The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton for the week ending September 29, 2013. The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2013-14 regular season that honors the top performing players in each of the four NAHL divisions. Only players that are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the Divisional Players of the Week award.
Central Division Star of the Week: Stanislav Dzakhov, forward, Bismarck Bobcats
With their weekend home sweep of the Wenatchee Wild, the Bismarck Bobcats kept pace with Austin and Aberdeen in the Central Division race. Veteran forward Stanislav Dzakhov, 20, led the way for the Bobcats, as the native of Moscow, Russia, totaled five points (four goals, one assist) during the weekend series. Dzakhov (6’1/200) started the weekend with a goal and an assist in Friday’s 4-3 win. On Saturday, Dzakhov recorded a hat-trick and was on the ice for all five Bismarck goals in a 5-2 win. Dzakhov was also a +6 during the two wins. For the year, Dzakhov is averaging a point per game with eight points in eight games and his six goals ranks tied for 2nd in the NAHL. “Stan put up points this past weekend, but he really hasn’t missed a beat since last year’s Robertson Cup Playoffs,” said Bobcats head coach Layne Sedevie. “He has proven to be a consistent scorer in this league and he did a great job this past weekend of playing at both ends of the ice.”
2nd Star: Dillon Eichstadt, defenseman, Aberdeen Wings
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tim Donohue, forward, Minot Minotauros – Scott Dornbrock, defenseman, Minot Minotauros – Evan Giesler, forward, Bismarck Bobcats – Evan Hesse, forward, Brookings Blizzard – Bjorn Sigurdarson, forward, Aberdeen Wings.
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Alec Butcher, forward, Kenai River Brown Bears
The Brown Bears ended their two-week long roadtrip through Minnesota with a 5-1 record, which included a split this past weekend with the Minnesota Magicians. Forward Alec Butcher, 19, is the NAHL’s scoring leader thanks to another impressive weekend. The native of Anchorage, Alaska, had three points this weekend (two goals, one assist). On Saturday, he had a goal in a 3-2 loss and on Sunday, Butcher (5’11/175) had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win. He also had 10 shots during the weekend. Butcher leads the NAHL in scoring this season with 11 points in eight games played. “Alec leads by example and played with a lot of confidence this weekend,” said Brown Bears head coach Geoff Beauparlant. “He has good vision and he is not afraid to take the shot when the pressure is on. He is the ultimate competitor and it shows in his consistency.”
2nd Star: Frank Oplinger, goaltender, Minnesota Wilderness
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Conor Deal, forward, Kenai River Brown Bears – Billy Exell, forward, Minnesota Wilderness – Kyle Lee, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs.
North Division Star of the Week: Alex Okicki, goaltender, Johnstown Tomahawks
Returning from an injury that kept him out of the NAHL Showcase, Johnstown goaltender Alex Okicki, 20, played a role in all three games this past weekend as the Tomahawks traveled to Soo to take on the Eagles. In the two Tomahawks wins on Saturday and Sunday, Okicki started a won both games, which included his first shutout of the season on Sunday. Okicki made a relief appearance on Friday after Soo had taken a 3-0 lead. Okicki stopped 28 of 30 shots the rest of the game. The next night, the Concord, Ohio native made 26 saves in a 3-2 shootout win in which he stopped all seven Eagles shooters. On Sunday, he made 28 saves in a 2-0 shutout. For the weekend, Okicki (6’1/175) stopped 82 of 86 shots (95.3%) and had a goals against average of 1.37. “Alex is such a great leader and it was important for him to play well coming off the injury,” said Tomahawks head coach Jason Spence. “I saw it first-hand last year playing against him. He never gives up on a play and he works very hard. Has been a good mentor to our other goalies.”
2nd Star: Bryce VanHorn, forward, Port Huron Fighting Falcons
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Sandro Aeschlimann, goaltender, Springfield Jr. Blues – Alex Archibald, defenseman, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Michael Caruso, defenseman, Soo Eagles – Pat Curry, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues – Brad Pung, forward, Soo Eagles – Jordan Watt, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks.
South Division Star of the Week: Jordan Jancze, forward, Wichita Falls Wildcats
It was quite the breakout weekend for 19-year-old Wildcats forward Jordan Jancze. The native of Woodbury, Minnesota, helped the Wildcats sweep two close games on the road against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees to move into 1st place alone atop the South Division. For the weekend, Jancze (5’8/165) scored three goals and added an assist for four points. More impressively, Jancze scored both game-winning goals over the weekend and was a +4. On Saturday, Jancze scored twice including the game-winning goal in the 2nd period in a 3-2 win. On Sunday, he had another game-winner with a short-handed goal in the 2nd period along with an assist in a 3-1 win. For the season, Jancze has six points in six games played. “Jordan plays with a lot of energy and has a lot of good leadership qualities to him,” said Wildcats head coach Paul Baxter. “Has really adapted nicely to the junior game and we believe he has the potential to be a Division I caliber player.”
2nd Star: Eric Purcell, forward, Corpus Christi IceRays
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Dylan Abood, defenseman, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Collin Delia, goaltender, Amarillo Bulls – Tyler Gernhofer, forward, Amarillo Bulls – Grant Hutton, defenseman, Corpus Christi IceRays – Andrew Kerr, defenseman, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Evan Schmidbauer, forward, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Cash Seraphim, forward, Topeka RoadRunners – Michal Uhrik, forward, Topeka RoadRunners.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)