The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced its 16U All-NAPHL First, Second and Third All-Star Teams for the 2016-17 season.
Consideration and selection for each six-man team was based on overall player performance in all NAPHL games throughout the course of the 2016-17 season.
For the 2016-17 season, the Stars had three players (Christian Gorscak, Billy Rapone and Ethan Webb) honored by the league.
Gorscak was selected to the All-NAPHL 16U First Team as a forward. In 23 regular season NAPHL games, he tallied 18 goals and 17 assists for 35 points. In five league playoff games, leading to the Stars capturing their first ever NAPHL Playoff Championship, he added an additional 7 points (3 goals and 4 assists). Overall, he tallied 42 points (21 goals and 21 assists) in 28 NAPHL appearances. For the overall season, Gorscak finished the year with 100 points (48 goals and 52 assists), including 13 power play goals, in 77 games played. In addition, Gorscak scored a pair of goals at the annual NAPHL U16 All-Stars game.
Rapone was selected to the All-NAPHL 16U Second Team as a defenseman. In 23 NAPHL regular season games, he tallied 6 goals and 9 assists for 15 points. In five league playoff games, he added an additional 8 points (2 goals and 6 assists). Overall, registering 23 points (8 goals and 15 assists) in 28 NAPHL appearances. For the season, Rapone finished the year with 55 points (19 goals and 36 assists), including 10 power play goals, in 74 games played. He added an assist at the annual NAPHL U16 All-Star game.
Webb was selected to the All-NAPHL 16U Third Team as a defenseman. In 23 regular season NAPHL games, he tallied 3 goals and 9 assists for 12 points. In five league playoff games he added an additional 2 points (2 assists). Overall, he tallied 14 points (3 goals and 11 assists) in 28 NAPHL appearances. For the overall season, Webb finished the year with 40 points (8 goals and 32 assists), including 3 power play goals, in 77 games played. Like both Gorscak and Rapone, Webb was selected to play in and participated in the league's annual NAPHL U16 All-Star game.
“The 16U division keeps getting better and better, said NAPHL Director Lucas Trombetta, "and this season was no exception. We consistently hear from scouts that the talent level in the 16U Division is the best it has ever been. From the first-ever undefeated regular season the Omaha AAA team completed, to the first Dixon Cup Championship for the Esmark Stars AAA club, this season was filled with memorable moments and performances by our 16U players and teams.”
"I am thrilled for the three boys selected," said Stars U16 head coach Yuri Krivokhija. "Their selections was pay off for the work and effort that they brought to the rink each and every day. But they also understand that individual awards come from being part of a good team and that these awards are truly earned and shared by the team."
The Stars claimed the NAPHL's top prize, the Dixon Cup, with an impressive 5-0-0 record at the league's annual playoff showcase in Troy, MI, Feb. 17 - 20, 2017, capped with an exciting 1-0 win over the Rocky Mountain Rough Riders in the championship game.
The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced its All-Academic Teams in the 15U, 16U and 18U divisions for the 2016-17 season.
Consideration and selection was based on classroom performance during the 2016-17 school year. To qualify for the All-NAPHL Academic Team, student-athletes, nominated by a coach, must have achieved certain academic standards during the current school year.
(All-Academic Selection was limited to four maximum per team.)
Esmark Stars AAA players recognized as NAPHL Academic All-Stars for the 2016-17 school year, include:
U15 - Matthew Marquiz, Lane Ruffner, Michael Page, Paul Zmuda
U16 - Christian Gorscak, Ryan Hastings, Nico Pidro, Adam Ulan
U18 - Michael Lamison, Mitchell Lewis, Patrick Roach and Boston Bradley
"We are very proud of the players selected as Academic All-Stars," said Stars 18U Head Coach and program General Manager Dave Kosick. "The time and dedication to be a high-end Tier I AAA player while maintaining superior excellence in the classroom is to be applauded."
The Esmark program submitted lists of names that far exceeded the maximum of four allowed per member program at each level.
"Whether you made the All-Academic Team or not, we salute and congratulate all of our student athletes who maintain academic excellence ... without seeking special exemption from the day-to-day requirements ... all while managing the rigors of playing elite travel hockey," Kosick added.
The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club captured their first North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) Championship as the 16U AAA team skated to a 1 - 0 championship game win over the Rocky Mountain Rough Riders, completing a perfect 5-0-0 run at the league's annual playoffs, and earning their first ever Dixon Cup.
The Stars opened up play in the NAPHL's Gold Division Playoffs as the number four seed (10 team bracket) and drew an opening game match on Friday, Feb. 17, with the number 5 seed Meijer AAA.
Danny Tkac got the Stars on the board first, converting a nice feed from Ty Morin at 9:40 of the first period to give the Stars a 1-0 lead. Meijer would respond later in the period with a power play goal to even the score 1-1 after one.
The Stars would then score four consecutive goals during a seven-minute stretch of the second period to open up a 5-1 lead. JT Schimizzi got the scoring binge started as he scored the second Stars goal at 7:19 of the second period with assists from Andrew Wells and Billy Rapone. Wells would then score the first of three consecutive power play goals at 10:02 as Schimizzi and Justin Adamski earned helpers. Adamski would stretch the lead to three with a power play tally at 13:07, Ethan Webb and Rapone earning assists. Sam Hrabchak completed the power play run with a goal at the 13:55 mark as Rapone, his third assist of the game, and Johnny Macdonald got the helpers.
Meijer would not go quietly into the night though, as they scored a goal late in the second and midway through the third to cut the lead to 5-3 with a little over nine minutes remaining in the game.
Drew Murphy would give the Stars some breathing room as he tallied an unassisted goal at the 10:06 mark of the third period. Meijer would quickly cut the lead back to two as they scored 22 seconds later. But the Stars would close the scoring with an empty netter at 16:11 of the third as Christian Gorscak would score off an assist from Adamski.
Nico Pidro earned the win in goal recording 10 saves.
In game two (Saturday morning), the Stars would upend the number 6 seed New Jersey Jr. Titans, with a 4-0 shutout.
The Stars scored twice in the opening frame as Nicholas Caretta found the back of the net at 3:04, with assists from Billy Rapone and Christian Gorscak, and David Spinler stretched the Stars lead to 2-0 at 6:21, with assists from Gavin Morrison and Sam Hrabchak.
Christian Gorscak would score twice in the second period, the first 36 seconds into the frame on the power play and his second of the period at 6:49. Hrabchak picked up his second assist on the first Gorscak goal and Rapone his second assist of the game on the second Gorsack tally.
Nico Pidro earned his second win in goal, and the shut-out, as he kicked out all 24 shots he saw.
The Stars returned to the ice four hours later for game three of the playoffs and skated to a 3 - 1 win over the eight seeded Thunder Bay Kings.
Justin Adamski opened the scoring as he found the back of the net at 10:58 of the opening period on the power play. Billy Rapone picked up the lone assist.
Thunder Bay would knot the score at 1-1 with the lone second period goal.
But Billy Rapone would collect a pair of power play goals in the third period, at 1:02 and 14:40, to close out the scoring and secure the Stars win. Christian Gorscak earned the lone assist on Rapone's first power play tally and JT Schimizzi the loan assist on Rapone's second power play goal.
Adam Ulan turned aside 26 of the 27 shots he faced to earn the win in goal.
Esmark and three other clubs (Omaha AAA, St. Louis Selects, and the Rocky Mountain Rough Riders) completed round-robin play undefeated and advanced to the league playoffs semi-finals.
Based on goal differential and goal quotient, the four teams were seeded 1-4 for semi-final play, and the Stars, who were seeded third, drew the St. Louis Selects for a Sunday semi-final, while number one seeded Omaha AAA squared off with number four Rocky Mountain.
The Stars would fall behind for the first time in the playoffs as Selects forward Sam Watson opened the scoring with a quick tally slipping the puck through goalie Nico Pidro just 58 seconds into the game to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead.
JT Schimizzi would even the game at 12:24 of the first period, with assists to Andrew Wells and Ethan Webb.
Both teams traded a pair of power play opportunities in the second period, but neither team could find the back of the net.
Andrew Murphy would score the game winning goal 55 seconds into the third period, with assists to Christian Gorscak and Nicholas Carretta, on a power play that continued over from the second period.
Nico Pidro earned his third win of the playoffs in goal as he stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced.
The goal would propel Esmark into the Championship game, opposite Rocky Mountain ... who had upended Omaha 1-0 in the other 16U semi-final ... and a shot at the league's Dixon Cup, awarded to the league playoff champion.
A large crowd gathered to watch the final game of the 16U playoffs at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, MI, on Monday morning (Presidents Day).
Both teams traded a couple of high quality scoring opportunities and a pair of power plays in the opening stanza, but neither team could find the back of the net as Stars goalie Nico Pidro and Rough Riders goalie Andrew Miller stopped all the pucks they saw.
The Stars, however, would solve Miller early in the second period as they converted a picture perfect three on one and Andrew Murphy would convert a Christian Gorscak feed to give the Stars a 1-0 lead, 2:47 into the second period.
The 1-0 Esmark lead would stand through the remainder of the second and third periods as both goaltenders and defenses played outstanding hockey.
As the clock wound to zero, the Esmark bench exploded onto the ice and raced to greet goalie Nico Pidro, who recorded the shutout and win, stopping all 22 shots he faced, and Esmark celebrated its first NAPHL Championship.