai River Brown Bears
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Devin Loe, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs.