The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton Hockey for the week ending March 6, 2016. 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: Ben Johnson, forward, La Crosse Freeze
The La Crosse Freeze secured the #2 seed in the Central Division this past week with four wins in four nights and forward Ben Johnson was front and center in the production. The native of Elk River, MN, had nine points in the four wins and was a +7, registering at least a point in all four wins. On Thursday, Johnson (5’10/175) had a goal and two assists in a 13-1 win over the Chicago Jr. Bulldogs. On Friday, the 18-year-old had three assists in a 12-1 win over Chicago. On Saturday, he had a goal and assist in a 6-3 win in Rochester and on Sunday he had a goal in a 5-2 home win over the Wisconsin Whalers. In 30 games this season, Johnson has 27 points. “Ben has been a great addition to the program both on and off the ice. He has gotten better each week due to his work ethic and compete level. That hard work and dedication is helping him contribute on the scoreboard as well as helping contributing to our team success. Hopefully this past week is a glimpse of what he and the team can accomplish come playoff time,” said Freeze head coach Ryan Egan.
2nd Star: Tommi Ahlgren, G, North Iowa Bulls
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Dominik Bogdzvil, F, Rochester Ice Hawks – Dylan Goggin, F, La Crosse Freeze – Thomas Hanson, F, Wisconsin Whalers – Peter Henderson, F, Wisconsin Whalers – Austin Jackson, F, North Iowa Bulls – Trey McMillen, D, Rochester Ice Hawks
East Division Star of the Week: Kevin Shand, forward, Metro Jets
Metro Jets forward Kevin Shand, 20, had a big weekend to led the Jets to two more wins as they look to lock down one of the top two seeds in the NA3HL regular season this year. The native of Saline, MI, had seven points and was +4 in two wins over the Southern Tier Xpress. On Saturday night, Shand (6’2/225) had a hat-trick, including the game-winning goal and two assists in a 12-0 shutout of the Xpress. On Sunday, he had a goal and an assist in a 6-3 win. For the season, Shand leads the Jets in scoring with 78 points in 42 games played. His 39 goals ranks tied for 3rd in the NA3HL. “Kevin's line had a big weekend naturally and it's good they got back to their dominant ways in time for playoffs. They have been a consistent threat collectively and Kevin's shot benefits them more often then not. He nearly has 40 goals in a division that night in night out is difficult to play in. Every night teams are matching their top guys against them in particular, and they get hungrier to score time and time again,” said Jets head coach Justin Quenneville.
2nd Star: Tyler McMahon, F, West Michigan Wolves
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Glen Bates, G, Toledo Cherokee – Ben Hamilton, D, Toledo Cherokee – Mathias Tellstrom, F, Metro Jets
Frontier Division Star of the Week: Kegan Couture, forward, Bozeman Icedogs
As the Bozeman Icedogs solidified their playoff position this past weekend with three more wins, the looked to veteran forward Kegan Couture for the main production. The 20-year-old native of Pequot Lakes, MN, had nine points (3 goals, 6 assists) in three games last weekend as the Icedogs picked up two wins over Glacier and one over Helena. On Friday, Couture (5’10/175) had the game-winning goal and two assists in a 4-1 win at home over the Nationals. The next night, he had a goal and an assist in a 9-3 win. On Sunday, Couture had a goal and three assists in a big 7-4 road win in Helena. Couture, who played for the Frontier Division team at the 2016 NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament, leads the Icedogs in scoring this season with 74 points in 45 games played. “Ever since Top Prospects, Kegan has been playing extremely well and elevated his level of play. He is being looked at by colleges as well and being his last year he wants to make a statement for himself and the Bozeman Icedogs and he is doing a great job of that," said Bozeman head coach Mark Vichorek.
2nd Star: Stephen Marshal Frank, G, Bozeman Icedogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): None
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Tomas Loeffelman, forward, St. Louis Jr. Blues
St. Louis Jr. Blues forward Tomas Loeffelman, 18, had a big weekend as the Jr. Blues split a weekend home series with the Nashville Jr. Predators. The native of St. Louis, MO, had three points and was a +3 in the two games. On Saturday, Loeffelman (5’8/155) had the lone goal in a 2-1 loss. On Sunday, Loeffelman had a goal and an assist in a 6-2 win. For the season, Loeffelman is tied for 2nd in team scoring with 54 points in 42 games played. Loeffelman was recently selected to and played in the 2016 NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament for the 18U Selects Red team. “Tomas was one of the most consistent players for us all weekend. Not only did he show up on the scoresheet in both games, it was his play that doesn't show up on the scoresheet that was most impressive. Tomas was very good for us in all situations and played a great two-way game,” said Jr. Blues head coach Chris Flaugher.
2nd Star: Zach Young, G, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): None
South Division Star of the Week: Ryan Dunner, forward, Texas Jr. Brahmas
The Texas Jr. Brahmas kept their South Division title hopes alive this past weekend with a three-game sweep of the Sugar Land Imperials. Forward Ryan Dunner, 19, had nine points in the three wins and was a +3. On Friday, the native of Glassboro, NJ, had the game-winning goal and an assist in a 4-1 win. On Saturday, Dunner (5’10/180) had two assists in a 7-0 shutout win. On Sunday, he saved his best for last as he scored four goals and added an assist in a 15-2 win. For the season, Dunner leads Texas in scoring with 75 points in 42 games played. Dunner also played on the South Division team at the 2016 NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament. “Ryan was phenomenal for us once again this weekend. His shot is one of the quickest and best in the league and his production proves that. His play is starting to get hot for us right as the playoffs are on the horizon, which is huge for our team. Because he will be, and always has been, a big part of our success moving forward into the South Division playoff battle,” said Texas head coach Al Rooney.
2nd Star: Sam Gagnon, F, Texas Jr. Brahmas
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Evan Camba, F, Atlanta Capitals – Justin Delisle, D, Point Mallard Ducks – Josh Hamilton, F, Point Mallard Ducks – Dylan Wattles, F, Atlanta Capitals
West Division Star of the Week: Tanner Skaja, forward, Granite City Lumberjacks
Granite City forward Tanner Skaja, 20, had a big weekend as his team split a pair of weekend games to remain in 1st place in the West Division with one weekend to go. The native of St. Cloud, MN, had five points and was a +4 in the two games. On Friday night, Skaja (5’11/170) had two goals and two assists in an 11-2 home win over the Minnesota Flying Aces. The next night, Skaja had a goal in a 5-3 road loss at Twin City. For the season, Skaja leads the Lumberjacks in scoring with 46 points in 42 games played. “With 14 points in his last five games, Tanner has really stepped up his play. He works hard at both ends of the rink and his good defensive play had led to some of his offensive opportunities. We couldn't be happier for him to be rewarded with this weekly honor,” said Lumberjacks head coach Brad Willner.
2nd Star: Braden Atlena, F, Granite City Lumberjacks
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): None