The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton for the week ending March 2, 2014. The divisional stars of the week is an award given each week of the regular season to the top performing players in each of the four divisions of the NA3HL as nominated by their head coaches.
Central Division Star of the Week: Vince Bartkowiak, forward, Chicago Jr. Bulldogs
Chicago kept their Central Division playoff hopes alive with a weekend home sweep of Battle Creek this past weekend and 20-year-old forward Vince Bartkowiak led the charge. The native of Oaklawn, Illinois had seven points in the two wins, which included a pair of goals and five assists. Bartkowiak (5’10/180) was also a +6 on the weekend. On Saturday, Bartkowiak scored the eventual game-winning goal early in the 2nd period as Chicago bested Battle Creek, 7-4. On Sunday, Bartkowiak had a season-high six-point game in an 11-2 win. It included a 1st period goal and five, 3rd period assists. For the season, Bartkowiak is 4th in team scoring with 32 points in 42 games played this season.
2nd Star: Alex Klaesner, F, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Easton Halbert, F, Wisconsin Whalers – Andrew Kovacich, F, St. Louis Jr. Blues – Ryan Maksimovic, F, Chicago Jr. Bulldogs – Tim Tarvis, F, Wisconsin Whalers
East Division Star of the Week: Alex Berardinelli, forward, Pittsburgh Vengeance
The return of veteran forward Alex Berardinelli, 18, gave Pittsburgh a shot in the arm this weekend as they picked up a road sweep of the Michigan Mountain Cats to stay in 2nd place in the East Division. Berardinelli (5’10/170) had been sidelined the entire season, but came back to record four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in the two wins. On Saturday, the native of Export, Pennsylvania had the game-winning goal and an assist in a 3-1 win. On Sunday, Berardinelli had two more assists in a 4-3 win. He was also a +3 for the weekend. This is Berardinelli’s third season of NA3HL action. “Even though Alex has been out all year with an injury, he returned like he didn’t miss a beat. He is a great all-around hockey player and very talented and will succeed at the next level,” said Vengeance head coach Dave Dorsey.
2nd Star: Nick Gnagni, F, Flint Junior Generals
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Luke Dmytro, F, Flint Junior Generals – Tyler Jansen, G, Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks – Kevin O’Shea, G, Michigan Mountain Cats – Mike Palasics, F, Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks – Abram Prince, F, Michigan Mountain Cats – Chase Stanford, G, Pittsburgh Vengeance
South Division Star of the Week: Tommy Malkmus, forward, Topeka Capitals
Another weekend, another offensive explosion from newly acquired Topeka forward Tommy Malkmus. The 20-year-old from Bismarck, North Dakota, had nine points as the Capitals beat the Dallas Jr. Stars in three close home games last weekend. Seven of the nine points were goals as Malkmus has become Topeka’s 6th leading scorer with 20 points in just six games played. On Friday, Malkmus had the game-winning goal and an assist in a 6-3 win. On Saturday, he recorded a hat-trick and added an assist in a 5-4 win, and on Sunday, Malkmus (5’10/180) had another hat-trick, which included the game-winning goal in a 4-1 win. "Tommy has emerged as one of our offensive leaders and he conducts himself like a professional. I am happy to see his hard work continue to pay off for him,” said Topeka head coach Anthony Bohn.
2nd Star: Hardijs Kupaks, F, Topeka Capitals
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): None
West Division Star of the Week: Matt Kroska, forward, North Iowa Bulls
North Iowa forward Matt Kroska, 20, is putting an assault on the NA3HL record book. His season for the ages continued last weekend in three more North Iowa wins as the forward from Elko, Minnesota added seven more points, which included four goals and three assists. He also chimed in with the game-winning goal in two of the three wins. On Friday, Kroska (5’10/180) scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime as the Bulls beat the Twin City Steel, 5-4. On Saturday, he had two more goals (including the game-winner) and two assists in a 4-1 road win at Twin City. On Sunday, he picked up an assist in a 4-0 shutout win over Alexandria. Kroska has had a season for the ages, setting a new modern day (2006-Present) record for points with 111 to date with three games remaining on the schedule this season. “His production and the production of his line is something that I have never seen at this level. He shows so much leadership on a daily basis and despite all the success and points, Matt still remains hungry and trying to become a better player each day in the hopes of earning an NCAA commitment,” said Bulls head coach Todd Sanden.
2nd Star: Jace Childs, F, Twin City Steel
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Sam Basich, F, Twin City Steel – Taylor Brown, F, Granite City Lumberjacks – Chancie Hanson, D, North Iowa Bulls – Aidan Verbeke, F, Granite City Lumberjacks