Aberdeen Wings forward Ronnie Hein, 17, helped the Wings to a weekend split to keep the team in 2nd place in the Central Division. The native of Chelsea, MI and Ferris State University recruit had three goals in two games this weekend as the Wings fell on Friday at home to Bismarck, but rebounded with a 4-1 win in Brookings on Saturday. Hein (6’0/165) had the lone goal in Friday’s 3-1 loss to the Bobcats. On Saturday, Hein had two goals in the 4-1 win at Brookings. The rookie forward currently leads Aberdeen in scoring with eight points in his first six NAHL games. “Ronnie has a lot of talent, but he gets to the next level because he plays and works extremely hard,” said Wings head coach Francis Anzalone. “He goes into the areas that very few players like to go into. He is on a great line that is clicking right now.”
2nd Star: Atte Tolvanen, G, Minot Minotauros
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jake Howie, F, Minot Minotauros – Andrew Shortridge, G, Aberdeen Wings
The Minnesota Wilderness find themselves in 1st place in the Midwest Division thanks to their weekend home sweep of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. 19-year-old defenseman Tobia Bjorklund (5’10/180) was a big contributor at both ends of the ice as he ended up with a +2 rating and four points in the two wins. On Friday, the native of Filipstad, Sweden, assisted on the second Wilderness goal in a 4-3 win over Fairbanks. On Saturday, Bjorklund assisted on the first goal and then scored the next two goals in a 5-3 win. He is tied for second in scoring on the Wilderness roster and leads all defensemen with five points. “Tobias had a fantastic weekend. He is very skilled, he sees the ice well and he makes sure he takes care of things defensively as well,” said Wilderness head coach Corey Millen.
2nd Star: Tyler Andrews, D, Kenai River Brown Bears
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Maurin Bouvet, F, Kenai River Brown Bears – Kane Durment, F, Minnesota Magicians – Jack Forbort, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Jacob Hetz, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs - Marc Michaelis, F, Minnesota Magicians - Caleb Schroer, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
The Keystone Ice Miners are right back on top of the North Division thanks to three road wins this past weekend, including a sweep of the Soo Eagles and a win over the Michigan Warriors. Third-year netminder Alex Blankenburg, 20, got back to his old form with two great performances on Friday and Sunday. On Friday, the native of Washington, MI, made 31 saves in a 6-3 win against the Eagles. On Sunday, Blankenburg (5’9/167) made 46 saves in a 2-1 win over the Warriors. For the weekend, Blankenburg stopped 77 of the 81 total shots that came his way. For the season, Blankenburg has a 4-1-1 record with a 2.76 goals against average and a 91.2% save percentage. “We allowed a lot more shots than we wanted to, but Alex was equal to the challenge. He is back to the guy we saw last year in net. He is very calm, cool and collected and that allows us to play a little more freely knowing he is behind us and able to handle the odd man situations,” said Keystone head coach Michael Gershon.
2nd Star: Alex Smith, D, Janesville Jets
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jake Gwillim, G, Johnstown Tomahawks – Nick Kossoff, G, Keystone Ice Miners – Dryden McKay, G, Springfield Jr. Blues – Brian Rigali, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Brandon Schultz, F, Janesville Jets.
Thanks to a weekend home sweep of the Topeka RoadRunners, the Wichita Falls Wildcats moved into 2nd place in the South Division and leading the way was rookie forward Austin Beaulieu. The 18-year-old from Coral Springs, FL, had a great weekend as he contributed five points (4 goals, 1 assist) in the two wins and was a +4. The University of Alabama-Huntsville recruit scored the game-winning goal in both victories. On Friday, Beaulieu (5’9/170) had two of the Wildcats three goals in a 3-1 win. On Saturday, he scored two more goals and added an assist in a 5-1 win. Beaulieu not only leads the Wildcats in scoring with eight points in seven games, but he also leads the NAHL with three game-winning goals. “Austin continues to get better each week. His goals were very timely and came against a good opponent,” said Wildcats head coach John LaFontaine. “They were very tight games and he made the difference. Austin has a real ability to make plays and can score.”
2nd Star: Austin Shaw, G, Wichita Falls Wildcats
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jake Ahlgren, F, Wenatchee Wild – Nathan Bryer, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Andrew Lindgren, G, Corpus Christi IceRays - Andre Pison, F, Wenatchee Wild
For the second year in a row, the Austin Bruins were crowned NAHL Showcase Champions. Leading the way for the Bruins was forward Trevor Boyd. Now in his third NAHL season, Boyd (6’3/200) is a playmaker from Muskegon, Michigan. The 20-year-old racked up seven points (1 goal, 6 assists) in the four wins and was a +7. Boyd registered multiple points in three of the four wins, which included a goal and assist in an 8-2 win over Johnstown. He also had games with multiple assists in wins over Fairbanks and Michigan. “Trevor is a very good position player and tends to find himself in the right areas,” said Bruins head coach Chris Tok. “He has had a long road to this point, but the success he has had is because of hard work and persistence.”
2nd Star: Beau Michaud, F, Brookings Blizzard
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Alex Bitsakis, G, Bismarck Bobcats – Kyle Haak, F, Aberdeen Wings - Ronnie Hein, F, Aberdeen Wings – Blake Lizotte, D, Minot Minotauros – Christian Mohs, F, Minot Minotauros - Cullen Willox, F, Bismarck Bobcats
Now in his third season in the NAHL, Chill forward Adam Lovick, 20, helped the Chill to a 2-1-1 record at the NAHL Showcase. The native of Lino Lakes, Minnesota totaled eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) in the four games and was a +4. Lovick (6’0/185) began the event in style with a five point game in a 5-2 win over Odessa. He had a multiple point game in the next contest, a win against Rio Grande Valley. He also chipped in a goal in a 3-2 shootout loss on the final day against Aberdeen. “Adam was awesome at the Showcase and really has become a leader of this team,” said Chill head coach AJ Degenhardt. “I think he has gotten to the point where he is in his development because he is a very hard worker.”
2nd Star: Richard Zehnal, F, Coulee Region Chill
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tyler Andrews, D, Kenai River Brown Bears – Nick Klishko, F, Kenai River Brown Bears
The Soo Eagles may have found themselves a keeper in 18-year-old goalie Jack Berry. The rookie and native of Holly, Michigan played very well at the NAHL Showcase, helping the Eagles to a 3-1 record and 1st place in the North Division. Berry started in two games and made an appearance in a third. Berry (6’2/185) won his first NAHL start as he stopped 19 of 20 shots that came his way in a 3-1 win over Minot. After posting a perfect period against Brookings in a relief role, Berry then made 20 saves in a 5-0 shutout win over the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. He has allowed just one goal on 43 shots to date. “Jack has looked good in practice and we were eager to see what he could do. I thought he got stronger as the games went along. He players under control and mature for a younger goalie,” said Soo head coach Bruno Bragagnolo.
2nd Star: Sandis Zolmanis, F, Soo Eagles
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jake Coleman, F, Keystone Ice Miners – Joe Drabin, F, Johnstown Tomahawks – Matt Jones, F, Keystone Ice Miners – Matt Jurusik, G, Janesville Jets – Zach Lavalle, F, Janesville Jets
Every NAHL Showcase seems to produce breakout stars and such was the case for 17-year-old goalie Matej Tomek of the Topeka RoadRunners. Topeka went undefeated in the event thanks in large part to Tomek (6’3/180), who posted shutouts in both of his starts. On Thursday, the native of Bratislava, Slovakia made 27 saves in a 4-0 win against Johnstown. The next day, Tomek made 19 saves in a 4-0 win over the Michigan Warriors. Tomek’s save percentage of 97.3% and goals against average of .67 rank 2nd in both catagories in NAHL goaltending. “Matej may be young, but he is a very mature, very composed and very calm goalie for someone who is just 17-years-old,” said Topeka head coach Scott Langer. “He has great rebound control and he is a tremendous competitor when he steps onto that ice.”
2nd Star: Derek Brown, F, Odessa Jackalopes
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Kevin Charyszyn, F, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Anthony Cortese, D, Corpus Christi IceRays – Jasen Fernsler, F, Topeka RoadRunners – Kenny Hausinger, F, Odessa Jackalopes – Connor Kelly, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Austin Shaw, G, Wichita Falls Wildcats
It was quite the NAHL debut for 19-year-old Swedish forward Jesper Ohrvall. The native of Halmstad, Sweden, helped the Ice Dogs split their opening series in Kenai River last weekend. In the two road games, Ohrvall (5’9/170) had four of Fairbanks’ six goals on the weekend. On Friday night, Ohrvall scored twice including the game-winning goal in a 3-1 win. On Saturday night, Ohrvall scored two more goals in a 5-3 loss. “Jesper is a highly skilled forward and really has a knack for the net,” said Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart. “He played very well this weekend against a very good Brown Bears team.”
2nd Star: Matt Rudin, F, Kenai River Brown Bears
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Sean Healy, G, Kenai River Brown Bears – Chandler Madry, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
The Soo Eagles ended up with a weekend home split with the Janesville Jets this past weekend and leading the way was forward Bruno Birzitis. The 19-year-old native of Riga, Latvia, registered four points, which included two goals and two assists. He was also a +3. On Friday night, Birzitis (6’0/182) scored twice including the game-winning goal in a 3-2 win over the Jets. On Saturday night, he assisted on two of the Eagles three goals in a 4-3 loss. Last season, Birzitis had 26 points in 50 games played. “We expect big things out of the Bruno this season and he really rose to the occasion this past weekend,” said Soo head coach Bruno Bragagnolo. “He has a lot of skill and can put the puck in the net, so it was a great start to the season for him.”
2nd Star: Jacob Coleman, F, Keystone Ice Miners
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brady Bender, D, Johnstown Tomahawks – Drew Callin, F, Janesville Jets – Jake Houston, D, Johnstown Tomahawks – Kyle Patava, F, Janesville Jets – Sandis Zolmanis, F, Soo Eagles
The Topeka RoadRunners got the 2014-15 season started on the right foot with a sweep of the Corpus Christi IceRays. 20-year-old forward Daniel Rzavsky was a big factor in both of the wins as the native of Bratislava, Slovakia racked up three points during the weekend, which included two goals and an assist. On Friday night, Rzavsky (6’1/190) had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 shootout win. On Sunday, he had the game-winning goal in a 5-2 win. “The success was a pleasant surprise against a good team,” said Topeka head coach Scott Langer. “Dan is capable being on the scoresheet every night and plays extremely hard.”
2nd Star: Kenny Hausinger, F, Odessa Jackalopes
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Alex Falconer, F, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Jasen Fernsler, forward, Topeka RoadRunners – Robin Johansson, G, Odessa Jackalopes – Tanner Lomsnes, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Wes Michaud, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Max Reisinger, F, Wichita Falls Wildcats