KRISPEL’S NINE POINTS EARNS SHER-WOOD NAHL OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
A number of NAHLers enjoyed strong offensive performances last week. Santa Fe’s Corey Stark and Southern Minnesota’s Sean Murphy each had six points in three games, Wasilla’s Andy Sternberg and Cleveland’s Joe Greener each had three-goal games. But Bozeman’s Jason Krispel had a break-out weekend with nine points (five goals, four assists) in four road games and has won the Sher-wood NAHL Offensive Player of the Week award for the week ending January 8.
On January 4, Krispel helped the Icedogs down the high-scoring Express 7-1 with a late first period power play assist that gave Bozeman a 3-0 lead, and in the third period, after Southern Minnesota tried to get back in the game, he tallied his first goal of the week and added another assist.
The next day in Bismarck, the native of Cypress, California, scored 17 seconds into the game jumpstarting the ‘Dogs to another 3-0 first period lead. Again when the opposition tried to get back in the game after scoring in the second period, Krispel scored again six minutes later to give Bozeman a 4-1 lead. The Bobcats clawed back, however, and pulled to within a goal midway through the final period, but under a minute later, Krispel set up the eventual game-winner as the Icedogs held on for a 5-4 win.
Moving east to Alexandria, Minnesota for a date with the Blizzard the next night, Krispel was kept off the scoresheet in a 4-0 Icedogs win, but back in Bismarck on Saturday, Krispel again opened the scoring early in the first period, then set up a second goal on his next shift. Bozeman built a 4-1 lead early in the second period but, once again, the Bobcats fought back and pulled back to 4-3 early in the third period. That’s when Krispel did it again, scoring less than three minutes later to give the ‘Dogs some breathing room at 5-3 in a game they would eventually win 6-3.
In his first NAHL season, Krispel has now moved to fourth place on the Icedogs scoring parade.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Sean Bertsch (Billings), Joe Greener (Cleveland), Jordan Mowbray (Texas), Sean Murphy (Southern Minnesota), Corey Stark (Santa Fe), Andy Sternberg (Wasilla).
JOHNSON, WILSON SHARE SHER-WOOD NAHL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
A veteran defenseman and a first-year goaltender share the Sher-wood NAHL Defensive Player of the Week award for the week ending January 8.
Santa Fe defenseman Brandon Johnson tallied five assists on the week, four of them quarterbacking the Roadrunners’ power play. On Thursday, January 5, the Duluth, Minnesota native set up the game’s first goal against the Springfield Jr. Blues in a contest the ‘Runners dropped in overtime, 5-4.
The next night, Santa Fe took advantage of seven power plays, scoring four times with the extra man and Johnson was key in three of them in a 7-1 victory over the Jr. Blues. Johnson set up the goal making the score 3-0 in the second period, but Springfield stormed back, drawing to 3-2 with two goals in 23 seconds. Then at the start of the third period, Johnson set up his second power play goal of the game to restore a two-goal lead and six minutes later, he drew an assist on another man advantage tally to make the score 5-2.
On Saturday in the rubber match of the three-game series, the Jr. Blues jumped to a second period 2-0 lead, when the Roadrunners struck with another power play goal set up by Johnson at 15:25 of the middle stanza. That’s the way the score stood until the Jr. Blues notched an empty net goal late in the third to secure the 3-1 victory in a series that saw the Roadrunners grab three of the six points, thanks in large part to Johnson’s play.
Johnson is now tied for second among NAHL defensemen in scoring, one point behind the lead.
Billings has begun to turn their season around and the biggest steps they have made in that direction came in a tough pair of games against the tough Fargo-Moorhead Jets last week. The Bulls won both contests and their goalie Ian Wilson was a big reason why.
On Friday, the Tulsa, Oklahoma, native stopped 39 of 41 shots – 28 in the last 40 minutes — in one of his best games of the season, as the Bulls downed the Jets 5-2. Wilson out-dueled Jets goalie B.J. O’Brien, who leads the NAHL in victories. “He played really tremendous tonight,” teammate Mitch Kearns, who had a goal and assist in the game, told the Billings Gazette. “He really picked it up.”
That was just an appetizer, however, because the next night, in a game dominated by the Jets, Wilson stopped 49 of 53 shots, including 18 in the second period, 14 in the third and another five in overtime, then turned aside six of eight in a shootout as the Bulls came away with a 5-4 triumph over Fargo-Moorhead.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a goaltending performance like we saw in the third period, overtime and the shootout from Ian Wilson tonight,” Jets coach Chad Johnson said in the Billings Gazette.
This is the second consecutive week a Billings player has been honored as Player of the Week.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Chris Barth (Southern Minnesota), Graham McManiman (Bozeman), Troy Redmann (Texas), Adam Snead (Cleveland), Andrew Volkening (Wasilla).
Offensive: Karl Sellan (Texas), Chris Connelly (Fargo-Moorhead)
Defensive: B.J. O’Brien (Fargo-Moorhead)
Offensive: Sean McWhorter (Bismarck)
Defensive: Kenny Reiter (Cleveland), Brett Blatchford (Texas)
Offensive: Kyle Kraemer (Wichita Falls)
Defensive: Riley Gill (Texarkana)
Offensive: Kyle Kraemer (Wichita Falls), Sean Murphy (Southern Minnesota)
Defensive: Lyon Messier (Texas)
Offensive: Anthony Ciraulo (Mahoning Valley), Dan Swanson (Minnesota)
Defensive: Matt Dalton (Bozeman), Johnny Morrow (Alpena)
Showcase MVP: Josh Heidinger (Bozeman)
Offensive: Sean Murphy (Southern Minnesota)
Defensive: Tim Krystosek (Bismarck)
Offensive: Marc Menzione (Mahoning Valley), Alex Coles (Minnesota)
Defensive: Matt Morin (North Iowa)
Offensive: Karl Sellan (Texas)
Defensive: Dennis Urban (Mahoning Valley)
Offensive: Josh Leonard (Cleveland)
Defensive: Bobby Jarosz (Cleveland), Jeff Carlson (Southern Minnesota)
Offense: Jacques Lamoureaux (Bismarck)
Defense: Drew Fortney (Mahoning Valley), Graham McManamin (Bozeman)
Offense: Blake Page (Helena), Ryan Guentzel (Southern Minnesota)
Defense: Matt Dalton (Bozeman), Troy Redmann (Texas)
Offense: Phil Fox (Fargo-Moorhead)
Defense: Mike Garman (Springfield), Jeff Carlson (Southern Minnesota)
Offense: Tibor Kutalek (Helena)
Defense: Riley Gill (Texarkana)
Offense: Anthony Becker (Texarkana)
Defense: B.J. O’Brien (Fargo-Moorhead), Dervin Stonehouse (Texas)
Offense: Travis Hamway (Billings), Casey Haines (Texarkana)
Defense: Bryce Christianson (Fairbanks), Tim Krystosek (Bismarck)