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Pair of former California youth standouts capture weekly NAHL awards

 

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The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week, presented by Bauer Hockey, for the week ending Dec. 31, 2017.

The Bauer Hockey Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2017-18 regular season that honors the top performing players in each of the four NAHL divisions.

Only players that are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the Divisional Players of the Week award.

READ OUR DECEMBER 2017 ISSUE

South Division Star of the Week: Evan Somoza, forward, Odessa Jackalopes

After a three-game weekend sweep of the Amarillo Bulls, the Odessa Jackalopes find themselves firmly in second place in the South Division.

One of the big contributors this past weekend was forward Evan Somoza. The 6-foot, 170-pound native of Simi Valley had five points in the three-game sweep of the Bulls, which also included scoring a goal in each of the wins.

On Friday, Somoza, had a goal in regulation and then the shootout-winning goal in a 3-2 shootout home win. On Saturday, Somoza had another goal in a 3-2 win in Amarillo and then on Sunday, he saved his best for last as he had the game-winning goal and two assists in a 5-2 win, which completed the sweep.

The former NAPHLer leads the Jackalopes in scoring this season with 31 points in 32 games and has recorded a point in eight of his last nine games.

“Evan came back from the holiday break refreshed and ready to go,” Odessa head coach Greg Gatto said. “He used his speed well and when he had the opportunities, he finished them.”

During his youth career, Somoza played for the California Titans.

In addition, former Los Angeles Jr. Kings forward Nathan Burke was named the Central Division Star of the Week.Burke123017

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound native of Scottsdale, Ariz., helped his team to a weekend home-and-home series sweep of the Brookings Blizzard.

For the weekend, Burke, 19, had six points in the two wins, which included three goals and three assists, along with a plus-4 rating.

He had a goal and an assist in a 6-3 win in Brookings on Friday and on Saturday he had two goals and two assists in a 7-3 home win.

Burke currently leads the Wings in scoring with 31 points in 30 games played and his 17 goals ranks fourth in the NAHL.

“Nathan has had a very good first-year player campaign to date,” Aberdeen head coach Scott Langer said. “He is a very determined player that focuses on making his teammates around him better each day. He is a very hard working player of character that plays the game determined and with a lot of work ethic.”

(Jan. 2, 2018)