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NA3HL announces Bauer Divisional Stars of the Week

September 22, 2016

(clockwise from top left): Honors go to Zach Johnson (La Crosse), Felix Nyqvist (Lewiston/Auburn), Ricky Kwapich (Toledo), Brad Estrada (Helena), Braden Stewart (Peoria), Nate Walker (Syracuse), TJ Delaney (Euless) and Nick Blanchette (Breezy Point).

The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Bauer Hockey for the week ending September 18, 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 eight divisions of the NA3HL as nominated by their head coaches.

Central Division Star of the Week: Zach Johnson, forward, La Crosse Freeze

Johnson, 19, had four points in a two-game home-and-home sweep of the Wisconsin Whalers. The 5’10/165 lbs native of De Pere, WI, had two goals, two assists and was a +4 in the Freeze’s season debut. “Zach is a great player that leads by example on the ice.  He created chances because of his hard work and was able to use his skill set to finish chances,” said Freeze head coach Rob Hodnicki.

2nd Star: Taylor Dickert, F, Wisconsin Whalers

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Clayton Brown, F, Wisconsin Whalers – Kevin Bryant, F, La Crosse Freeze


Coastal Division Star of the Week: Felix Nyqvist, forward, L/A Fighting Spirit

The L/A Fighting Spirit made their 2016-17 season debut this past weekend against the Skylands Kings and forward Felix Nyqvist, 20, had a big weekend. The 6’3/195 lbs. native of Gothenberg, Sweden, had four points in the two games, including a hat-trick in Sunday’s 4-1 win. “Felix has had a great start to the season. He is a power forward who works hard with and without the puck. Felix has great size, skill and hockey IQ, which will allow him to be a major factor in many games this season,” said Fighting Spirit coach Cam Robichaud.

2nd Star: Oskar Lindburg, F, Long Beach Sharks

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tyson Guditas, F, New England Stars – Martins Vitolins, F, Long Beach Sharks


East Division Star of the Week: Ricky Kwapich, forward, Toledo Cherokee

Toledo Cherokee forward Ricky Kwapich, 19, stood out among his peers last weekend as the Cherokee went 1-1. The 6’0/199 lbs. native of Toledo, OH, recorded six points in the two games. On Friday, he had four points, factoring in on all his team’s goals in an 8-4 loss to the Metro Jets. On Saturday, he had two points in a 3-1 win over Wooster. His 14 points is tied for the NA3HL scoring lead. “Ricky has the ability to take over a game, he showed it last year and is doing it again early in this season. He is one of our go to guys offensively and is very deserving of this award,” said Toledo head coach Kenny Miller.

2nd Star: Chas Distelrath, F, Metro Jets

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Adrian Morales, G, Toledo Cherokee – Cam Schwartz, F, Metro Jets


Frontier Division Star of the Week: Brad Estrada, forward, Helena Bighorns

In Helena’s lone game of the weekend, forward Brad Estrada, 17, had five points in a 7-6 season-opening shootout win over the Missoula Junior Bruins. The 5’10/181 lbs. native of Chino Hills, CA, had two goals and three assists and was a +2 in the win. “As a returning player from last year, Brad showed why he was selected as a captain this season. Brad leads by example both on and off the ice, and stepped up against a strong Missoula team to get us back in to the game last Friday. As a 1998 birth year, Brad has a ton of potential and drive that will help him make the jump to the next level,” said Bighorns head coach Bob Richards.

2nd Star: Payton McSharry, F, Missoula Junior Bruins

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): John Heddle, F, Helena Bighorns


Midwest Division Star of the Week: Braden Stewart, forward, Peoria Mustangs

It was a big weekend for the Peoria Mustangs and forward Braden Stewart, 18. The 6’0/170 lbs. native of East Peoria, IL, had 10 points in two wins as the Mustangs swept the Chicago Bulldogs. On Saturday, Stewart had a hat-trick and five points and on Sunday he posted another five point game. “Braden work's very hard in practice and it's great to see him get rewarded in the games and now by the league,” said Mustangs head coach David Karpa.

2nd Star: Austin Wisely, F, Peoria Mustangs

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Nick Balestra, F, St. Louis Jr. Blues – Dan Dunaway, F, St. Louis Jr. Blues – Tyler Geloneck, G, Cincinnati Thunder – Ryan Kostelnik, G, Cincinnati Thunder


Northeast Division Star of the Week: Nate Walker, forward, Syracuse Stampede

Syracuse Stampede forward Nate Walker, 19, had a big weekend as his club posted a weekend road sweep of the Maine Wild. The 5’10/180 lbs. native of Dryden, NY, had seven points and was a +8 in the two wins, which included a four goal, two assist effort on Saturday in an 8-3 win. "Nate brought great energy to the rink this past weekend and created a ton of opportunity for his teammates.  He's a guy that the works hard every shift and the puck just follows him.  At times it is kind of crazy to watch but he sure gets things done in a big way,” said Stampede head coach Mike Beavis.

2nd Star: Sal Lauretta, G, Binghamton Junior Senators

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Dom Bogdziul, F, Binghamton Junior Senators – Martin Sten, G, Syracuse Stampede


South Division Star of the Week: TJ Delaney, forward, Euless Jr. Stars

The Euless Jr. Stars opened their season with two wins in three home games against the Louisiana Drillers. Forward TJ Delaney, 18. The 6’5/185 lbs. native of St. Louis, MO, had eight points in the three games, which included a three assist effort in a 6-3 win on Friday and a four-point game in a 6-2 win on Sunday. “TJ was very high on our radar all summer. As a 6'5 forward with a lot of potential, TJ has jumped out of the gate with a major presence on the ice. He uses his size to his advantage. He's definitely a playmaker. We look for TJ to be a big part of our success this season. He's definitely enjoying him self as he always has a great attitude on and off the ice,” said Euless head coach Don Babineau.

2nd Star: Jacob Istre, F, Louisiana Drillers

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Kayne Fedor, F, Euless Jr. Stars – Elias Nilsson, F, Point Mallard Ducks – Ian Precht, D, Point Mallard Ducks


West Division Star of the Week: Nick Blanchette, forward, Breezy Point North Stars

In his lone game of the weekend, Breezy Point forward Nick Blanchette, 20, had two goals and an assist in a 5-3 win over the Willmar WarHawks on Friday. The 6’4/195 lbs. native of Aitkin, MN, is off to a good start this season with four points in three games. “This past weekend Nick was one of the best players on the ice throughout every shift. If he is able to continue that work ethic throughout the season, he will have a very exciting season statistically and as a leader for our team,” said North Stars head coach Jon Jonasson.

2nd Star: Elliot Gerth, G, Willmar WarHawks

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Ben Haugo, D, Granite City Lumberjacks – Tyler Larwood, F, Breezy Point North Stars – Ryan Smith, F, Granite City Lumberjacks

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