Tuesday, December 3, 2013

NAHL announces Easton Divisional Stars of the Week

Press Release

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton for the week ending December 1, 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: Michael Bigelbach, Minot Minotauros

Winners of their last six in a row, the Minot Minotauros are positioning themselves for another run at one of the top two playoff spots in the Central Division. This weekend’s home sweep of the Aberdeen Wings and a pre-Thanksgiving win over Bismarck helped the cause and defenseman Michael Bigelbach, 18, led the charge.  The native of Red Wing, Minnesota totaled five points and was a +1 in the three wins this past week. He started the week with an assist on the game-winning goal in Wednesday’s 4-3 win in Bismarck. Bigelbach (6’2/175) followed that up with a goal and two assist effort in a 4-3 win over Aberdeen on Friday, in which he again assisted on the game-winning goal. On Saturday, he picked up another assist in a 4-0 shutout win over the Wings. “Michael has so much potential and has been a real big asset for us,” said Minot head coach Marty Murray. “He is playing his best hockey as the situations get tougher and more challenging and that is very encouraging.”

2nd Star: Aaron Nelson, goaltender, Bismarck Bobcats

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Nick DeCenzo, forward, Brookings Blizzard – Jay Dickman, forward, Austin Bruins – Brandon Parker, defenseman, Brookings Blizzard – Brennan Sanford, forward, Austin Bruins – Brandon Wildung, goaltender, Minot Minotauros

Midwest Division Star of the Week: Atte Tolvanen, goaltender, Minnesota Magicians

The Magicians posted a couple of franchise firsts this past weekend as they picked up their first series sweep and also their first shutout. Goaltender Atte Tolvanen, 19, was in goal for both of the wins as the Magicians moved into 4th place in the Midwest Division. On Friday, the native of Vihti, Finland, made 29 saves in a 4-3 win over the Brookings Blizzard.  On Saturday, Tolvanen (5’11/187) stopped all 37 shots that came his way for his first and that Magicians first shutout in the NAHL by a 2-0 score.  For the weekend, Tolvanen stopped 66 of a combined 69 shots. Tolvanen ranked tied for 8th in the NAHL in save percentage with a 92.4% mark this season. “Atte is very talented and all we can ask is that he gives us a chance to win every night,” said Magicians head coach Scott Meyer. “This weekend, it kind of all came together where he got the support he needed and everyone put forth a solid effort all game long.”

2nd Star: Viktor Liljegren, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Evan Butcher, forward, Kenai River Brown Bears – Chandler Madry, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Matt Nuttle, defenseman, Wenatchee Wild – Matt Rudin, forward, Kenai River Brown Bears – Parker Tuomie, forward, Wenatchee Wild

North Division Star of the Week: Logan Halladay, goaltender, Janesville Jets

Winners of their last three straight and four of their last five games, the Janesville Jets are climbing the standings in the North and are now just five points out of a playoff spot. This past week, the Jets won all three of their games and 17-year-old netminder Logan Halladay started and won all three games. The native of Cary, North Carolina, who is also an alum of the NAPHL, began his week with a 45-save effort in a 3-2 shootout win in Springfield on Wednesday. On Friday, Halladay (6’2/180) stopped 27 of 28 shots in a 5-1 home win over Coulee Region. On Saturday, Halladay shined again making 31 saves in a 4-3 road win at Coulee Region.  For the week, Halladay stopped 103 of 109 shots that came his way. “With Logan in the net, at times it is like a third defenseman on the ice because he moves the puck so well,” said Jets head coach Joe Dibble. “I think everyone knows he is capable of playing at an elite level, but because that he is younger goalie we feel like the sky is the limit for him because he is improving every day.”

2nd Star: Robin Hoglund, forward, Janesville Jets

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Patrick Curry, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues – Matt Jones, forward, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Logan Lambdin, forward, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Stefanos Lekkas, goaltender, Springfield Jr. Blues – Alex Okicki, goaltender, Johnstown Tomahawks

South Division Star of the Week: Will Vosejpka, forward, Wichita Falls Wildcats

Second year forward Will Vosejpka, 19, helped the Wichita Falls Wildcats to two wins in three games this past week as they maintained their spot tied for 2nd place in the South Division. On Wednesday, the native of Midland, Michigan started his week by picking up the game-winning goal and adding an assist in a 3-1 win at the Lone Star Brahmas. On Friday, Vosejpka (6’0/185) picked up two assists, including one on the game-winning goal in a 5-2 win over the visiting Corpus Christi IceRays. On Saturday, Vosejpka assisted on one of the two Wichita Falls goals in a 4-2 loss at home to the IceRays.  For the week, the Air Force Academy recruit totaled five points and was a +2. He leads the Wildcats in goals this season with nine and is tied for 2nd in points with 17.“Will has developed into a real solid player. He has a great shot, great speed and has become a real impact player for us,” said Wildcats head coach Paul Baxter.

2nd Star: Ben Greiner, forward, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): PJ Bridges, goaltender, Topeka RoadRunners – Anthony Croston, forward, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Wes Michaud, forward, Corpus Christi IceRays – Nick Monfils, forward, Corpus Christi IceRays – Tyler Poulsen, forward, Topeka RoadRunners – Colin Staub, forward, Wichita Falls Wildcats

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

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