Tuesday, January 1, 2013

USHL Honors - Week 14

Press Release 

The United States Hockey League announced the CCM and Reebok player awards for the 14th week of the 2012-13 USHL regular season, ending on Sunday, December 30th.

Award winners include Kyle Novak from the Green Bay Gamblers and Joseph Cox of the Muskegon Lumberjacks, and named co-recipients of CCM Forward of the Week; Clark Kuster of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, selected as CCM Defenseman of the Week; and Michael Bitzer of the Lincoln Stars who earned honors as Reebok Goaltender of the Week.

Kyle Novak, F, Green Bay Gamblers: The 20 year-old registered two goals, including one on the power play, and two assists over the weekend.  Friday night, Novak netted an even strength marker late in the first period, then lit the lamp on the power play in the second period to help send the Gamblers to a 6-3 win over Chicago.  His second goal was the 30th of his USHL career.  The O’Fallon, MO native rounded out the weekend with an assist in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Muskegon. Novak has appeared in all 30 games for the Gamblers this season and ranks tied for fifth in USHL scoring with 37 points (13g, 24a) while being among League leaders with a plus-16 rating.

Joseph Cox, F, Muskegon Lumberjacks: The Chelsea, MI native had three goals on the weekend, which extended his point streak to five games.  He scored those two shorthanded goals in the third period of 6-3 loss to Dubuque, the first two shorthanded tallies of his USHL career.  On Saturday, Cox netted his fourth goal over his last five games as Muskegon fell 3-2 to Green Bay.  The 18 year-old registered seven points (4g, 3a) during his recent streak, and has collected 12 points (6g, 6a) over his last nine games. He leads the Lumberjacks with 26 points (11g, 15a) in 31 games and is tied for the team lead in goals.

Clark Kuster, D, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders: The St. Louis, MO native had a pair of goals on the weekend and sported a plus-two on-ice rating.  Kuster netted the first goal of the game for the RoughRiders in their 4-1 win over Des Moines on Friday.  He would net his seventh goal of the season in Saturday’s 7-4 loss to Waterloo.  The defenseman is riding a four-game point streak, the longest of his USHL career.  The 17-year-old has 15 points (7g, 8a) on the season, which ranks him second among the team’s blueliners and tied for 10th in USHL defenseman scoring.

Michael Bitzer, G, Lincoln Stars:  The 19-year-old was in net for both the Stars weekend victories.  On Friday, he made a season high 40 saves in a 2-1 overtime win against Tri-City.  The Moorhead, MN native was then perfect on Saturday, stopping all 23 shots to propel the Stars to a 5-0 victory over Sioux City and earn his first USHL career shutout.  In just over 124 minutes of action during the weekend, Bitzer posted a 0.48 goals-against-average and .984 save percentage.  He has won each of his last three starts, having only allowed two goals in that span, and is a winner of six of his last eight starts.  The first-year USHL goaltender leads the League in both GAA (1.90) and SV% (.926).

 (Nathan can be reached at nathanfournier@mainehockeyjournal.com)

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