The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) today announced the Three Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending March 3, 2013. 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: Matt Stirling, forward, Metro Jets
The Metro Jets are still clinging to the hopes of a playoff chance and thanks to the efforts of forward Matt Stirling, those playoff hopes remain alive heading into the final week of the regular season. The 21-year-old forward from Dexter, Michigan, put up six points (1 goal, 5 assists) in a weekend home-and-home sweep of the Toledo Cherokee, the team they are chasing to catch in the standings. On Saturday, Stirling (5’10/172) had four assists in a 6-0 shutout win over Toledo. On Sunday, he had a goal and assisted on the game-winner in the 3rd period in a 4-3 win. He was also a +4 during the week. To date, Stirling is 4th in NA3HL scoring with 71 points. “This is Matt’s last go around in junior hockey and he has stepped it up to another level,” said Jets head coach Jason Cirone. “He has taken it upon himself to lead by example and the rest of the team has followed suit.”
2nd Star: Hunter Schneider, forward, Granite City Lumberjacks
17-year-old Hunter Schneider is just trying to enjoy the ride. Fresh off of finishing his high school hockey season in Minnesota, Schneider joined the Lumberjacks two weeks ago and has been on a tear ever since. This past week was a perfect example that the transition for the native if Willmar, Minnesota to junior hockey has been a smooth one thus far. In four games last week, Schneider (5’9/150) had seven points, including five goals. He has scored at least a goal in all five games played to date with the Lumberjacks and has a total of eight points. His best game of the week came last Tuesday, when he had two goals (including the game-winner) and an assist in a 3-1 win at Twin City. “For a kid that is right out of high school, Hunter has really fit in well with our team and has a great skill set,” said Granite City head coach Brad Willner. “He has brought a new, youthful energy back to the team, which is exactly what we needed at this time of year. He is excited to be in the league and that rubs off on the other players. He is a shifty forward, has a lot of quickness and has a lot of confidence for young kid.”
3rd Star: Brennan Anderson, forward, Peoria Mustangs
Peoria sent a big message to their first round playoff opponent, the Queen City Steam, that is it going to take something special to beat them in a five game series. In a playoff preview, the Mustangs led by forward Brennan Anderson, 18, were able to sweep the Steam on the road by convincing scores of 5-1 and 8-4. The native of St. Charles, Missouri, had five points (1 goal, 4 assists) in the two wins and brought his season point total to 40. On Saturday, Anderson (5’11/160) had two assists in a 5-1 win and on Sunday, he had a goal and two more assists in an 8-4 win. Anderson is second on the Mustangs roster in scoring. “I think for a younger player, Brennan plays well beyond his years and is very composed and mature,” said Peoria head coach Jean Guy Trudel. “He has been consistent and we have leaned on him many times during the season. I think in order for us to have success in the playoffs, Brennan is one of the guys we are going to look at to lead this team and have success.”
Honorable Mention (alphabetical order): Tyler Berry, forward, Three Rivers Vengeance – Riley Corbin, goaltender, Metro Jets – Cameron Dimmitt, forward, Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks – Ian Ecklund, forward, Alexandria Blizzard – Jeremy Edwards, forward, St. Louis Jr. Blues – Matt Erlichman, goaltender, Three Rivers Vengeance – Anders Franke, goaltender, Flint Jr. Generals – Sam Goetsch, goaltender, Alexandria Blizzard – Will Helton, defenseman, Michigan Mountain Cats – Jonah Hoover, defenseman, Queen City Steam – Eric Jones, forward, Flint Jr. Generals – Matt Kroska, forward, North Iowa Bulls – Connor Langfield, defenseman, North Iowa Bulls – Jake Leon, goaltender, Quad City Jr. Flames – Adam Morrison, forward, Michigan Mountain Cats – Joe Moza, goaltender, Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks – DJ Mussey, forward, Quad City Jr. Flames – Drew Otto, forward, Granite City Lumberjacks – Justin Rehrer, forward, St. Louis Jr. Blues – Nikolas Sakellaropoulos, defenseman, Peoria Mustangs – Trevor Voelker, forward, Queen City Steam.