The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending March 31, 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: AJ Reid, forward, Austin Bruins
The Austin Bruins are right where they need to be entering the first round of the NAHL Playoffs thanks to a weekend sweep of the Coulee Region Chill to wrap-up the regular season. Forward AJ Reid, 20, was a one-man wrecking crew as he recorded five points (3 goals, 2 assists) in the two wins, which also included scoring the game-winning goal in both wins. The native of Lakeville, MN, started his weekend with a 2 goal, 1 assist performance in a 4-2 home win over the Chill on Friday. On Saturday, Reid (5’10/190) again had the game-winning goal and an assist in a 5-1 win in Coulee Region. He finished second in scoring on the Bruins roster during the regular season with 65 points in 55 games played. “AJ got back to the things he has been doing earlier in the season and is in perfect form for the playoffs,” said Bruins head coach Chris Tok. “He has tremendous speed, which allows him to win the one on one battles.”
2nd Star: Seth Blair, forward, Bismarck Bobcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Josh Bretner, defenseman, Austin Bruins – Drew Brevig, defenseman, Brookings Blizzard – Chad Catt, goaltender, Aberdeen Wings – Dylan Dailey, defenseman, Aberdeen Wings – Patrick Moore, forward, Bismarck Bobcats – Thomas Williams, forward, Brookings Blizzard.
North Division Star of the Week: Sean Murphy, forward, Soo Eagles
Forward Sean Murphy, 20, helped the Soo Eagles to a weekend sweep of the Janesville Jets as the Eagles, who won the North Division, have a first round bye in the playoffs and await their opponent for the North Semi-Finals. The native of Cary, NC, had a six-point weekend and was +6 in the two wins. On Friday, Murphy (5’7/174) had two goals (including the game-winner) and an assist in a 6-4 win. On Saturday, Murphy had a goal and two assists in regulation and then scored in the shootout as the Eagles edged the Jets for the weekend sweep, 5-4. For the regular season, Murphy averaged more than a point per game totaling 36 points in 28 games played. “Sean has been a big boost to the team on the ice and in the lockerroom. The guys around him play with more confidence when they are on the ice with Sean,” said Eagles head coach Bruno Bragagnolo. “He is a scoring threat every time he steps on the ice and is one of the many reasons we have had success this season.”
2nd Star: Chris Truehl, goaltender, Johnstown Tomahawks
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brett D’Andrea, forward, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Rick DeRosa, forward, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Robbie Payne, forward, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Brett Skibba, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues – Jack Sloan, defenseman, Springfield Jr. Blues – Jared VanWormer, forward, Soo Eagles.
South Division Star of the Week: Rudy Sulmonte, forward, Corpus Christi IceRays
Going into last weekend, the Corpus Christi IceRays didn’t know their playoff fate, but thanks to two wins and a rousing performance from forward Rudy Sulmonte, 21, the IceRays are in the playoffs and ready to face the Amarillo Bulls. The native of Leavittown, NY, totaled 8 points (2 goals, 6 assists) in a weekend home sweep of Odessa. On Friday, Sulmonte (5’8/177) had a goal and three assists in a 7-5 win over the Jacks. On Saturday, he had a repeat one goal, three assist performance in an 8-2 win. He was also +4 during the weekend. Sulmonte led the IceRays in scoring this season with 68 points (27 goals, 41 assists) in 60 games played. “Rudy has been everything we have asked him to be this season and he is one of our go-to guys,” said IceRays head coach Justin Quenneville. “At this time of the year, you ask for your best players to step up the most out of anyone and he has done that, and he also has the necessary experience it takes to hopefully help us succeed in the playoffs.”
2nd Star: TJ Sarcona, forward, Amarillo Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Ryan Cole, forward, Amarillo Bulls - Michael Economos, forward, Corpus Christi IceRays – Kyle Sharkey, forward, Topeka RoadRunners – Trace Strahle, defenseman, Topeka RoadRunners.
West Division Star of the Week: Ryan Walker, defenseman, Kenai River Brown Bears
The Kenai River Brown Bears wrapped up their regular season with a weekend split of game in Fairbanks, who coincidentally will be their first round playoff opponent. Along the blueline, defenseman Ryan Walker, 21, has made a significant impact including this weekend. The native of Detroit, MI, had two goals and an assist as the Brown Bears battled in two, one-goal games during the weekend. On the production side of things, Walker’s (6’2/208) big night came on Friday when he recorded two goals and an assist in a 4-3 win. Although the next night Walker went pointless in a 3-2 loss, head coach Oliver David said that Walker’s impact is measured in more than just points. “Ryan was excellent this past weekend. A lot of times defensemen don’t put up points and have an impact and Ryan is that type of guy. He is a guy that is a leader for our team. Teammates feed of his energy and leadership. It is important for us to know we can go into Fairbanks and be successful and Ryan is an important piece of that puzzle.”
2nd Star: Devin Loe, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jayson Angus, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Evan McCarthy, goaltender, Kenai River Brown Bears – Max McHugh, forward, Wenatchee Wild – Evan Schmidbauer, forward, Wenatchee Wild – Tomas Sholl, goaltender, Fresno Monsters – Chase Sisk, forward, Fresno Monsters.