The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) today announced the Three Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending December 9, 2012. The three stars of the week is an award given each week of the regular season to the top performing players in the NA3HL as nominated by their head coaches.
1st Star: Nico Vecchio, forward, Three Rivers Vengeance
The Vengeance kept their momentum going from the NA3HL Showcase, where they posted a 3-1 record, with a home sweep this past weekend of the Toledo Cherokee and leading the way was 20-year-old veteran forward Nico Vecchio. The native of North Huntington, Pennsylvania, recorded seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) in the two wins over the Cherokee and of the 10 goals that the Vengeance scored, Vecchio recorded a point on seven of them. On Saturday, Vecchio (5’11/180) had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win. On Saturday, Vecchio was truly dominant as he was a part of all five of Three Rivers goals in a 5-4 win. For the season, Vecchio leads the Vengeance in scoring with 38 points, which ranks tied for 3rd in the NA3HL. “Coming into the weekend, Nico had the mentality of being a leader,” said Vengeance head coach Brian Cersosimo. “It was very important for us to continue momentum from Showcase. Nico realizes it is his last season and he wants to make an impression.”
2nd Star: Anders Franke, goaltender, Flint Jr. Generals
Newly acquired goaltender Anders Franke, 18, hasn’t taken long to make an impression on the Flint Jr. Generals. The native of Zimmerman, Minnesota, shined over the weekend as the Jr. Generals picked up a weekend home sweep of the 1st place Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks. For the weekend, Franke (5’7/165) was in goal for both wins and stopped 59 of a possible 62 shots, which was good for a 95.1% save percentage. Franke, who joined the Generals at the NA3HL Showcase, was a draft pick of the USHL’s Fargo Force and had spent the start of the season with the NAHL’s Bismarck Bobcats. On Saturday, he made 31 saves in a 4-1 win over Cleveland. On Sunday, he made 28 saves in a 4-2 win over the Jr. Lumberjacks. “It was big for us to get back in the winning column and Anders played a huge role,” said Flint head coach Steve Howard. “He is a high-end goaltender and has a great skill set. He proved he can handle the big games and make the big saves.”
3rd Star: Eric Behrend, forward, North Iowa Bulls
The North Iowa Bulls picked up their 6th and 7th straight wins over the weekend with decisive victories over division rivals Minnesota and Twin City. Bulls forward Eric Behrend, 20, led the offensive charge with six points (3 goals, 3 assists) in the two wins. On Friday, the native of Waunakee, Wisconsin, had two assists (including one on the game-winning goal) in a 7-0 shutout win over the Minnesota Flying Aces. On Saturday, Behrend (6’0/180) exploded for a hat-trick (which included the game-winning goal) and an assist for a four point night in a 10-3 win over the Twin City Steel. Behrend, who had 37 points last season, already has 27 points this season and ranks 5th in team scoring. “Eric has been really good for us and his goals and points are coming at big times,” said Bulls head coach Todd Sanden. “He has really found his niche and knows how to put the puck in the net.”
Honorable Mention (alphabetical order): Alex Berardinelli, forward, Three Rivers Vengeance – Chayce Coenen, defenseman, Alexandria Blizzard – Spencer Craig, goaltrender, Michigan Mountain Cats – Aaron Davis, goaltender, North Iowa Bulls – Ian Ecklund, forward, Alexandria Blizzard – Andy Lay, forward, Flint Jr. Generals – Zack MacKay, forward, Metro Jets – Kade Morrison, forward, Michigan Mountain Cats – Alex Reichle, goaltender, Peoria Mustangs – Matt Stirling, forward, Metro Jets.