The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton Hockey for the week ending November 8, 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 six divisions of the NA3HL as nominated by their head coaches.
Central Division Star of the Week: Nick Paulson, forward, Rochester Ice Hawks
The Rochester Ice Hawks split a home-and-home series last weekend with the Minnesota Flying Aces. 20-year-old forward and leading scorer Nick Paulson (6’2/190) had a big weekend as the native of Rochester, MN, recorded seven points and was +1 in the two games. On Thursday, Paulson had a hat-trick in a 7-5 loss at Minnesota. On Saturday, he had a goal and three assists as the Ice Hawks snapped their losing streak with a 5-2 win at home. For the season, Paulson leads the Ice Hawks in scoring with 19 points in 13 games played. “Nick had a big weekend all-around. He's finishing nice setups and making his teammates better as well. All in all he's playing tough, hard-nosed hockey and leading by example. He's been a treat to coach and for the fans really fun to watch,” said Rochester head coach Nick Fatis.
2nd Star: Zac Shenderovsky, D, Wisconsin Whalers
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Matthew Carr, F, Wisconsin Whalers – Trey McMillen, D, Rochester Ice Hawks – Mitch Parsons, F, North Iowa Bulls – Kohei Sato, F, North Iowa Bulls
East Division Star of the Week: Ricky Kwapich, forward, Toledo Cherokee
Toledo forward Ricky Kwapich, 19, was all over the ice for the Cherokee this weekend as they took three of four points in a weekend home-and-home series against West Michigan. The native of Toledo, OH, recorded five points and was a +2 in the two games. On Friday, Kwapich (6’0/165) had a hat-trick and an assist in a 5-4 overtime loss at home against the Wolves. A night later, he had the lone goal in a 1-0 road win at West Michigan. In 18 games played this season, Kwapich has 25 points. “Ricky has a way of getting hot and this weekend he got his scoring touch back and was a big reason we were able to get 3 out of 4 points, he is very deserving of this award and I am proud of his effort this weekend,” said Toledo head coach Kenny Miller.
2nd Star: James Stiles, D, Pittsburgh Vengeance
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Marcus Gloss, G, Pittsburgh Vengeance
Frontier Division Star of the Week: Blake Babineau, forward, Helena Bighorns
The Helena Bighorns picked up a pair of wins as they moved their winning streak to three straight games. Forward Blake Babineau, 20, played a big role in his team’s success as the native of New Hope, MN, recorded six points and was a +1 in the two wins. On Friday, Babineau (5’11/176) had two goals and assisted in the overtime winner as the Bighorns picked up a 3-2 overtime win in Bozeman. The next night, he had three assists in a 4-2 home win against the Billings Bulls. In 14 games played this year, Babineau has 14 points. "Blake had a great weekend and is continuing to play well. We have been looking for a guy to step up and start burying pucks and he did just that this last weekend. Blake is playing some of his best hockey right now and it is really helping the team step up as well,” said Helena head coach Jon Jonasson.
2nd Star: Grant Martens, G, Helena Bighorns
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Elliot Hopkins, F, Bozeman Icedogs
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Hayden Smer, defenseman, St. Louis Jr. Blues
St. Louis ran their winning streak to three straight games with a weekend home sweep of the Evansville Thunderbolts. Defenseman Hayden Smer, 19, was great in the series as the native of Mission Viejo, CA, had six points (all assists) in the two wins. On Saturday, Smer (6’0/185) had two assists in a 6-5 win. On Sunday, he had four assists and was a +4 in an 8-2 win. For the season, Smer had 18 points (all assists) in 19 games with the Jr. Blues this season. “Hayden plays a big role on our blue line. He's able to play against team's top players and able to contribute offensively in a big way for our club,” said St. Louis head coach Chris Flaugher.
2nd Star: Tomas Loeffelman, F, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): None
South Division Star of the Week: Tucker Alspaugh, defenseman, Louisiana Drillers
Louisiana Drillers defenseman Tucker Alspaugh, 17, had a big weekend as he led the Drillers to a weekend home sweep of the Euless Jr. Stars. The native of Lafayette, LA, had five points from the blueline in the two wins and was a +4. On Saturday, Alspaugh (6’1/165) had a goal and two assists in a 6-3 win. For the season, Alspaugh leads the Drillers in scoring with 16 points in 14 games from the blueline.
2nd Star: Phil Pugliese, F, Atlanta Capitals
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jonathan Adnell, F, Sugar Land Imperials – Jonathan Hebert, F, Louisiana Drillers – Artus Laukaitis, F, Atlanta Capitals – Luca Valenza, F, Sugar Land Imperials
West Division Star of the Week: Michael Piehler, forward, Granite City Lumberjacks
The Granite City Lumberjacks picked up two road wins over the weekend over Breezy Point and Twin City. Leading the charge was 19-year-old forward Michael Piehler. The native of Plano, TX, had six points in the two wins and was a +5. On Thursday, Piehler (6’2/215) had a goal and two assists in a 4-0 shutout win in Breezy Point. On Saturday, Piehler had two goals and assisted on the overtime winner as the Lumberjacks beat Twin City 5-4 in overtime. In 16 games, the Lumberjacks forward has 19 points. “Michael had a great weekend for us. He was working hard every shift, finishing checks and taking shots when he had his opportunities. All those things lead to his point production this past weekend. The energy he brings in games is contagious,” said Granite City head coach Brad Willner.
2nd Star: Ty Ennis, F, Minnesota Flying Aces
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Joe Costello, F, Twin City Steel - Alex Durand, F, Granite City Lumberjacks – Tristan Mayer, F, Twin City Steel