The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Bauer Hockey for the week ending December 3, 2017. The Bauer Hockey Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2017-18 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: Jaden Shields, defenseman, Austin Bruins
One of the big reasons behind the continued success of the Austin Bruins this weekend was defenseman Jaden Shields. The 17-year-old native of Royal Oak, Michigan, was a force from the blueline scoring four goals in a weekend road sweep in Bismarck to move the Bruins into sole possession of 1st place in the Central Division. Shields (5’10/185) scored his first two goals of the season, including the game-winner in Friday’s 3-2 win. The on Saturday, he added two more goals, including another game-winner, in an 8-6 win. Shields leads all Austin defensemen with 15 points in 23 games played so far this season. “Jaden has been really playing great hockey for us. He plays big minutes for us and it was nice to see him get rewarded with his first goal, and that lead to him getting four goals this weekend. He stepped up big for us in both games and we look for him to do more of the same, the rest of the way,” said Bruins head coach Steve Howard.
2nd Star: Andy Willis, F, Austin Bruins
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Ty Enns, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Gino Lucia, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Riley Murphy, F, Aberdeen Wings – Ondrej Pavel, F, Minot Minotauros – Jared Resseguie, F, Bismarck Bobcats – Michael Talbot, F, Minot Minotauros – Ondrej Trejhal, D, Minnesota Wilderness – Matt Vernon, G, Aberdeen Wings
East Division Star of the Week: Andy Nedeljkovic, forward, Johnstown Tomahawks
Johnstown forward Andy Nedeljkovic, 18, helped his team to two wins in a three game series against the visiting New Jersey Titans. The 5’11/190 lbs. native of Canton, Michigan, made his presence felt in each game as he recorded three goals and added two assists for five points. That included a goal in each game, including his three-point performance in a 5-1 win in the series finale on Sunday. In just 12 games with the Tomahawks this season, Nedeljkovic has 10 points. “We were fortunate to take 2 out of 3 games against a very good New Jersey team this weekend, and Andy was a huge factor to our success. It wasn’t just the offensive production, but also his play away from the puck, physicality and contributions on our penalty kill as well and winning timely face-offs. Andy has been a vital part to our team since arriving in Johnstown, and he has maturity and leadership beyond his age in my opinion. The combination of his hockey abilities, high-end character, and very strong academics make him an extremely attractive NCAA Division I prospect,” said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.
2nd Star: Gavin Gulash, F, New Jersey Titans
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Alex Frye, F, Philadelphia Rebels - Ben Schmidling, F, Johnstown Tomahawks – Brandon Stanley, F, Philadelphia Rebels
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Kip Hoffman, forward, Janesville Jets
Janesville Jets forward Kip Hoffman was all over this ice this weekend as the Jets picked up a weekend home sweep of the Brookings Blizzard. The 20-year-old native of Huntley, Illinois, had four points (3 goals, 1 assist) in the two wins. On Friday, Hoffman (5’11/185) had two goals, including a highlight reel overtime-winner, and an assist in a 6-5 overtime win. On Saturday, Hoffman scored again in a 2-1 win over the Blizzard. Hoffman currently ranks in the Top 8 in NAHL scoring this season with 27 points in 25 games played. “Kip lead by example and made key plays when we needed them. He got the tying goal and then an unbelievable goal in OT on Friday and continued his strong play for us on Saturday with another big goal. His play has been outstanding for us this season,” said Jets head coach Gary Shuchuk.
2nd Star: Luke Radetic, F, Kenai River Brown Bears
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Max Brainin, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Daniel Haider, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Zach Krajnik, F, Kenai River Brown Bears - Jarrett Lee, F, Minnesota Magicians – Bram Scheerer, F, Minnesota Magicians - Jeff Skinner, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Hunter Wendt, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
South Division Star of the Week: Blake Bride, forward, Odessa Jackalopes
Now 3-0-1 in their last four games, the Odessa Jackalopes took three of a possible four points during their weekend series at Lone Star last week. Forward Blake Bride, 19, had a big weekend as the native of Broomfield, Colorado, had four points (3 goals, 1 assist) and was +3 in the two games. On Friday, Bride (5’11/166) had two goals in a 5-1 win and on Saturday, he had another goal and an assist in a 4-3 overtime loss. For the season, Bride has 16 points in 20 NAHL games. “Blake has been a great addition and gives us a lot of energy every shift. That was evident this past weekend in an important road series at Lone Star,” said Jackalopes head coach Greg Gatto.
2nd Star: James Durham, G, Shreveport Mudbugs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Austin Bottrell, F, Lone Star Brahmas - Jason Brancheau, F, Amarillo Bulls - Matt Brown, F, Odessa Jackalopes – Ture Linden, F, Lone Star Brahmas – Alexei Mansanko, G, Amarillo Bulls – Sam Martel, D, Topeka RoadRunners – Dominick Procopio, D, Shreveport Mudbugs – Will Schlagenhauf, F, Topeka RoadRunners