The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending January 27, 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: Jason Pawloski, goaltender, Austin Bruins
It is hard to ignore the ‘perfect’ weekend when it takes place, but that’s exactly what happened to Bruins rookie goaltender Jason Pawloski. The 17-year-old from Omaha, Nebraska, played in both road games this weekend against the Minot Minotauors and promptly shutout Minot in both games. In the process, Austin secured a playoff berth for the 2013 Robertson Cup Playoffs. On Friday, Pawlowski (6’0/165) made 33 saves in a 5-0 win. On Saturday, he stopped all 25 shots in a 3-0 win. For the weekend, Pawloski stopped all 58 shots that came his way. Last week, he was named as one of the two goalies for the NAHL 18U Selects team at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament next month. “We had been rotating every other game, but since Jason played so well on Friday I thought he deserved the opportunity on Saturday,” said Austin head coach Chris Tok. “He plays well and very composed for a younger guy. He keeps pucks in sight and in front of him, which makes it easier on everyone.”
2nd Star: Tyler Cayemberg, forward, Brookings Blizzard
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jared Docken, defenseman, Brookings Blizzard – Bryan Nies, goaltender, Bismarck Bobcats – Filip Starzynski, forward, Bismarck Bobcats.
North Division Star of the Week: Robbie Payne, forward, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings
It is now a three-horse race for the top spot in the North Division and thanks to a three wins on the road this past week, the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings are now in a tie for 1st place. Forward Robbie Payne, 19, had a five-point week, which included a goal and four assists in the three wins. Payne fired 14 shots on goal during the week and was also a +3. After going scoreless in a 2-1 win in Port Huron on Wednesday, Payne (6’0/189) had two assists (including on the game-winning goal) in a 4-2 win in Janesville on Friday. On Saturday, the native of Gaylord, Michigan had a goal and two assists in a 6-5 shootout win, which completed a weekend sweep of the Jets. Payne’s 46 points to date ranks him tied for 6th currently in the NAHL scoring race. “Robbie was big in our three road wins last week. He has really brought a lot of veteran leadership to the team,” said K-Wings head coach Marc Fakler. “He does the little things… block shots, plays defense, finds the open players. He makes everyone better around him.”
2nd Star: Cody Gylling, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brett D’Andrea, forward, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Ryan Kellenberger, goaltender, Springfield Jr. Blues – Mitch Kontny, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks – Max Milosek, goaltender, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Sean Murphy, forward, Soo Eagles – Alex Okicki, goaltender, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Brett Skibba, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues – Alexander Taulien, forward, Soo Eagles.
South Division Star of the Week: Nick Neville, defenseman, Texas Tornado
With a weekend road sweep of the Wichita Falls Wildcats, the Texas Tornado moved into 1st place in the South Division and ran their winning streak to an NAHL season-high 10 straight games. Defenseman Nick Neville, 19, was at the forefront of the team’s success as he recorded four points (2 goals, 2 assists) during the weekend wins and also had a hand in both game-winning goals. On Friday, Neville (6’0/177) had two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist in a 3-2 win. On Saturday, Neville assisted on a goal and then had the eventual shootout winning goal in a 4-3 win. Last week, the native of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan was named to Team Texas for the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament and he currently ranks tied for 8th in scoring by NAHL defensemen. “Nick has been one of our best defenseman and he is really playing at a high level,” said Tornado head coach Tony Curtale. “The bigger the game, the bigger he plays. He has 7-8 Division I colleges interested in him right now, so it is an exciting time for him and he is playing well.”
2nd Star: Spencer Viele, goaltender, Topeka RoadRunners
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Paul Berrafato, goaltender, Amarillo Bulls – Clint Carlisle, forward, Amarillo Bulls – Lawrence Cornellier, forward, Odessa Jackalopes – Jackson Leef, forward, Texas Tornado – Anthony Olguin, forward, Odessa Jackalopes – Beau Walker, forward, Corpus Christi IceRays.
West Division Star of the Week: Garret Clemment, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
The Fairbanks Ice Dogs are just a point out of 1st place in the West Division thanks to a three-game road sweep of the Fresno Monsters and there has been nobody more valuable than forward Garret Clemment. The 19-year-old from Mosinee, Wisconsin, is tied for the team lead in scoring thanks to his seven-point (4 goals, 3 assists) weekend in the three wins. On Friday, Clemment (5’10/170) had a hat-trick in a 7-3 win over Fresno. On Saturday, he chipped in with two assists in an 8-3 win and on Sunday, he scored the game-winning goal in overtime and had an assist as Fairbanks climbed back from a 2-0 deficit to complete the weekend sweep with a 3-2 win. The weekend was an emotional one for Clemment, who had seen his billet mom pass away earlier in the week. “Garret played through some adversity this past weekend and he really played with a lot of emotion,” said Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart. “His teammates were there to support him and back him up and he played inspired hockey. He finds the open ice extremely well and puts pressure on the opponent.”
2nd Star: Nick Hinz, defenseman, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical):– Robert Nichols, goaltender, Wenatchee Wild
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)