Della Maggorie, Russell cop NAHL weekly awards
Two California natives – Niko Della Maggorie (Gilroy) and Rourke Russell (Long Beach) – were recognized with North American Hockey League Star of the Week honors for the week ending Oct. 25.
Della Maggorie, a goaltender for the Springfield Jr. Blues, was named the Midwest Division Star of the Week.
With their home sweep of the Janesville Jets, the Jr. Blues moved into third place in the Midwest Division. Getting the start and winning both games was Della Maggorie.
The 20-year-old faced 67 shots in the series and stopped 64. On Friday, Della Maggorie made 38 saves in a 5-2 win over the Jets. On Saturday, he made 26 and stopped all three Jets shooters in the shootout to earn a 2-1 victory.
Della Maggorie, a former San Jose Jr. Shark, has won his last four games, giving up just four goals along the way.
“Niko had a great offseason and came in ready to play this year,” said Jr. Sharks head coach Tony Zasowski. “He got off to a slow start, but has been on fire this month.
“Last weekend, he was very steady for us keeping things simple while making some huge saves on Saturday night, including stopping all three opponents in the shootout.
Russell, a defenseman for the Wichita Falls Wildcats, was named the South Division Star of the Week.
In two tight contests on the road against the Lone Star Brahmas, the Wildcats came away with three valuable points thanks in large part to the play of the 17-year-old Russell.
He was a factor in both games over the weekend, scoring twice and posting a plus-1 rating.
On Friday night, the Miami University recruit tallied the overtime-winning goal in a 2-1 win. On Saturday, he scored the lone goal for the Wildcats in a 2-1overtime loss.
For the season, Russell has six points through 11 games.
“Rourke was able to come up with some very clutch plays for us last weekend,” said Wildcats assistant coach Josh Nelson. “He’s an extremely gifted defenseman who’s been making strides over the first chunk of the season.
“We’ll continue to look for consistency from him and push for that elevated play we know he’s capable of bringing.”