The SHL selected Saskatchewan Shockers G Zeke Zagurski as its Player of the Week. Zagurski had a tremendous week in net for the Shockers, going 3-0-1 with a 0.73 GAA and a .976 save percentage. With Zagurski leading the way, the Shockers posted a 3-1-1 record on the week, better than any other team in the West. For the season, Zagurski stands at 12-18-3, with a 2.52 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
On Saturday, Zagurski made 28 saves to outduel Riki Tiktuunen and the Quebec Tigres, 2-1. On Tuesday, he stopped all 37 Washington shots as the Shockers knocked off the Galaxy 1-0. On Friday, Zagurski made 29 stops as Saskatchewan rolled to a 10-1 thrashing of New York.
“One of these days, people are going to realize that Zeke is one of the league’s best netminders,” said Shockers interim coach Caleb Ponder. “He doesn’t get enough credit because we don’t win enough games, but when we finally make it to the playoffs and make some noise, the world will finally recognize Zeke’s greatness.”
The SHL selected Hamilton Pistols C Calvin Frye as its Player of the Week. Frye had a fantastic week for the first-place Pistols, putting up 11 points (8 goals, 3 assists). Frye now has 51 points for the season, second in the league. His 24 goals is third-highest in the SHL. With Frye leading the way, Hamilton remained tied with Michigan for the best record in the league.
Frye had a career-best day on Sunday, scoring four goals as the Pistols smoked Kansas City 5-1. On Tuesday, he had a hand in all of Hamilton’s goals, scoring twice and adding an assist in a 5-3 loss to New York. On Friday, Frye notched a goal and assisted twice, including the pass that allowed LW Steven Alexander to complete his hat trick, as the Pistols whipped Washington 5-2.
“Watching Calvin grow and mature into a superstar is one of the joys of my job,” said coach Keith Shields. “Every game, it seems like he’s finding another gear, another new wrinkle in his game. There’s no ceiling with this kid.”
The SHL selected Washington Galaxy LW Casey Thurman as its Player of the Week. Thurman is the second straight Galaxy player to win Player of the Week honors; linemate Jefferson McNeelynabbed the award last week. Washington’s top line has fueled their success all season long, and that was especially true this week. Thurman had a brilliant week, posting 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists). Thanks to his efforts, the Galaxy put up an undefeated week that allowed them to slip into second place in the East.
On Saturday, Thurman had a hand in every goal, scoring twice and assisting twice more in a 4-1 victory in New York. The next night, he had a pair of assists to help the Galaxy tip Seattle, 5-4. Then on Friday, Thurman netted another two goals and added an assist in an 8-1 humiliation of Kansas City.
Thurman and McNeely are now the top two point-scorers in the league; McNeely has a total of 50 points, while Thurman has 46. Thurman is third in the league in goals (with 20, behind McNeely and Steven Alexander of Hamilton) and assists (26, trailing only linemate Eddie Costello and the Pistols’ Claude Lafayette).
“Thurm and Eddie and me, that’s just magic on the ice,” said McNeely. “Our offense should be a registered weapon, because it’s downright lethal.”
The SHL selected Washington Galaxy RW Jefferson McNeely as its Player of the Week. McNeely has been red-hot since the season’s beginning, and he had another tremendous week this time around, putting up 11 points. McNeely now has 39 points on the season, most in the league. The 8 goals he scored this week brought him to 21 for the year, eclipsing Hamilton’s Steven Alexander for the lead in that category as well. With McNeely leading the way, the Galaxy went 4-1-0 for the week to move into a second-place tie in the East.
On Saturday, McNeely scored twice in the first period to lead the Galaxy to a 4-1 win in Anchorage. On Tuesday, the winger registered a hat trick in a losing effort against Quebec. The next night, in the second leg of the home-and-home against the Tigres, McNeely scored and had two assists to help the Galaxy get revenge with a 4-0 victory. Then on Friday, McNeely potted a pair to help down Hershey 5-4.
“I can’t say enough good stuff about Jeff and what he’s done for us,” said Washington coach Rodney Reagle. “He’s been playing out of his mind this year. He’s pretty much single-handedly kept us in the race. He deserves all the glory.”
The SHL selected Hamilton Pistols G Lasse Koskinen as its Player of the week. The Finnish-born netminder had an exceptional week, going 3-1-1 with a 1.57 GAA and a .949 save percentage. Koskinen opened his week with a pair of shutouts, downing Dakota 5-0 and acing Anchorage 2-0. After the back-to-back blankings, Koskinen had a three-game shutout streak going, all on the road. Then on Friday, Koskinen went into Cadillac Place and turned aside 34 shots as the Pistols battled mighty Michigan to a 3-3 tie.
Koskinen ran his record to 10-2-1 on the season. His 2.06 GAA is fifth-best in the league, while his .934 save percentage is second only to Michigan’s legendary Dirk “The Bear” Lundquist.
“If you gave me the pick of any goalie in the league, I’d go to war with Koski,” said Pistols coach Keith Shields. “It’s hard to believe a 21-year-old kid has this level of maturity and patience. He can make those acrobatic saves, but he usually doesn’t have to because he knows how to postion himself and anticipate. I’m looking forward to a career with Koski.”
The SHL selected New York Night D Dominic Sanchez as its Player of the Week. Sanchez had an impressive week on offense, scoring 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists). On Sunday, Sanchez notched 3 assists in a 6-4 loss to Hamilton. On Tuesday, he scored twice and added a pair of assists as the Night thrashed Washington 9-4. The next night, he had 3 apples as New York claimed a wild 7-5 win over Hershey.
Thanks to his productive week, Sanchez is now the league leader in assists with 17. His 19 total points is second in the SHL, behind only Washington’s Jefferson McNeely.
“People don’t talk about Dom when they talk about the best D-men in the league, but they should,” said Night coach Nick Foster. “There aren’t a lot of blueliners with the nose for offense that he has. He’s got great speed, and he knows how to set guys up for scores. He’s an underrated weapon.”
The SHL selected Seattle Sailors RW Elliott Pepper as its Player of the Week. Pepper was Seattle’s big offseason acquisition, picked up from rebuilding Dakota. The big winger got off to a big start with his new club, notching 7 goals and 11 points in his first week. Pepper currently leads the league in goals and is one behind C Calvin Frye of Hamilton for the league points lead.
He scored his first goal in a Sailors uniform on Sunday in a 5-1 win over Saskatchewan. On Tuesday, he potted a pair to help Seattle sink his old club by a 5-4 margin. Then on Friday, Pepper recorded a hat trick and added two wins in a wild 8-5 win over the Jackalopes. Led by Pepper’s heroics, Seattle is off to a 4-1-0 start and a surprising second place in the West.
“As soon as I heard Elliott was available, I told our front office to go get him,” said Sailors coach Harold Engellund, who was Pepper’s boss in Dakota last year. “He’s just a tremendous force: great shot, heads-up two-way player, a leader in the clubhouse. For a young club like that, he’s exactly the kind of player we need.”