The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton Hockey for the week ending December 6, 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: Austin Jackson, forward, North Iowa Bulls
North Iowa forward Austin Jackson, 20, had a big weekend and one game in particular to help the Bulls to another weekend sweep as they extended their winning streak to 18 straight games. Jackson (6’1/190) recorded seven points over the weekend, which all came during one game. On Friday night, the native of Waterloo, IA, scored six goals and added an assist in an 8-1 win over the Minnesota Flying Aces. The six goals was a high in the league this season and the most since January 18, 2014 when North Iowa forward Rihards Marenis scored six goals in a game. On Saturday, he was +1 to bring his weekend total to a +6. For the season, Jackson has 26 points in just 13 games played. "Austin has been one of our most consistent goal scorers this year. Rarely is he kept off the score sheet,” said North Iowa head coach Todd Sanden.
2nd Star: Jerame Schuetzle, F, La Crosse Freeze
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Shane Bernhardson, D, North Iowa Bulls – Dylan Goggin, F, La Crosse Freeze – Ben Ratner, F, Wisconsin Whalers – Nathan Viberg, F, Wisconsin Whalers
East Division Star of the Week: Tyler Zalecki, forward, Toledo Cherokee
Thanks to a weekend road sweep in Southern Tier against the Xpress, the Toledo Cherokee moved into a tie for 2nd place in the East Division. Forward and leading scorer Tyler Zalecki, 20, had a productive weekend with six points, including two goals and four assists. On Friday, the native of Northwood, OH, had two assists in a 6-3 win and on Saturday, Zalecki (5’11/185) had two goals, two assists and was a +3 in a 7-6 overtime win. In 22 games played so far this season, Zalecki has 33 points. “Tyler is our leader and he is a guy that competes every night and this weekend proved he is an elite player at this level. It is a pleasure to coach a guy like him every day. He is very deserving of this award,” said Toledo head coach Kenny Miller.
2nd Star: Joe Morgan, G, Wooster Oilers
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tyler Groth, D, Wooster Oilers – Jake Gwillim, G, Metro Jets – Devin Kelly, F, Metro Jets
Frontier Division Star of the Week: Jake Stephan, goaltender, Great Falls Americans
The Frontier Division-leading Great Falls Americans made their one game count this past weekend as they defeated their longtime rivals, the Helena Bighorns, in a home game on Friday. 20-year-old goalie Jake Stephan was stellar between the pipes as the native of Eagle River, WI made 45 saves in a 5-1 win. It was the 7th win in the last eight games for Stephan (6’0/185), who is 8-2 on the season. His 93.2% save percentage and 1.99 goals against average both rank 5th in the NA3HL currently. “Jake played a great game for us. He looked poised and confident in net. As a 20-year-old looking to move on we were impressed with his play,” said Americans head coach Jeff Heimel.
2nd Star: Tanner Congdon, F, Great Falls Americans
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): None
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Thomas Kolaz, forward, Peoria Mustangs
It was a big offensive weekend for Peoria forward Thomas Kolaz and the Mustangs as they picked up a weekend home-and-home sweep of the Chicago Jr. Bulldogs. Kolaz, 19, had 10 points in the two wins, which included four goals and six assists. On Friday, the native of Springfield, IL, had a goal and four assists in a 14-3 win. On Sunday, Kolaz (5’9/180) had a hat-trick, including the game-winning goal, and added two assists in a 11-1 win. He was also a +7 on the weekend. In 24 games played this season, Kolaz has 30 points. “Tommy has really stepped up his game the past few weeks. He has the ability to take a game over and it's nice to see the pucks have started to go in for him,” said Peoria head coach Tyler Rennette.
2nd Star: Joe Nolan, D, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Marc Anderson, F, Cincinnati Thunder – Tomas Loeffelman, F, St. Louis Jr. Blues – Mitch Macek, F, Peoria Mustangs
South Division Star of the Week: Jake Champaign, forward, Point Mallard Ducks
Point Mallard forward Jake Champaign, 19, stepped up big for the Ducks in a weekend home sweep of the visiting Evansville Thunderbolts. The native of St. Louis, MO, totaled six points during the weekend, which included five goals and an assist. On Friday, Champaign (6’3/175) had two goals, including the game-winner, in a 5-3 win and on Saturday, he recorded a hat-trick, including another game-winning goal, and added an assist in a 6-3 win. In 16 games played so far this season, Champaign has 18 points. “Jake scored several key goals this weekend that helped shift momentum in our favor in games that were going back and forth. His compete level in high traffic areas led to these critical goals. He was the spark in both games that got us going,” said Point Mallard head coach Tom Winkler.
2nd Star: Colin O’Connor, D, Atlanta Capitals
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jonathan Adnell, F, Sugar Land Imperials – Keegan Chesick, D, Sugar Land Imperials –Gary Glassman, G, Point Mallard Ducks – Kyle Rimbach, F, Atlanta Capitals
West Division Star of the Week: Braden Altena, forward, Granite City Lumberjacks
Granite City forward Braden Altena, 18, helped his club pick up a weekend split of a series in Wisconsin against a tough Whalers squad. The native of St. Cloud, MN, had four points in the two games and was a +3. On Friday, Altena (5’7/155) had the game-winning goal in a 4-1 win. On Saturday, he had two goals and an assist in a 5-4 loss. For the season, Altena has 11 points in 22 games played. “Braden has consistently been one of our hardest workers and it paid off for him this past weekend. He was tenacious on the forecheck and created turnovers that led to his scoring. He has had 6 points in his last 5 games and is starting to find his groove,” said Lumberjacks head coach Brad Willner.
2nd Star: Nathan Siclovan, G, Twin City Steel
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tanner Skaja, F, Granite City Lumberjacks