The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Three Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending March 25, 2012. The Three Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2011-12 regular season that honors the top performing players each week of the regular season as nominated by their respective teams.
1st Star: Tomas Sholl, goaltender, Fresno Monsters
With two games remaining in the regular season, the Fresno Monsters sit in the driver’s seat for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division, thanks in large part to the goaltending of rookie Tomas Sholl. Sholl, who represented Fresno at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament back in February, had a fantastic weekend as he recorded two wins to help sweep the Wenatchee Wild, stopping a combined 57 of 59 shots in the process for a 96.6% save percentage and a goals against average of 0.99. On Friday, Sholl, 17, stopped all 35 shots in a 3-0 shutout of the Wild. On Saturday, the Hermosa Beach, California native made 22 saves in a 3-2 overtime win against Wenatchee. “He has improved since day one and keeps getting better each time he plays,” said Monsters head coach Eric Ballard. “He was the difference maker in both games this past weekend and that’s what you need this time of the year. He is a big reason of why we have a great chance to make the playoff this year.”
2nd Star: Connor Hellebuyck, goaltender, Odessa Jackalopes
As good as he was last week in earning the league’s #3 star, Odessa goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, 18, was even better this week in helping Odessa maintain the 4th and final playoff spot in the South Division heading into the final regular season weekend. The Commerce, Michigan native stopped a combined 61 of 62 shots, with the one goal he gave up coming in a 1-0 loss at South Division Champion Amarillo on Saturday. On Wednesday, Hellebuyck, a UMASS-Lowell recruit stopped all 24 shots in a 2-0 road shutout in Wichita Falls. In Saturday’s 1-0 loss in Amarillo, Hellebuyck made 37 saves. Hellebuyck is currently second in the NAHL in save percentage at 93.1%. “I think Connor is playing his best hockey of the season right now and he has worked hard to get to where he is,” said Jackalopes head coach Paul Gillis. “We are in a position to make the playoffs thanks in part to solid goaltending and that is something we can rely on game in and game out with the consistency Connor is playing with right now.”
3rd Star: AJ Reid, forward, Austin Bruins
Army recruit AJ Reid, 19, was instrumental in helping Austin win two of three games over the weekend, which included a weekend sweep of the Bismarck Bobcats. On Friday, the Lakeville, Minnesota native recorded the game-winning goal and added three assists in the Bruins 5-3 win over the Bobcats. The next night, Reid scored the game-tying goal in the 2nd period, as the Bruins completed the sweep of the Bobcats with a 5-2 win. On Sunday, Reid increased his point streak to three games with an assist in a 5-3 loss against the Alexandria Blizzard. For the weekend, Reid had six points (2 goals, 4 assists) as Austin posted a 2-1-0 record. Since coming to Austin back in early January, Reid has put up 27 points in 24 games played. “AJ has been a great addition to our offense and understands how to score big goals,” said Bruins assistant coach Kasey Yoder. “He plays in all situations and plays well at both ends of the ice.”
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Charlie Adams, forward, Austin Bruins – Marc Biggs, forward, Texas Tornado – Brendan Bradley, forward, Fresno Monsters – Brandon Brossoit, forward, Alaska Avalanche – Sean Campbell, defenseman, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Garret Clemment, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Mike Erickson, forward, Amarillo Bulls – Greg Gruehl, goaltender, Amarillo Bulls – Joe Kalisz, forward, St. Louis Bandits – Jake Lynes, forward, Topeka RoadRunners – Robert Mantha, forward, Michigan Warriors – Kevin Novakovich, forward, Alaska Avalanche – Taylor Portner, forward, Odessa Jackalopes – Jack Prince, forward, Texas Tornado – Brock Raffaele, forward, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Doug Rose, defenseman, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Tim Shaughnessy, goaltender, Minot Minotauros – Brandon Smith, forward Corpus Christi IceRays – Beau Walker, forward, Corpus Christi IceRays – AJ White, forward, Michigan Warriors.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)