The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending January 6, 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: Drew Weigman, goaltender, Brookings Blizzard
The Brooking Blizzard had three wins in three games this past week as they moved themselves back into a tie for 2nd place in the Central Division. Goaltender Drew Weigman, 19, was in goal for the weekend wins at home over Coulee Region on Friday and at Bismarck on Saturday. The Arnold, Maryland native, who won the NAHL Goaltender of the Month Award back in September, is back to his early season form as he stopped 46 of 48 shots in the two wins, allowing just two goals. On Friday, Weigman (6’1/185) made 22 saves in a 7-2 win over Coulee Region. On Saturday, Weigman was stellar in a 24-save shutout in Bismarck against the Bobcats. Weigman is now tied for 3rd in the NAHL with three shutouts this season. “Drew is back to his early season form and made some exceptional saves to keep us in the games,” said Blizzard head coach Cory Laylin. “He played with composure and confidence and when he does that, he is tough to beat.”
2nd Star: CJ Smith, forward, Austin Bruins
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Zack Holstrom, forward, Minot Minotauros – Justin Moody, forward, Brookings Blizzard – Ryan Ruck, goaltender, Minot Minotauros.
North Division Star of the Week: Trevor Gorsuch, goaltender, Michigan Warriors
It was quite a week for the Michigan Warriors and 18-year-old goaltender Trevor Gorsuch. The Warriors posted five wins last week, all with Gorsuch (6’2/205) in goal and now find themselves just a point out of 7th place and three points out of a playoff spot in the North Division. For the week, the native of St. Charles, Missouri, started and won all five of the Warriors games. He stopped a total of 157 of 165 shots, which was good for a 95.2% save percentage and allowed just eight goals in the five wins. Gorsuch started the week with 27 saves in a 4-2 win over Springfield on New Year’s Eve. The next day, he made 45 saves in a 3-2 in another win over the Jr. Blues. Gorsuch started the weekend with 21 saves in Friday’s 4-2 win over Johnstown. That continued with 29 saves on Saturday in a 2-1 win over the Tomahawks. It concluded with a 35-save performance on Sunday in an 8-1 win, as Gorsuch had his shutout bid spoiled in the final seconds of the game by Johnstown. “Trevor is still young, but he has playing with a lot of confidence lately and that has rubbed off on his teammates,” said Warriors head coach Moe Mantha. “He has maintained his focus and has had great rebound control. We are preaching to him that the less second chances he faces, the better off he will be.”
2nd Star: Eric Rivard, forward, Soo Eagles
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brandon Adams, forward, Soo Eagles – Ryan Atkinson, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues – Taylor Burden, forward, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Ryan Doucet, forward, Jamestown Ironmen – AJ Marcinek, forward, Michigan Warriors – Robbie Payne, forward, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Brett Skibba, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues.
South Division Star of the Week: Conor O’Neil, forward, Wichita Falls Wildcats
Sometimes a change of scenery is what a player needs and such can be said about Wichita Falls forward Conor O’Neil. The 18-year-old native of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, has been a great addition to the Wildcats line-up since being acquired in a trade with Amarillo earlier in the season. O’Neil (6’1/190) has averaged a point per game with Wichita Falls and this past week was a great indicator of the impact he has made in the line-up. In three games, O’Neil had seven points (4 goals, 3 assists) and was a +2 as the Wildcats snapped their losing streak and played well against some tough South opponents. On Monday, O’Neil had two assists in a 5-3 loss in Amarillo against the Bulls. On Friday, O’Neil had a goal and an assist in a close 3-2 home loss to Topeka. O’Neil saved his best performance for last as on Saturday, he had a hat-trick in a 5-2 win over the RoadRunners. “Conor has explosive strength and speed and is very good for an 18-year-old,” said Wildcats head coach Paul Baxter. “He uses his speed very well to create chances and I think he just needed the right opportunity to flourish. He has also seen some Division I interest, which is exciting for him.”
2nd Star: Beau Walker, forward, Corpus Christi IceRays
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Scott Conway, forward, Texas Tornado – Lawrence Cornellier, forward, Odessa Jackalopes – Mike Davis, forward, Amarillo Bulls – Sean Gaffney, forward, Topeka RoadRunners – AJ Jarosz, forward, Corpus Christi IceRays – Hunter Leisner, goaltender, Texas Tornado – Ross Luedtke, forward, Topeka RoadRunners.
West Division Star of the Week: Devin Loe, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Fairbanks Ice Dogs forward Devin Loe, 19, shined over the weekend for the Ice Dogs, who declared themselves as West Division title contenders as they took two of three road games in Wenatchee against the Wild. The native Weston, Florida, had five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in the three games and was also a +3 during the weekend. After going scoreless in Friday’s 2-1 loss, Loe (6’0/190) responded on Saturday with a goal and then a crucial assist on the game-winning goal in the 3rd period. On Sunday, Loe saved his best game of the weekend for last as he scored the game’s first goal and then assisted on two more, including the game-winner as the Ice Dogs posted a 5-2 win over the Wild. “Devin played well all weekend and really worked hard for his scoring chances,” said Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Steward. “His goals were very timely and in most cases, gave us the momentum we needed to win some critical games this past weekend.”
2nd Star: Matt Salituro, forward, Fresno Monsters
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Alex Jackstadt, forward, Kenai River Brown Bears – Steve Perry, goaltender, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Mitchell Snyder, forward, Fresno Monsters.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)