The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending December 9, 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: Drew Weigman, goaltender, Brookings Blizzard
The Brookings Blizzard took three of a possible four points over the weekend to get back on track, thanks in large part to the goaltending of Drew Weigman. The 19-year-old from Arnold, Maryland, who was the NAHL Goaltender of the Month for September, got back to his early season form as he posted a 1-0-1 record over the weekend, which included a shutout as he stopped 61 of a possible 63 shots for a 96.8% save percentage. On Friday, Weigman (6’1/185) stopped all 30 shots he saw in a 2-0 shutout win at home over the Aberdeen Wings. On Saturday, Weigman and the Blizzard pushed the 1st place Austin Bruins to the brink in the shootout, but came up short in a 3-2 shootout loss. Weigman stopped 31 of 33 shots through regulation and overtime. “Drew is right back to where he was at the beginning of the year when we was playing some excellent hockey,” said Blizzard head coach Cory Laylin. “We needed to get back on track and he came up with some huge saves over the weekend to earn us some valuable points.”
2nd Star: Adam Knochenmus, forward, Bismarck Bobcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Zach Doerring, forward, Coulee Region Chill - Nick Lehr, goaltender, Austin Bruins – Aaron Nelson, goaltender, Bismarck Bobcats – Justin Parizek, forward, Aberdeen Wings – Tyler Parks, goaltender, Minot Minotauros – Spencer Peratalo, defenseman, Brookings Blizzard – Derek Smith, defenseman, Coulee Region Chill.
North Division Star of the Week: Brock Kautz, goaltender, Janesville Jets
Since losing eight in a row, the Janesville Jets have not lost in regulation in their last seven games and that included this weekend as goaltender Brock Kautz, 18, and the Jets picked up a weekend road sweep against in-state rival Coulee Region Chill. The native of Rochester, Minnesota, was in goal for both wins and stopped 70 of a combined 73 shots over the weekend, good for a 95.8% save percentage. On Friday, Kautz (6’1/180) stopped 27 of 28 shots in a 3-1 win. On Saturday, he may have been even better as he made a season-high 43 saves in a 3-2 win. Kautz has won four of his last five starts in goal. “I think as we have gotten better and more consistent over the last few weeks, so has Brock,” said Jets head coach Joe Dibble. “Brock has valuable experience playing in this league and when he is on his game he is very tough to beat. Experience and confidence are two very beneficial things to a goaltender of his caliber and the team has really fed off his play.”
2nd Star: Martin Gruse, forward, Michigan Warriors
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Ryan Atkinson, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues – Collin Brennan, goaltender, Johnstown Tomahawks – Marcus Due-Boje, goaltender, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Christian George, forward, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Ryan Kellenberger, goaltender, Springfield Jr. Blues – Daniel Kucerovy, forward, Janesville Jets – Andrew McDonald, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks – Eric Rivard, forward, Soo Eagles.
South Division Star of the Week: Louie Rowe, forward, Texas Tornado
Texas Tornado forward Louie Rowe, 18, has found his game judging by this past weekend’s performance as his Texas Tornado posted a weekend road sweep of the Corpus Christi IceRays. The native of East Lansing, Michigan recorded five points (3 goals, 2 assists) in the pair of wins and was also a +3 over the weekend. It is a part of an encouraging trend for the 6’5/205 lbs. forward, who has recorded over half of his total points this season in the last three games. On Friday, Rowe had a goal and two assists in a 7-2 win. On Saturday, he recorded two goals in a 5-3 win as the Tornado pushed their winning streak to four straight games. “Louie uses his size well and I think he has been a played that has flown under the radar until now,” said Tornado head coach Tony Curtale. “He is a very good skater for his size, he is a hard worker and has improved every day since coming to us and is a very important part of our team right now.”
2nd Star: Paul Berrafato, goaltender, Amarillo Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Mick Bruce, defenseman, Topeka RoadRunners – Gage Christianson, forward, Amarillo Bulls – Justin Greenberg, forward, Texas Tornado – Kyle Sharkey, forward, Topeka RoadRunners.
West Division Star of the Week: Max McHugh, forward, Wenatchee Wild
Edgewood, Washington, native Max McHugh played a big role in Wenatchee’s home sweep of the North Division-leading Jamestown Ironmen. The 19-year-old recorded four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in the weekend sweep as the Wild increased their lead in the West Division to four points. On Friday, McHugh (5’10/173) had the game-winning goal in a 3-0 shutout win. On Saturday, he scored with :29 seconds remaining in regulation to pull the Wild to within a goal and then :12 seconds later, won the face-off to his teammate Jono Davis, who tied the game with just :17 seconds remaining. It was McHugh’s second assist of the game and the Wild ultimately won in a shootout. McHugh has 20 points in 23 games played to date. “Max has been creating a lot of chances for him and his teammtes the past month because he is getting his nose dirty,” said Wild head coach Bliss Littler. “He is going into the tough areas and doing the hard work to create opportunities. He is very effective when he is able to collect points in even strength situations as well as on the power play.”
2nd Star: Josh Hartley, defenseman, Wenatchee Wild
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): None.