The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending March 3, 2013. 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: Ryan Ruck, goaltender, Minot Minotauros
It was a good weekend for goaltenders in the Central Division as a couple of them stole the show in games in leading their teams to victories. One such case was Minot goaltender Ryan Ruck. The 18-year-old from Coto de Caza, California, started in the lone Minot game of the weekend, a Friday night home match-up against the Bismarck Bobcats. Ruck (6’1/175) arguably played his best game of the season as he stopped all 40 Bobcats shots that came his way and posted his second shutout of the season in a 2-0 win over the Bobcats. The win left the Minotauros just a point away from clinching the final playoff spot in the Central Division. To date, Ruck has a 2.54 goals against average and a 91.8% save percentage. “It was a huge win for us because Bismarck is a very good team and beating those type of teams is what we are going to have to do if we are fortunate enough to make the playoffs,” said Minotauros head coach Marty Murray. “We have very good depth at the goaltending position with Tyler Parks and Ryan, both are competitors and both have the full confidence of the team.”
2nd Star: Zach Nagelvoort, goaltender, Aberdeen Wings
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Evan Giesler, forward, Bismarck Bobcats – Lucas Oliver, forward, Minot Minotauros – Nate Repensky, defenseman, Bismarck Bobcats.
North Division Star of the Week: Sean Murphy, forward, Soo Eagles
It was a big weekend for the Soo Eagles, who swept the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings on the road to increase their North Division lead to five points with just eight games to play. Leading the way was forward Sean Muprhy, 20. The native of Cary, North Carolina, was front and center in the Eagles production this past weekend as he recorded four points (3 goals, 1 assist) in the two wins. More importantly, Murphy (5’7/174) had both game-winning goals in the wins. He had two goals in Saturday’s 3-1 win and a goal and an assist in Sunday’s 4-1 win. Murphy has scored the last three straight game-winning goals for the Eagles and has 25 points in his 20 games played with Soo. “Sean has given us a real boost offensively and has helped with the team depth and confidence,” said Eagles head coach Bruno Bragagnolo. “He brings instant leadership to the lockerroom. This weekend, his took his game to a higher level and showed he really wanted to win those games.”
2nd Star: Tyler Marble, goaltender, Soo Eagles
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Ryan Atkinson, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues – Tom Cooney, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues – Jason Ford, forward, Janesville Jets – Brock Kautz, goaltender, Janesville Jets – Mitch Kontny, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks.
South Division Star of the Week: Tyler Ledford, forward, Wichita Falls Wildcats
Thanks to their weekend sweep in Topeka, the Wichita Falls Wildcats are now fully a part of the playoff conversation, as they sit just three points behind Corpus Christi for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division. 18-year-old forward Tyler Ledford was the star of the series as he racked up five points (all assists) and was a +5 in the two wins. On Friday, the native of Folsom, California assisted on three straight goals (including the game-winner) all in the 2nd period as the Wildcats beat the RoadRunners, 4-1. On Saturday, he assisted on the first goal and the last goal (another game-winner) as the Wildcats came from behind to defeat Topeka, 4-3. The assists in both games extended Ledford’s (5’9/155) point streak to five straight games. “I thought we really played well this past weekend and Tyler was great with a relatively new line combination,” said Wildcats head coach Paul Baxter. “He was making plays at top speed and has really picked up the pace in his game. It has been one of the big improvements for him.”
2nd Star: Hayden Stewart, goaltender Corpus Christi IceRays
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tyler Deresky, forward, Amarillo Bulls – John Rey, defenseman, Amarillo Bulls – Emil Romig, forward, Corpus Christi IceRays – Colin Staub, forward, Wichita Falls Wildcats.
West Division Star of the Week: Max McHugh, forward, Wenatchee Wild
The Wenatchee Wild took three of four points in a home series with the Fresno Monsters and forward Max McHugh, 19, continues to be a bright spot for the 1st place Wild. The native of Edgewood, Washington, picked up three more points over the weekend and now is second on the Wild in team scoring with 42 points in 49 games played. McHugh has recorded a point in seven of his last games and that included at least a point in each of the two games this past weekend. On Saturday, he had an assist and was a +2 in a 6-1 win. On Sunday, he had a goal and an assist in a 5-4 overtime loss. “Max has continued to get better each week for us,” said Wild head coach Bliss Littler. “He continues to work hard to improve his game each day and he is very effective when he gets his nose dirty and works hard in the tough areas of the ice.”
2nd Star: Alex Jackstadt, forward, Kenai River Brown Bears
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jacob Barber, forward, Wenatchee Wild – Lawrence Cornellier, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs - Zach Rall, defenseman, Fairbanks Ice Dogs