The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its Players of the Week, sponsored by SBK Hockey, for the week ending Jan. 16.
SBK HOCKEY/NORTH PLAYER OF THE WEEK
RJ Kleiman - Motor City Metal Jackets
Motor City forward RJ Kleiman rang up three goals and two assists as the Metal Jackets split a two-game series with Janesville. On Friday, DeWitt, Mich., native picked up an assist in a 3-2 loss. The next night, the 20-year-old recorded a hat trick, including the game-winning goal in overtime, and an assist as the Metal Jackets bested the Jets, 4-3. He was also a plus-1 on the weekend.
"RJ continues to be a leader for us, on and off the ice," said Metal Jackets head coach David Cole. "He's shown a great commitment to the team and his teammates and continues to contribute offensively, which indicates his potential as a Division I player."
HONORABLE MENTION: Chicago forward Gabe Gervais; Janesville defenseman Alex Brooks; St. Louis forwards Evan Stibbard and Brad Smith and defensemen Kevin Zehnder and Patrick Sheehan
SBK HOCKEY/SOUTH PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Brian Christie - Topeka RoadRunners
Topeka forward Brian Christie struck for two goals and four assists as the RoadRunners celebrated a two-game sweep over Amarillo. On Friday, the West Chester, Pa., native tallied a pair of goals and two assists in a 7-4 victory. The next night, the 18-year-old picked up two more assists as the RoadRunners doubled up the Bulls, 4-2.
“Brian’s play has been consistent all year and he continues to develop in every aspect of the game,” said RoadRunners assistant coach R.J. Enga. “He plays a complete game, from faceoffs to special teams to 5-on-5 to being physical. For a young player, he’s very thorough.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Corpus Christi forward Beau Walker; Texas forward Nathan Sliwinski; Topeka forward Justin Hussar
SBK HOCKEY/CENTRAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Chris Bournazos - Owatonna Express
Owatonna forward Chris Bournazos connected for four goals and an assist as the Express skated to a two-game sweep over Coulee Region. On Friday, the Naperville, Ill., native notched a pair of goals, including the overtime game-winner, in a 5-4 victory. The next night, the 20-year-old tallied two more goals and assisted on Nick Widing’s game-winning marker as the Express downed the Chill, 4-3. He was also a plus-1 on the weekend.
“Chris brings speed that teams have to respect,” said Express head coach Chuck Linkenheld. “He competes like he’s 6-foot-4 and gets to the tough areas, not to mention his Grade A skills. He’ll be a dynamic, exciting college player.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Alexandria forward Alex Altenbernd; Coulee Region forward David Ripple; Owatonna forward Nick Widing
SBK HOCKEY/WEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK
JT Osborn - Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Fairbanks forward JT Osborn put home four goals as the Ice Dogs split a two-game series with Alaska. On Friday, the Alpine, Calif., native recorded a hat trick, including the game-winning goal, in a 6-5 victory. The next night, the 19-year-old picked up another goal as the Ice Dogs fell to the Avalanche, 5-2. He was also a plus-2 on the weekend.
"JT had a great weekend for us," said Ice Dogs head coach Josh Hauge. "He's continued to be a difference-maker for us all season. He has the ability to finish in all situations."
HONORABLE MENTION: Kenai River forward Sean Muller; Wenatchee forward Shawn Pauly
SBK HOCKEY/GOALTENDER OF THE WEEK
Mathias Dahlstrom - Kenai River Brown Bears
Kenai River goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom backstopped the Brown Bears to a 2-1 record in Wenatchee, turning aside 110 of 118 shots. On Thursday, the Smedjebacken, Sweden, native made 41 saves in a 3-2 victory. The next night, the 19-year-old stopped 37 shots as the Brown Bears downed the Wild, 5-3. Dahlstrom steered aside 32 shots in the Brown Bears’ 3-0 loss on Saturday.
“Mathias was exceptional last weekend,” said Brown Bears head coach Oliver David. “His attitude and approach to being an athlete are second to none, and he’s undoubtedly one of the top uncommitted (college) goalies in our league.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Alexandria’s Jake Williams; Chicago’s Brennan Knoblock; St. Louis’ Matt Green and Tom Comunale; Texas’ Jimmy Kruger; Topeka’s Eric Rohrkemper
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)