The North American 3 Hockey League (3HL) today announced the Three Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending January 1, 2012. The Three Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2011-12 regular season that honors the top performing players each week of the regular season as nominated by their respective teams.
1st Star: Eric Behrend, forward, North Iowa Bulls
Waunakee, Wisconsin native Eric Behrend, 19, helped the North Iowa Bulls to a weekend home-and-home split with the Twin City Steel, and provided much of the offensive spark for the team. On Friday, the 6’0/180 lbs. forward recorded two goals and an assist in a 5-1 win over the Steel. His two goals were the final two of the game, helping secure the win for North Iowa. On Saturday, he recorded another goal in a 9-2 loss at Twin City, ending up with three goals and one helper for the week. Behrend ranks 3rd on the Bulls in scoring this season with 23 points in 29 games played. “Eric has been one of our most consistent players as of late,” said North Iowa head coach Todd Sanden. “He has improved his skating, his speed and has adapted to the level that is the 3HL. He has been very effective in all situations.”
2nd Star: Kyle Bonstrom, forward, Minnesota Flying Aces
Kyle Bonstrom, 19, recorded two goals and assist in two games this past weekend as Minnesota recorded a win and a loss. On Saturday, the Eagan, Minnesota native had the lone goal for the Flying Aces in their 4-1 loss against division-leading Granite City. A night later, the 6’0/200lbs. forward had a shorthanded goal and assist, as Minnesota beat Twin City on the road, 6-4. For the year, Bonstrom is 5th in scoring for the Flying Aces with 19 points in 26 games. “Kyle was hurt at the 3HL Showcase and hadn’t played since then, so it was nice to see him back in the line-up and being productive,” said Flying Aces head coach Craig Larson. “He has worked very hard to get back to 100%. He possesses a great mental and physical part of the game and does a great job at using his physicality to create offensive chances.”
3rd Star: Matt Grove, goaltender, Granite City Lumberjacks
Crookston, Minnesota native Matt Grove continues to have the hot hand in goal for Granite City. In his lone game of the weekend, the 20-year-old made 23 saves as Granite City beat Twin City, 4-1. Grove (6’0/220) leads the 3HL in goaltending, including wins (20), goals against average (1.45) and ranks second in save percentage (93.2%). Grove has won the last two 3HL goaltender of the month awards and is earning some league MVP talk. “I think Matt has stayed consistent the entire year and that has been one of the keys to his and our team’s success,” said Lumberjacks head coach Brad Willner. “Matt does a great job of eliminating second chances, which gives his teammates a lot of confidence in front of him.
Other players nominated were (alphabetical order): TJ Christianson, forward, Granite City Lumberjacks – Tyler Pionk, forward, Minnesota Flying Aces – Joey Crespo, forward, North Iowa Bulls.