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NAHL announces Bauer Hockey Stars of the Week

January 15, 2024

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Bauer Hockey for the week ending January 14, 2024.  The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2023-24 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: Adam Dybal, Goaltender, Aberdeen Wings 

Aberdeen goalie Adam Dybal, 18, was rock solid this weekend as the Wings picked up a weekend sweep of their series in Austin. The 6’1/170 lbs native of Ostrava, Czech Republic, stopped 94 of 100 shots in two road wins over the weekend. On Friday, Dybal made 42 saves in a 6-5 win, and then on Saturday was even better, making 52 saves in a 5-1 win. For the season, Dybal has a 14-7-1 record in 24 appearances with a 2.78 goals against average and a .916 save percentage. “Adam’s been a workhorse for this team as of late. He gives us a chance to win and that’s all we can ask for. He has a high end compete level and his tools speak for themself. Adam’s going to make a very good college hockey goaltender,” said Wings head coach Scott Langer. 

2nd Star: Tommy Cronin, F, Bismarck Bobcats 

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Leonid Bulgakov, F, Aberdeen Wings – Dylan Cook, F, Austin Bruins – Stephen Peck, G, Bismarck Bobcats – Austin Salani, F, Austin Bruins 

 

East Division Star of the Week: Luca Leighton, Forward, Rochester Jr. Americans 

Rochester forward Luca Leighton, 20, had a productive weekend as the Jr. Americans picked up three of a possible four points in their weekend home series against Philadelphia. The 5’9/170 lbs native of Old Brooklyn, NY, totaled four points in the two games. On Friday, Leighton scored a goal and assisted on another in a 3-2 shootout loss. The next night, he scored the game-winning goal and added an assist in a 3-0 win. For the season, Leighton is currently fourth in team scoring with 26 points (13 goals, 13 assists) in 27 games played to date. “It’s great to see Luca getting this recognition for the weekend he just had but he’s been as consistent as can be. What I’m most impressed about is how good he is defensively while being a constant threat on offense. We utilize him in every situation and he’s been excellent for us,” said Rochester head coach Francois Methot. 

2nd Star: Kellen Murphy, F, Maine Nordiques 

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Grant Dietz, F, Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks – Thomas Heaney, G, Maine Nordiques – Toby Hopp, G, Northeast Generals – Reid Lune, F, Johnstown Tomahawks – Joseph McGraw, F, Northeast Generals – Justin Rapp, F, Johnstown Tomahawks – Evan Sofikitis, D, Maryland Black Bears – Tyler Stern, F, Maryland Black Bears 

 

Midwest Division Star of the Week: Vaughn Makar, Goaltender, Anchorage Wolverines 

Makar, 19, led the Wolverines to a weekend road sweep against in-state rival Fairbanks this past weekend. The 5’11/180 lbs native of Anchorage, AK, was in goal for both wins, stopping 75 of a possible 78 shots in the process. Makar made 41 saves on Friday in a 4-2 win. On Saturday, he made 34 saves in a 3-1 win. For the season, Makar has appeared in four games, posting a 3-1 record with a 2.22 goals against average and .914 save percentage. “Vaughn has been the definition of patience, persistence, and resilience. I know he’s been chomping at the bit to get an opportunity in net after coming back from an injury. Watching from the sidelines didn’t detour his attitude or work ethic on and off the ice. Starting him in Fairbanks against an in-state rival and in front of the Fairbanks crowd is no easy task. Especially when it’s your first game since mid-November. He made big time saves when we were getting out shot and in penalty trouble. His play had a calming effect to the rest of our team that allowed us to settle in and battle back from a 2-0 deficit Friday night and play with a lead Saturday night. Vaughn has earned this opportunity and star of the week in every right,” said Wolverines head coach Nick Walters. 

2nd Star: Max Martin, F, Wisconsin Windigo 

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Quinn Disher, F, Wisconsin Windigo – Hudley Hudak, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Fyodor Nikolayenya, F, Anchorage Wolverines – Mason Peapenburg, D, Chippewa Steel – Peyton Platter, F, Chippewa Steel 

 

South Division Star of the Week: Jack McDonald, Forward, Amarillo Wranglers 

Amarillo forward Jack McDonald, 20, had a big weekend as the Wranglers posted a three-game weekend home sweep of the Colorado Grit. The 6’1/185 lbs native of East Aurora, NY, had seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) and was a +6 in the three wins. On Friday, McDonald picked up three assists in a 6-1 win. On Saturday, he scored two goals in a 6-2 win. On Sunday, he scored the game-winning goal and had an assist in a 6-4 win. For the season, McDonald is currently 4th in team scoring with 34 points in 39 games played. “Jack has been playing phenomenal hockey for us the entire month of January. Each and every shift, he is creating chances for his linemates and himself. It is great to see the 2nd and 3rd efforts that he puts in get rewarded on the scoresheet. He has been a leader on and off the ice for our team all season long. Jack is playing at an NCAA Division 1 level and like Topi Puikkonen last week, this award should garner Jack interest because he deserves the opportunity,” said Wranglers head coach Ryan Anderson. 

2nd Star: Daniel Duris, G, Oklahoma Warriors 

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): William Ahlrik, F, Oklahoma Warriors – Zach Boren, F, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Nolan Gagnon, D, Amarillo Wranglers – Kyan Haldenby, F, Shreveport Mudbugs – Alex Keskintepe, D, Lone Star Brahmas – Olivier Lamothe, F, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Nick Marino, F, Shreveport Mudbugs – James Richman, F, Odessa Jackalopes – Quentin Sigurdson, G, Odessa Jackalopes – David Skuhrovec, F, Lone Star Brahmas 

 
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