FRISCO, TEXAS – The North American 3 Hockey League (3HL) today announced the Three Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending September 25, 2011. 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: Josh Baker, defenseman, Chicago Hitmen
Baker, 18, posted seven points in two games and led his Chicago Hitmen to a big road sweep against the Peoria Mustangs on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, the defenseman from Lemont, Illinois, posted a career-high four assists in the Hitmen’s 5-1 win over Peoria. The next night, he added a goal and two more assists as the Hitmen came back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Mustangs, 5-3. Baker’s goal came on the power play midway through the 3rd period and was the eventual game-winner. “Josh was our offensive catalyst this past weekend,” said Hitmen head coach Brent Dolan. “We converted Josh to a defensemen this season and he has thrived in that position both offensively and defensively. Josh stabilizes our top power play and penalty kill units while having to play against our opponents top lines.” Baker not only leads the Hitmen in scoring, but also is tops for defensive scoring in the 3HL this season with 10 points.
2nd Star: Ryan Kelly, forward, Toledo Cherokee
Kelly, 19, registered seven points in three games, as the Cherokee went 2-1-0 over the weekend. On Friday, he registered one of Toledo’s two goals in a 5-2 home loss against the Flint Jr. Generals. Kelly, from Wilton Manors, Florida, kept his hot play going on Saturday as Toledo rebounded for an 11-0 win over Battle Creek. Kelly registered two goals and two assists in the win. On Sunday, Kelly had a goal and assist in a 12-1 win over the Jr. Revolution. “In his short time here as a Cherokee, Ryan has exhibited the leadership we needed as a team with only three players returning off our 2010-11 team,” said Toledo head coach Scott Syring. “He has stepped in and helped our team both on and off the ice.” Kelly is third in scoring on the Cherokee with nine points in seven games.
3rd Star: Jamie DeMarco, forward, St. Louis Jr. Blues
In the Jr. Blues home sweep of 1st place Granite City, no one came up bigger than DeMarco, 19. In Friday’s 4-2 win, DeMarco connected for the first three St. Louis goals, which came in all three forms: power play, penalty kill and even strength. His 3rd goal of the game to complete the hat-trick was also the game-winner. On Saturday, DeMarco registered a goal and assist, both in the 3rd period in the Jr. Blues 5-2 win over Granite City to complete the weekend sweep. DeMarco, who hails from St. Peters, Missouri, is tied for the team lead in goals this season with five.
Other players nominated were (alphabetical): Ethan Baker, forward, Michigan Mountain Cats – Mitch Fernsler, goaltender, St. Louis Jr. Blues – Steve Klisz, forward, Metro Jets – Stephen Langford, forward, Minnesota Flying Aces – Steve Lecey, defenseman, Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks – Tyler Montgomery, defenseman, Twin City Steel – Gary Neill, forward, Toledo Cherokee – Gary Olen, goaltender, Chicago Hitmen – Shane Reese, forward, Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks – Paul Sorensen, defenseman, Minnesota Flying Aces – Matt Stemkoski, forward, Metro Jets. About the 3HLNow in its second season, the North American 3 Hockey League (3HL), one of six USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III Junior leagues, serves as one of the top training grounds in the country by providing the best coaching, exposure and developmental vehicles available for student-athletes in its classification. The primary mission of the 3HL, which is managed organizationally by the North American Hockey League (NAHL), is to provide a structured developmental environment for student-athletes whose youth options are limited but are still reaching their potential and have aspirations of playing in the NAHL or United States Hockey League and eventually the NCAA or American College Hockey Association. For more information, visit www.na3hl.com.