Week of Dec. 9, 2023
Games of Dec. 1-5, 2023
Midwest East Division
Forward: Ryan Jaros, Battle Creek Kernels
Jaros (‘03/Portage, Mich.) has almost doubled his 2022-23 full season points total with his 34 points in 25 games, following an 18-point season last year. He put up a 1-4-5 line when the Kernels defeated the Columbus Mavericks.
Defense: Brody Vachon, Motor City Gamblers
In a three-game series against the Chicago Crush, the ‘05 from Timmins, Ont., was on top of his game, putting up three goals and adding one assist, while also sharing in the team lead for plus-minus with a +3. That big weekend performance represented the majority of Vachon’s six points in 21 games this season.
Goaltender: Maxim Zinchenko, Fort Wayne Spacemen
Zinchenko faced the Battle Creek Kernels on Dec. 2 and came away with his second straight shutout, stopping 26 shots – right on the heels of a Nov. 19 28-save shutout of the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings. He has three total shutouts this year and has never given up more than three goals. For his two-year career, he is 14-6-1-1 with a 1.98 goals against average and a .933 save percentage.
Midwest West Division
Forward: Luke Steffen, Hudson Havoc
Fresh off a November that saw him garner Forward Of The Month honors, Steffen passed Go, collected his $200 and was ready to dominate the game board again as the Havoc defeated the Minnesota Moose and Minnesota Mullets to kick off the new month. Steffen put up two goals and three assists for five points. Since joining the team in late October and starting Nov. 1, he has only missed the scoresheet once for 32 points in just 12 games.
Defense: Xavier Beauchamp, Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings
Beauchamp (‘06/Ottawa, Ont.) enjoyed a strong performance during the Riverkings’s split weekend with the Steele County Blades. He put up a goal and two assists, while leading the Riverkings in average ice time at 26:49 and also leading in hits with six over the weekend. He also blocked two shots and was either top or second defenseman in power play and shorthanded ice time.
Goaltender: Bence Gaspar, Steele County Blades
Gaspar, an ‘04 out of Hungary, posted the shootout victory after stopping 39 of 41 shots in 65 minutes and then all three in the shootout against Wisconsin Rapids. After a Dec. 8 45-save shutout (which might put him right back here next week), he is 4-1-1-0 with a .916 save percentage in his second year with the Blades.
Great Lakes Division
Forward: Ryan Grant, Nashville Spartans
Grant (‘03/Cornwall, Ont.) enjoyed a 3-4-7 line when the Spartans twice defeated the Dells Ducks to start December, in this his second Premier season and third overall USPHL campaign. Dec. 2 saw his biggest performance this season when he put up a pair of goals and added four assists for six points. He has 38 points in 24 games this season.
Defense: Austin Micale, Nashville Spartans
Micale (‘03/Hamilton, N.J.) enjoyed the same scoring line for the weekend as his teammate Grant, putting up three goals and four assists for seven points against Dells. He averaged a team-leading 25:22 of ice time per game and was a +6 for the weekend. He has 37 points in 24 games this season, his third junior campaign.
Goaltender: Kyle Diehr, Columbus Mavericks
Diehr (‘04/Lewis Center, Ohio, came up with 88 saves on 83 shots in two games, including a win against the Cincinnati Jr. Cyclones in which he stopped 40 of 42. Diehr is in his second season with the Mavericks and even got to take shots during a Columbus Blue Jackets off-season practice session this past summer.