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Published: Monday, 7 Jan 2013
By: Brian Werger

Chicago, IL - The United States Hockey League announced the CCM and Reebok player awards for the 15th week of the 2012-13 USHL regular season.

Award winners include Zach Stepan of the Waterloo Black Hawks, receiving the CCM Forward of the Week; Chris Dienes of the Fargo Force, selected as CCM Defenseman of the Week; and Nick Ellis of the Des Moines Buccaneers, who earned honors as Reebok Goaltender of the Week.

Zach Stepan, F, Waterloo Black Hawks: The Hastings, MN native went on a tear over the last week, accounting for seven points (4g, 3a) in two wins for the Black Hawks.  On New Year's Eve, he registered a power play goal and two power play assists to help Waterloo roll to a 10-2 win over the Lincoln Stars.  The 18 year-old exploded for three goals including the game winner in a 5-4 victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints on Friday, recording his second hat trick of the season.  He also collected an assist and finished the night with a plus four on-ice rating.  Stepan has 11 points (5g, 6a) over his last five games and has recorded points in 22 of 27 games played this season.  He currently ranks third both on the Hawks and in the USHL with 43 points (17g, 26a).

Chris Dienes, D, Fargo Force: The 19 year-old registered four points (1g, 3a) and was a plus-five over the last week for the Force.  Last Monday, he dished out one assist in a 4-2 win over Dubuque. Dienes added another power play helper in Friday's 4- 1 victory against the Omaha Lancers.  The Traverse City, MI native netted his first goal in 10 games and recorded another assist in a 3-2 win over the Lancers on Saturday.  He is currently riding a four-game point streak, earning a goal and five assists over that span.  His 12 points on the season (3g, 9a) ranks him second on the team in defenseman scoring and his plus-18 on-ice rating is the second best mark for the Force.

Nick Ellis, G, Des Moines Buccaneers:  The Millersville, MD native was 2-0-0 with a 0.71 goals-against average and .976 save percentage as he allowed two goals in three games over the weekend.  Friday night, he stopped 34-of-35 shots to lead the Buccaneers to a 4-1 win over the Indiana Ice.  He came into Saturday's game in relief and stopped all 15 shots he faced in a 4-2 loss to the Ice.  The 18 year-old put together another stellar effort on Saturday, blocking 35 shots to backstop Des Moines to a 3-1 victory over the Muskegon Lumberjacks.  Ellis has earned the victory in six of his last eight starts and is ranked third in the USHL with a .924 SV% and tenth with a 2.88 GAA.

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 11th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2012-13.  With 20 NHL Draft picks on team rosters and over 230 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools this season, the USHL has emerged as the world's foremost producer of junior hockey talent.  For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League's social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive).  Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).

It's not just hockey.  It's the USHL.


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