The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its Players of the Week, sponsored by SBK Hockey, for the week ending March 6.
SBK HOCKEY/NORTH PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Chris Ciotti - St. Louis Bandits
St. Louis forward Chris Ciotti put home two goals and three assists as the Bandits skated to a three-game sweep over Chicago. On Friday, the Romeo, Mich., native picked up a goal and an assist in a 4-0 victory. The next night, the 20-year-old assisted on Tucker Long’s game-winning goal as the Bandits doubled up the Hitmen, 6-3. Ciotti scored the game-winning goal and added another assist in a 4-1 triumph on Sunday.
“Chris has done it all in the regular season in this his last year of junior hockey,” said Bandits assistant coach Trevor Stewart. “His leadership will be counted on heading into the postseason."
HONORABLE MENTION: Chicago forward Nick Booth; Janesville forward Pijus Rulevicius; Port Huron forward Max Reavis
SBK HOCKEY/SOUTH PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Nate Milam - Topeka RoadRunners
Topeka forward Nate Milam struck for two goals and two assists as the RoadRunners celebrated a two-game sweep over Wichita Falls. On Thursday, the Westland, Mich., native put home a goal and assisted on Brian Christie’s game-winning marker in a 5-0 victory. The next night, the 20-year-old put forth another one-goal, one-assist effort as the RoadRunners downed the Wildcats, 4-3. He was also a plus-2 on the weekend.
“Nate continues to elevate his game,” said RoadRunners assistant coach R.J. Enga. “He has great speed and creates a lot of offensive opportunities for himself and his linemates, and his dedication and commitment to bettering his own game has been a real lift to our entire team.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Amarillo forward Joe Kozlak; Texas defenseman Ralfs Freibergs; Topeka forward Ryan White and defenseman Bob Marx
SBK HOCKEY/CENTRAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Alex Altenbernd - Alexandria Blizzard
Alexandria forward Alex Altenbernd struck for three goals and three assists as the Blizzard fashioned a 3-0 record. After being held scoreless on Friday - a 1-0 victory over Aberdeen - the Moorhead, Minn., native came through with a goal and assisted on Mike Krieg’s game-winning marker the next night in a 2-0 triumph over the Wings. On Sunday, the 20-year-old tallied two more goals and a pair of assists as the Blizzard dropped the Coulee Region Chill, 7-2.
“Alex has been at the top of his game lately and he's proving why he’s a Division I prospect,” said Blizzard assistant coach Jeff Crouse. “He brings great speed and energy to our lineup and has recently found his goal-scoring touch. He’s been a huge key to our recent success.”
SBK HOCKEY/WEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Doug Beck - Kenai River Brown Bears
Kenai River forward Doug Beck connected for three goals and two assists as the Brown Bears skated to a two-game sweep over Fresno. On Friday, the Plymouth, Mich., native picked up a pair of assists in a 7-1 triumph. The next night, the 20-year-old recorded a hat trick as the Brown Bears doubled up the Monsters, 6-3. The Canisius College recruit was also a plus-3 on the weekend.
“Doug stepped up big for us last weekend, and it’s great to see him rewarded for his efforts,” said Brown Bears head coach Oliver David. “He’s become a consistent player for us at both ends of the ice and we’re expecting more good things from him down the stretch and into the postseason.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Alaska forward Andy Pearson; Fairbanks forward Gabe Levin; Kenai River forward Brad Duwe and defenseman Erik Persson
SBK HOCKEY/GOALTENDER OF THE WEEK
Jake Williams - Alexandria Blizzard
Alexandria goaltender Jake Williams backstopped the Blizzard to three wins, turning aside 81 of 83 shots. On Friday, the Montreal native made all 20 saves in a 1-0 victory over Aberdeen. The next night, the 20-year-old stopped all 35 shots he faced to pick up his second shutout in as many nights as the Blizzard blanked the Wings, 5-0. Williams turned in a 26-save performance in Alexandria’s 7-2 triumph over the Coulee Region Chill on Sunday.
“Jake has been lights-out since his return from (last month’s Top Prospects Tournament),” said Blizzard assistant coach Jeff Crouse. “He gained a huge amount of confidence in Ann Arbor and has showed us all lately what he’s capable of doing game in and game out. He’s used his size very well and is seeing the puck very clearly and his focus level is unreal right now.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Alaska’s Nick Kulmanovsky; Amarillo’s Nikifor Szczerba; Fairbanks’ Joe Phillippi; Janesville’s Tony Kujava; Kenai River’s Mathias Dahlstrom; Port Huron’s Peter Megariotis; St. Louis’ Tom Comunale; Texas’ Jake Stafford; Topeka’s Rasmus Tirronen
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)