NA3HL announces Easton Hockey Divisional Stars of the Week
The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton Hockey for the week ending March 1, 2015. 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 five divisions of the NA3HL as nominated by their head coaches.
Central Division Star of the Week: Alex Anderson, forward, Wisconsin Whalers
The Whalers ended the regular season with a pair of wins over St. Louis this past weekend and forward Alex Anderson, 20, was a part of the offensive onslaught that produced 14 goals in two games. The native of Knife River, Minnesota, had six points in the two wins and was also a +7. On Saturday, Anderson (5’11/175) recorded two assists in a 6-2 win and on Sunday, he chimed in with a goal and three assists in an 8-2 win. For the season, Anderson finished 3rd in team scoring with 49 points in 44 games played. “Alex is playing his best hockey of the season now, which really compliments itself nicely to our offensive depth. He is doing all the little things well right now and that is hopefully going to help us come playoff time,” said Wisconsin head coach Tom McDermott.
2nd Star: Steven Rhodes, F, West Michigan Wolves
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Adam Alcott, F, Wisconsin Whalers – Andrew Bond, F, St. Louis Jr. Blues – Cooper Cothran, G, St. Louis Jr. Blues – Tyler Gorniak, F, La Crosse Freeze – Hunter Smith, F, La Crosse Freeze – Ethan Stafford, F, West Michigan Wolves
East Division Star of the Week: Tyler Layle, defense, Metro Jets
Thanks to two big wins during the weekend, the Metro Jets won the East Division regular season title and 19-year-old defenseman Tyler Layle played a big part in the team’s success. The native of Grandville, Michigan was able to chip in during both wins as the Jets swept Cleveland in a home-and-home series. On Friday night, Layle (6’0/220) scored the game-winning goal in a 3-0 home win over the Lumberjacks and on Sunday, Layle picked up two assists in a 4-1 win in Cleveland that clinched the division title for Metro. For the season, Layle led all Jets defensemen in scoring with 33 points in 46 games played. "Tyler has a been a consistent point producer on the back end for us this year. He's come a long way from the start of the year and has committed himself on both sides of the puck now, and is being rewarded for it,” said Metro head coach Justin Quenneville.
2nd Star: Parker Henry, F, Pittsburgh Vengeance
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brennan Osen, F, Pittsburgh Vengeance – James Schroeder, G, Cincinnati Swords – Jake Stephan, G, Metro Jets – Zach Swanson, F, Toledo Cherokee
Frontier Division Star of the Week: Kegan Couture, forward, Bozeman Icedogs
The Bozeman Icedogs wrapped up their 2014-15 season, winning two out of three games this past week against teams bound for the NA3HL Playoffs and 19-year-old forward Kegan Couture had a big week. The native of Pequot Lakes, Minnesota registered seven points in the three games and was a +4. On Thursday night, Couture (5’10/175) had three assists in a 4-2 home win over Helena. On Friday night, he had the game-winning goal and two more assists in a 5-2 win in Gillette. On Saturday, he picked up an assist on the lone Bozeman goal in a 4-1 loss. He also played for the Frontier team earlier in the week at the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament. For the season, Couture finished 2nd in team scoring with 52 points in 44 games played. “Kegan has been the most consistent player we have had all year and he continued that this past week in three games. Kegan was distributing the puck really well and it was great to see him continue to improve throughout the season, so that at the end he was playing his best hockey," said Bozeman head coach Mark Vichorek.
2nd Star: Johnny Bonta, F, Helena Bighorns
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): TJ McMinn, F, Gillette Wild – Brandt Miller, F, Helena Bighorns – Gunnar Mogck, F, Bozeman Icedogs – Cody Page, F, Great Falls Americans – Lucas Stover, D, Great Falls Americans – Austin Tennant, D, Gillette Wild
South Division Star of the Week: Nick Nitta, defense, Texas Jr. Brahmas
It was a big week for Texas defenseman Nick Nitta. The 20-year-old native of Corinth, Texas began the week with a sold showing at the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament for the South team. That was followed by two wins to finish the regular season against cross-town rival Dallas. On Sunday, Nitta (6’0/195) recorded two assists in a 6-1 win and on Monday morning, he had four more assists in an 8-1 win to wrap up the regular season. For the weekend, Nitta finished with six points in two wins and was a +6. His 47 points and 37 assists were tops among all NA3HL defensemen this season. "Nick finished the regular season displaying the same skill set he has every weekend for us, which is being a top shut down defenseman, as well as, producing offensively. He has played all three zones for us well all season, plays a lot of minutes in various roles and this weekend was no exception. He's our Captain, our leader both on and off the ice, and he has been a central figure to our team’s success this season,” said Texas head coach Al Rooney.
2nd Star: Nick Ford, F, Texas Jr. Brahmas
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Justin Dunn, F, Point Mallard Ducks – Noah Gilreath, D, Point Mallard Ducks – Jon Severson, F, Nashville Jr. Predators
West Division Star of the Week: Jared Sprink, forward, Granite City Lumberjacks
The Granite City Lumberjacks put themselves in position to win the West during the regular season, but just fell short in three games during the weekend. Forward Jared Sprink, 21, did all he could for his club as he totaled six points and recorded at least a point in the three games, and was also a +3. On Friday night, Sprink (6’0/175) had three assists in a 6-4 loss at North Iowa against the Bulls. A night later, the native of Mosinee, Wisconsin picked up another assist in a 4-3 loss. To finish the weekend, Sprink had a goal and an assist on Sunday in a 6-3 win over the Minnesota Flying Aces. For the season, Sprink finished 2nd on the team in scoring with 50 points in 40 games played. “Jared had a great weekend for us. He was seeing the ice very well and that led to scoring opportunities for his teammates. We are happy he is back on track after being held scoreless the previous weekend for only the 8th time this season,” said Granite City head coach Brad Willner.
2nd Star: Joe Kleven, D, North Iowa Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jaxson Gosnell, G, Breezy Point North Stars – Dallas Marvin, F, Granite City Lumberjacks – Ben Smieja, F, Breezy Point North Stars – Bennett Witta, D, Twin City Steel – Dylan Zins, F, North Iowa Bulls