In his return to the line-up after a stint in the NAHL, North Iowa Bulls forward Brett Gravelle, 19, went off for 12 points as the Bulls posted a three-game road sweep of the Chicago Jr. Bulldogs. On Friday, the native of Forest Lake, MN had four goals and two assists in a 16-1 win. On Saturday, Gravelle (5’11/165) had three points in an 8-1 win and on Sunday, Gravelle added three assists in an 8-0 shutout of Chicago. He was also a +11 on the weekend. "Brett is a dynamic player and we expected big things from him in his return to our team from the NAHL,” said Bulls head coach Todd Sanden.
2nd Star: Jared Bromberg, D, La Crosse Freeze
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tommi Ahlgren, G, North Iowa Bulls – Austin Lewis, F, Wisconsin Whalers – Evan Moyse, G, Wisconsin Whalers – Cameron Preis, F, La Crosse Freeze
Although he played in just one game this past weekend, Metro Jets forward Kevin Shand, 20, made it count. The native of Saline, MI returned the line-up just a week ago and against West Michigan on Saturday, Shand (6’2/225) recorded two goals and was +1 in a 4-3 win to move the Jets into 1st place. In two games with the Jets this year, Shand has three goals. “Kevin had strong game on Saturday and his 2 goals were a big factor in the end. He and his line mates controlled the play for most of the night and his experience the past 2 games have helped our younger guys early this season,” said Metro head coach Justin Quenneville.
2nd Star: Cody Gibson, G, Southern Tier Xpress
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tait Aptakin, F, Southern Tier Xpress – Joe Morgan, G, Wooster Oilers – Will Schober, F, Wooster Oilers – Austin Turner, F, Toledo Cherokee
18-year-old Ricards Bernhards helped the Great Falls Americans stay undefeated and in 1st place in the Frontier Division with a weekend road sweep of the Yellowstone Quake this past weekend. The native of Jejgava, Latvia, had five points and was a +2 in the weekend sweep. On Friday, Bernhards (6’4/170) had two goals, including the game-winner, in a come-from-behind 4-3 win. On Saturday, he had another game-winning goal and two more assists in a 5-1 win. Bernhards leads the team in scoring this season with seven points in three games. “Ricards is a great player and has some great size that he takes advantage of. He competes really hard and it is tough to tell he is a rookie. He stepped up to the plate this past weekend and has a ton of upside,” said Americans head coach Jeff Heimel.
2nd Star: Steven Marshal Frank, G, Bozeman Icedogs
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Blake Babineau, F, Helena Bighorns – Luke Erickson, D, Billings Bulls – Mason Graves, F, Billings Bulls – Alex King, F, Gillette Wild – Steven Nisbet, F, Bozeman Icedogs
The Cincinnati Thunder and forward Brady Kiplinger, 18, kept things rolling this past weekend with a road sweep of the Evansville Thunderbolts. The native of Springboro, OH, racked up five points, including both game-winning goals in the two wins. On Friday, Kiplinger (6’2/178) scored two goals, including the game-winner, and added two assists in an 8-5 win. On Saturday, he had the game-winning goal in a 4-1 win. “Brady is a big, powerful forward who controls the puck and holds onto pucks as well as any I have seen at this level. He takes pucks to the net and is hard to stop when he gets momentum. He played a key role for us again this past weekend playing in all situations and scoring key goals. We are very proud of Brady and he's getting more confident and is improving every week,” said Cincinnati head coach Ryan Colville.
2nd Star: Zach Young, G, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Marc Anderson, F, Cincinnati Thunder – Zach Mitchell, F, St. Louis Jr. Blues – Austin Wisely, F, Peoria Mustangs
The Sugar Land Imperials posted a three-game sweep of the Euless Jr. Stars this past weekend and leading the way was 18-year-old forward Luca Valenza. The native of Lausanne, Switzerland, had eight points in the three wins, which included five goals. On Friday, Valenza (5’11/170) had two goals and an assist in a 6-3 win. He duplicated that feat on Saturday night, with one of the goals being a game-winner in another 6-3 win. On Sunday, he had a goal and an assist in a 6-5 shootout win. For the season, he has 11 points in the team’s first five games played. “Luca played with an incredible amount of intensity and heart again this weekend. Every time he steps on the ice, he looks for every opportunity to score a goal or make an assist. He really gets the rest of the team pumped up and excited to be on the ice,” said Jamie Feltus, General Manager of the Imperials.
2nd Star: Kyle Rimbach, F, Atlanta Capitals
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Josh Hamilton, F, Point Mallard Ducks – Arturs Lauitkis, F, Atlanta Capitals – Zac McKenna, F, Sugar Land Imperials – Cooper Seedott, G, Point Mallard Ducks
The Breezy Point North Stars posted their first wins of the 2015-16 season this past weekend with a home-and-home sweep of the Rochester Ice Hawks. Forward Josh Laven, 18, had a big weekend as the native of Hopkins, MN, recorded five goals and was a +3 in the two wins. On Friday night, Laven (5’11/190) had a goal in a 5-2 home win. On Saturday, he scored four goals, including the game-winner in a 6-3 win. In six games played this year, Laven had eight points, all of which are goals. “Josh is a first year player with lots of talent. Josh's work ethic and team first attitude will help him and the North Stars have a good year,” said North Stars head coach Jeff Worlton.
2nd Star: Gunnar Howg, G, Twin City Steel
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Lucas Carroll, F, Granite City Lumberjacks – Joe Costello, F, Twin City Steel – Wes Paupore, G, Breezy Point North Stars – Michael Piehler, F, Granite City Lumberjacks
The La Crosse Freeze sit in 1st place in the Central Division thanks to their opening weekend sweep of the Chicago Jr. Bulldogs. Forward Daniel Toycen, 19, had a big four-point weekend in the two wins. On Saturday, Toycen (5’8/165) had an assist in a 5-3 win. On Sunday, the native of Chipewa Falls, Wisconsin, had a goal and three assists in a 6-1 win. Toycen is in his second year with the Freeze. Last season he registered 28 points in 41 games played. “Daniel is back for his second season with the Freeze. He is a special player that shows up everyday to make himself and his teammates better. His great opening weekend is no surprise as we expect him to have a very successful year,” said La Crosse head coach Ryan Egan.
2nd Star: Peter Henderson, F, Wisconsin Whalers
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tommi Ahlgren, G, North Iowa Bulls – Ben Henderson, F, La Crosse Freeze – David Johnson, G, North Iowa Bulls – Austin Lewis, F, Wisconsin Whalers
Although he played in just one game over the weekend, Pittsburgh forward Auston Palumbo, 19, made it count. The native of Mesa, Arizona, helped the Vengeance to a 3-0 shutout of the Southern Tier Xpress. Palumbo (5’11/165) had two of the three goals on the night, including the game-winner. For the season, Palumbo leads the Vengeance in scoring with six points in five games played. “Auston is a player that works hard for what he gets and his willingness to play in the dirty areas has been reflected in his production,” saud Pittsburgh head coach Dave Dorsey.
2nd Star: Tyler Houmard, F, Wooster Oilers
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Trevor Kalinowski, G, Metro Jets – Ryan Spencer, G, Wooster Oilers – Jacob Stack, G, Pittsburgh Vengeance – Tyler Zalecki, F, Toledo Cherokee
The Great Falls Americans opened the defense of their Frontier title last weekend with a convincing 12-1 win over the Glacier Nationals. 18-year-old forward Tegan Harrington (6’0/185) led the way in the win with a goal and three assists and a +4 rating. Harrington is a native of Wasilla, Alaska and previously played for Wasilla High School. “Tegan is a great kid and a leader on and off the ice. He competes hard and we are excited about what he brings to the table. It is early in the season, but he played great for his first junior hockey game,” said Americans head coach Jeff Heimel.
2nd Star: Connor Dunn, D, Helena Bighorns
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Brendan Jester, F, Great Falls Americans – Riley Keays, F, Helena Bighorns
The Cincinnati Thunder opened up their new home at the Cincinnati Gardens with a big sweep in in-state rival Toledo Cherokee this past weekend. Goalie Daniel Dolliver, 19, stood out in both wins as the native of Richmond, Virginia, stopped 46 of 50 shots in the two wins. On Saturday, Dolliver (5’9/185) made 15 saves in a 3-1 win. The next day, he made 31 saves in a 5-3 win. For the season, Dolliver has a 2.52 goals against average and a 90.9% save percentage. “We are very happy for Daniel. He was a late addition for us this summer and has come in and worked hard all through camp and into the season. He is playing with a lot of confidence right now and is giving us a chance to win every time he's played,” said Cincinnati head coach Ryan Colville.
2nd Star: Michael Redmon, F, Nashville Jr. Predators
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Chance Homerin, F, Peoria Mustangs – Albert Janele, F, Cincinnati Thunder - Trent Kulcyk, F, Nashville Jr. Predators – Zach Mitchell, F, St. Louis Jr. Blues – Austin Wisely, F, Peoria Mustangs – Zach Young, G, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Point Mallard forward Justin Dunn, 19, picked up right where he left of from last season with another big scoring weekend as the Ducks swept a weekend road series against the Evansville Thunderbolts. The Trenton, Michigan native racked up six points in the two wins, which were also the Ducks first of the season. On Friday, Dunn (5’11/165) had the game-winning goal and an assist in a 5-4 win. On Saturday, he scored twice, including another game-winning goal, and added a pair of assists in an 8-2 win. Last season, Dunn had 48 points in just 37 games played. “Justin had an outstanding opening weekend. He is a very elusive forward who competes extremely hard every shift,” said Point Mallard head coach Tom Winkler.
2nd Star: Bryan Whelan, F, Texas Jr. Brahmas
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Justin Delisle, D, Point Mallard Ducks – Kevin Mackey, G, Sugar Land Imperials – Brandon Perrone, G, Texas Jr. Brahmas – Luca Valenza, F, Sugar Land Imperials
For the second straight week a Granite City defenseman has won the player of the week award, but this time it was 17-year-old Trevor Cornelius. The native of St. Cloud, Minnesota had three points in Granite City’s two wins over the weekend, which included wins over Breezy Point and Alexandria. On Friday, Cornelius (5’11/180) had an assist and was +2 in a 5-0 shutout over the North Stars. On Saturday, he scored twice, including the game-winning goal in a 4-1 win over the Blizzard. “Trevor really gave us a spark this past weekend with his offensive play. His confidence grew with every shift during the weekend. I think he definitely opened some doors in the NAHL with his play this past weekend,” said Lumberjacks head coach Brad Willner.
2nd Star: Jared Erickson, F, Twin City Steel
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Lucas Carroll, F, Granite City Lumberjacks – James Hale, F, Twin City Steel
Toledo opened up their season with a big weekend sweep of the Wooster Oilers led by the play of forward Ricky Kwapich. The native of Toledo, Ohio, racked up seven points in the two wins and factored in on seven of Toledo’s nine goals in the two wins. On Saturday, Kwapich (6’0/165) had two goals and two assists in a 6-3 win. On Sunday, Kwapich, 18, had two goals, including the game-winner and an assist in a 3-1 win. He was also a +1 during the weekend. “Ricky is a guy we will count on to score for us this season and he did that this past weekend, he was very good in both games and was a big reason we were able to get the two wins,” stated Toledo head coach Kenny Miller.
2nd Star: Chas Distelrath, F, Metro Jets
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Rubin Chavarria, F, Wooster Oilers – Trevor Kalinowski, G, Metro Jets – Adam Schaffer, D, Pittsburgh Vengeance – Tristin Snyder, F, Toledo Cherokee – Jacob Stack, G, Pittsburgh Vengeance
In their first games of the season, the Peoria Mustangs swept the Central Division’s Chicago Bulldogs by scores of 5-3 and 11-4. Veteran forward Jason Hoehn, 20, had a great season debut posting five points in the two wins. On Saturday, the native of Port Byron, Illinois had a hat-trick in a 5-3 win. On Sunday, Hoehn (6’0/200) had two assists in an 11-4 win. He was also a +6 during the weekend. “Jason is the ultimate leader and teammate. He showed those capabilities this weekend and led us to two wins. When he is going the whole team will follow,” said Peoria head coach Tyler Rennette.
2nd Star: Frankie Cardinale, F, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Mark Candotti, D, Peoria Mustangs – Zach Young, G, St. Louis Jr. Blues
The defending Silver Cup Champion Granite City Lumberjacks won their opening game of the weekend, which was a 6-2 home win over the Minnesota Flying Aces. The Lumberjacks appear to have found their next great defenseman in the form of 19-year-old Casey Esselman. The native of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin had two goals, including the game-winner, in the 6-2 victory. Esselman (5’11/195) was also a +2 in the game. “Casey had a very good first game of junior hockey. Not only did he play well defensively, he was smart about his decisions to join the rush. He has a great shot and showcased that with his goals. I am very pleased with his transition from high school hockey,” said Lumberjacks head coach Brad Willner.
2nd Star: Michael Piehler, F, Granite City Lumberjacks
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): None