Brookings Blizzard goaltender Austin Priebe named Central Division Star of the Week
Minnesota Wilderness goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo named Midwest Division Star of the Week
Johnstown Tomahawks forward Shane Bednard named North Division Star of the Week
Amarillo Bulls forward Tyler Gernhofer named South Division Star of the Week
FRISCO, TEXAS - The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton for the week ending November 10, 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: Austin Priebe, goaltender, Brookings Blizzard
The Brookings Blizzard took three of four points in a weekend series in Minot and 20-year-old goaltender Austin Priebe was very solid in both games. The native of Wausau, Wisconsin and Air Force recruit started the weekend with a 4-2 win on Friday against the Minotauros, making 24 saves. A night later, Priebe (6'4/210) was even better in a 2-1 shootout loss, where he made 25 saves through regulation and overtime and allowed just a single goal in the shootout. For the weekend, Priebe stopped 49 of 52 shots and helped the Blizzard come away with three valuable points. "Austin has found his groove, which is really helping us be a better team. I think he just needed to loosen up and play his game," said Brookings head coach Cory Laylin. "He moves the puck well and with his size, it that lends itself well to his overall athleticism."
2nd Star: Justin Quale, goaltender, Austin Bruins
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Conor Andrle, forward, Brookings Blizzard - Trey Dodd, forward, Austin Bruins - Jake Howie, forward, Minot Minotauros - Merrick Madsen, goaltender, Minot Minotauros
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Kasimir Kaskisuo, goaltender, Minnesota Wilderness
If the NAHL had to name an MVP at this point of the season, Minnesota Wilderness goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo, 20, would probably lead the conversation. The native of Vantaa, Finland, was outstanding this past week as the Wilderness won three games and increased their win streak to 10 straight games. Kaskisuo (6'3/195) showed why he is the league's top goaltender as he allowed just a single goal in the three wins. On Wednesday, Kaskisuo made 20 saves in a 2-0 home shutout of the 1st place Austin Bruins. Two nights later, he made 33 saves in a 1-0 shutout in Aberdeen against the Wings, which was his league-leading sixth shutout of the season. On Saturday, he made 26 saves in a 2-1 win in Aberdeen. For the season, Kaskisuo leads the NAHL in almost every single goaltending category including: wins (12), shutouts (6), goals against average (0.99) and save percentage (96.0%). "As the old saying goes, the best penalty killer is your goalie, which is one of the major reasons why our penalty kill has performed the way it has," said Wilderness head coach Corey Millen. "We won in a very tough place against a very tough team in Aberdeen. I thought on Friday, Kasimir was outstanding. He remains calm and makes the saves we need him to make. The entire team is playing well in front of him."
2nd Star: Tayler Munson, forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Kevin Aldridge, goaltender, Fairbanks Ice Dogs - Jake Bushey, defenseman, Kenai River Brown Bears - Matt Colford, forward, Minnesota Magicians - Sean Kalbak, forward, Coulee Region Chill - Nick Kuchera, forward, Minnesota Magicians -Terry Leabo, defenseman, Minnesota Wilderness - Brogan Rafferty, defenseman, Coulee Region Chill - Zack Zulkanycz, forward, Kenai River Brown Bears
North Division Star of the Week: Shane Bednard, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks
18-year-old Shane Bednard, helped the Johnstown Tomahawks pick up a weekend home sweep of the Springfield Jr. Blues to keep pace in the North Division. The native of Macomb, Michigan, recorded five points in the two wins, which included three goals and two assists. On Friday, Bednard (5'10/165) had two goals and an assist in a 5-1 win over the Jr. Blues. On Saturday, he had another goal and an assist in a 6-5 win over the Jr. Blues. Bednard was also a +2 during the weekend. In 20 games this season, Bednard has 13 points for the Tomahawks. "Shane is really starting to shoot the puck and keep things simple. He does a great job of going to the net for his scoring chances," said Johnstown head coach Jason Spence. "I think he is the kind of player that never wants a day off, is always trying to improve and it rubs off on his teammates."
2nd Star: Zach Badalamenti, forward, Port Huron Fighting Falcons
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Darren Brady, defenseman, Soo Eagles - David Dekorte, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues - Brandon Reinholz, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks - Mike Severson, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues - TJ Stuntz, forward, Michigan Warriors - Zack Szajner, forward, Michigan Warriors - Bryan Yim, forward, Port Huron Fighting Falcons
South Division Star of the Week: Tyler Gernhofer, forward, Amarillo Bulls
The defending champion Amarillo Bulls are right back to where they left off last season, at the top of the NAHL. Thanks to a week that featured four road wins, the Bulls lead the NAHL in wins and points. Forward Tyler Gernhofer, 18, had a huge week and now is tied for the NAHL scoring lead with 26 points and is leading the NAHL with 17 goals, which includes six game-winning goals. The Grapevine, Texas native had seven points this past week in Amarillo's four wins, which included five goals. On Tuesday, Gernhofer (5'10/195) scored a goal in a 4-2 win against the Brahmas. Over the weekend in Corpus Christi, Gernhofer scored the game-winning goals in both wins, which included a two-point night on Friday and a four-point night on Sunday, which included a hat-trick. Gernhofer's 26 points to date matches his season total from a year ago. "Tyler is a dynamite offensive threat and he has one of the best releases I have seen in my four years in the league," said Bulls head coach Dennis Williams. "He is starting to play with much more confidence and is scoring goals at important times in the games, and he is responsible in all facets of the game."
2nd Star: Joe Grabowski, defenseman, Amarillo Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Maurin Bouvet, forward, Corpus Christi IceRays - Nick Farmer, forward, Wichita Falls Wildcats - Ben Kuchera, forward, Wichita Falls Wildcats -Brad LeLievre, forward, Corpus Christi IceRays - Aleksi Luhtalampi, forward, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees - Nick Schmit, goaltender, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees