The SHL selected Dakota Jackalopes C Riley McCrea as its Player of the Week. In a highly turbulent week for the Jackalopes, McCrea was able to tune out the distractions and put up an excellent week. The center produced 9 points (5 goals, 4 assists) on the week. He now leads Dakota in points with 38, and he is second on the team in goals with 15.
On Sunday, McCrea scored twice – including the game-tying goal – and added an assist in a 5-4 overtime loss to Kansas City. On Tuesday, he had another three-point game – this time a goal and two assists – as the Jackalopes came from behind to stun Portland 5-4 at Wilamette River Arena. On Saturday, McCrea had both of Dakota’s goals in a 6-2 loss to Quebec.
“Riley is one of the league’s truly underrated players,” said Jackalopes coach Flim Dahlgren. “He is unknown to every SHL fan in every city other than this one. But he will become known. A player as talented as he is will not stay invisible forever.”
The SHL selected Quebec Tigres LW Walt Camernitz as its Player of the Week. Quebec wen 3-1-0 this week, fueled by a rare outburst of offense, and Camernitz was one of the chief contributors to that outburst. This week, Camernitz recorded 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists), nearly half of his season total prior to the week. Thanks to his monster week, the winger is now in the SHL top 10 in goals with 19.
On Sunday, Camernitz had the game-winning goal and an assist as the Tigres edged Hershey 2-1. On Tuesday, in a stunning 9-1 thrashing of New York, Camernitz scored twice and notched four assists. And on Thursday, Camernitz had two more goals and another assists in a 4-1 victory over Washington.
“This is the Walt Camernitz I am accustomed to seeing,” said Tigres coach Martin Delorme. “If he has rediscovered his scoring touch, this team has become much more dangerous. Hamilton and Hershey should watch out for themselves.”
The SHL selected Portland Bluebacks G Jesse Clarkson as its Player of the Week. The Bluebacks went undefeated this week, and Clarkson’s goaltending was a key element of their winning formula. For the week, Clarkson went 3-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA and a .972 save percentage.
On Sunday, in front of the delighted crowd at Willamette River Arena, Clarkson stopped 35 shots in a 7-1 thrashing of Kansas City. On Tuesday, in the back end of the home-and-home, Clarkson made 41 saves as the Bluebacks stopped the Smoke by a 4-2 margin. Then on Thursday, Clarkson produced a 31-save shutout to muzzle Michigan in a 3-0 victory.
For the season, Clarkson leads the league with 19 victories. His 2.49 GAA ranks him fifth among SHL goaltenders, while his .926 save percentage is tied for second.
“This is why we wanted Jesse on our team,” said Portland coach Harold Engellund.
The SHL selected Hamilton Pistols LW Steven Alexander as its Player of the Week. On Sunday, Alexander became the second SHL player this season to score four goals in a game, joining New York’s Brock Manning. Alexander’s four-spot came in an 8-4 rout of Dakota, the highlight of their 4-1-1 homestand. With Alexander and his wicked stick leading the way, the Pistols reeled off an 11-game unbeaten streak, which was snapped on Thursday in a 4-0 loss to Portland.
Alexander’s four-goal performance vaulted him into the league lead for goals with 21. At week’s end, he was tied atop the leaderboard with teammate Calvin Frye. Alexander is also among the league’s top 10 in points for the season with 36.
“I’ve got to tell you, this looks like a team that’s ready to defend the title,” said Pistols coach Keith Shields. “Success hasn’t spoiled us at all. We’re still young, scrappy, and hungry. And that starts with Alex. He just doesn’t know the meaning of the word quit.”
The SHL selected Quebec Tigres G Riki Tiktuunen as its Player of the Week. The Finnish-born netminder has had a fairly rough season, at least by his usual lofty standards, but this week he showed flashes of his typical All-Star form, going 3-0-0 with a 1.33 GAA and a .948 save percentage.
His best game of the week occurred on Sunday, a critical road game against Hershey. In that game, Tiktuunen stopped 35 shots and led the Tigres to a 4-2 win. On Tuesday against in Boston, Tiktuunen made 17 saves and beat the Badgers 3-1. On Thursday, he stopped 22 Saskatchewan shots and shut down the Shockers 3-1.
“We succeed when our defense and goaltending are strong,” said Tigres coach Martin Delorme. “This week, Riki has been playing up to the best of his ability. It is a joy for me to watch. When Riki is strong in the crease, our team becomes very dangerous and difficult to defeat.”
The SHL selected Hamilton Pistols G Lasse Koskinen as its Player of the Week. The Pistols posted an unbeaten week to retake the lead in the East, and unusually for this offensive powerhouse, they relied on quality goaltending to come away with some tough victories this week.
Koskinen only started twice this week, but both starts were brilliant, allowing Hamilton to steal narrow victories on the road. On Sunday, Koskinen made 35 stops and outdueled the great Dirk Lundquist in a 2-1 victory over Michigan. On Tuesday in Boston, Koskinen turned aside all 28 shots in a tense defensive match that remained scoreless until the final five minutes, when C Calvin Frye went five-hole for the winning goal in a 1-0 Pistols triumph.
“We’ve got a ton of scorers and that’s great, but if we’re going to win the Vandy again, Koski’s the guy who will get us there,” said Hamilton coach Keith Shields. “He got off to a slow start and I know that was weighing on him, but he’s really starting to play as well as I know he can. If he gets on a roll, nothing can stop us.”
The SHL selected Hershey Bliss G Christien Adamsson as its Player of the Week. Despite playing the entire week on the road, the Bliss went 3-0-1 to seize first place in the East, and Adamsson’s brilliant performance was a key contributor to Hershey’s sweet success. Adamsson went 2-0-1 with a 1.30 GAA and a .961 save percentage.
Adamsson faced a couple tough tests this week against Western contenders, and he passed both with flying colors. On Tuesday in Saskatchewan, he turned aside 42 shots as Hershey grounded the Shockers 4-1. Two nights later in Portland, he made 34 stops as the Bliss dueled the Bluebacks to a 1-1 tie.
For the season, Adamsson is 8-5-2 with a 2.55 GAA and a .916 save percentage. “Christien is the answer we’ve been looking for in the crease,” said Hershey coach Chip Barber. “A good goalie is like a good coating chocolate: the best ones stay in temper. He doesn’t get rattled, and he’s the steady hand that we need between the pipes.”