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Recent U18 AAA Esmark Stars News

Esmark's Gray, Palombo and Strobel Honored at 18U

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced its Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performers for the month of December. 

The players were selected based upon their performance at the December NAPHL event, which took place in Blaine, MN, Dec. 14-16.

The 18U Esmark Stars had three players (forward Giovanni Palombo, defenseman Trent Gray and goaltender Connor Strobel) recognized as Peak Performers in the 18U AAA Division, as the team skated to a perfect 4-0-0-0 record at the event.

Palombo was selected as the number two star for 18U Forwards as the 5’10"/185 lbs. winger from Pittsburgh, PA, recorded seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) in four games, including three points (1 goal, 2 assist2) in a 7-1 win over the Chicago Young Americans.

To date, Palombo has recorded 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) in 8 NAPHL league games, including one power play and one shorthanded goal, and 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) in 19 overall games. Palombo returned to the ice in mid-November after missing eight weeks of the season recovering from a broken ankle.

Gray was selected as the number two star for 18U Defenseman as the 5’11"/190 lbs. defenseman from Greensburg, PA, recorded three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in four games, including a power play goal in a 4-2 win over the Thunder Bay Kings.

To date, Gray has recorded 10 points (2 goals, 8 assists) in 16 NAPHL league games and 17 points (4 goals, 13 assists) in 41 overall games.

Strobel was selected as the number three star for 18U Goaltenders as the 6’2"/165 lbs. goaltender from Butler, PA, recorded two wins (2-0-0-0) in two games played, including a 1-0 shutout over Meijer AAA, in an overtime shootout win, stopping all 21 shots he faced in regulation and overtime, and a 4-2 win over Omaha AAA, stopping 28 of 30 shots he faced.

To date, Strobel has recorded a 7-0-0-1 record, including three shutouts in nine NAPHL league games with a save percentage of .938, a goals against average (GAA) of 1.50, and one assist.  Overall to date in 22 appearances, he has recorded a record of 18-0-2-1, including seven shutouts, with a save percentage of .945, a goals against average (GAA) of 1.35 and one assist recorded.

NAPHL 18U All-Star Game Draws Large Crowd

By DLG 12/16/2019, 10:30pm EST

Esmark Stars Well Represented

A near standing room only crowd, including a large contingency of NAHL and NCAA scouts, was on hand for and took in the NAPHL's 2019-20 18U All-Star Game, this past Sunday, Dec. 15,  at the National Sports Center Super Rink in Blaine, MN.

The game featured 42 players (12 forwards, six defensemen and three goaltenders) from the league, who were selected based on player evaluations from NAHL Central Scouting from the first three months of the season.  Many of the players who participated are considered top prospects in North America in their respective birth-years and are leading the way in the NAPHL.  The players were divided onto two teams, Team Hockeywolf or Team Warroad.

The Esmark Stars U18 squad was well represented, as five players participated on Team Hockeywolf.

Stars' forward Ryder Brophy opened the scoring early in the first period to spot Team Hockeywolf to a 1-0 lead. Defenseman Dustin Geregach picked up an assist on the second Team Hockeywolf goal in the third period to knot the game at 2-2. Goaltender Danny Mitchell played the first period of the game and stopped 6 of the 7 shots he faced, exiting his period of play with the team's tied at 1-1.

Unfortunately, Team Hockeywolf would drop a tough decision to Team Warroad, as Warroad would break a 2-2 tie with a goal in the last minute of play to win 3-2.

In addition to Brophy, Geregach and Mitchell, the Stars were also represented by forward Alex Walker and defenseman Lane Ruffner.

"The 18U All-Star Game was a great event," said NAPHL Director Tony Zasowski.  "Both team's treated the game like it was a regular season game and the level of play showed."

The 18U NAPHL All-Star Game was held in conjunction with the final regular season event for the NAPHL's High Performance Division. 

NAPHL Announces 18U AAA All-Stars

By DLG 12/10/2019, 12:01am EST

Five Esmark Stars Selected to Participate

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced rosters for the 2019-20 NAPHL 18U All-Star Game, to be played this Sunday, Dec. 15, 6:30 pm,  at the National Sports Center Super Rink in Blaine, MN.

The NAPHL 18U AAA All-Star Game will feature players, many of whom are considered top prospects in North America in their respective birth-years and who are leading the way in the NAPHL, playing for either Team Blue or Team White.

Each team will consist of 21 players, 12 forwards, six defensemen and three goaltenders, who were selected based on player evaluations from NAHL Central Scouting from the first three months of the season and nominations from coaches. 

Additionally, consideration was given to the overall standings when determining the number of players selected from each team in addition to those players who have already signed NAHL tenders or made NCAA Division I commitments.

Named to Team Blue were five members of the Esmark Stars 18U AAA hockey club - forwards Ryder Brophy and Alex Walker; defensemen Dustin Geregach and Lane Ruffner; and goaltender Danny Mitchell.

The NAPHL has enjoyed a record-breaking amount of advancement, which is again is highlighted this season by a large amount of advancement of players to the NAHL, which includes 80+ former players currently playing in the NAHL. No other USA Hockey Midget Tier I league has had more players play in the NAHL over the course of the last three seasons than the NAPHL.

"The 18U All-Star Game is a great event and highlight’s many of the nation’s best players," said NAPHL Director Tony Zasowski.

"The NAHL Central Scouting team of scouts has done a tremendous job tracking the league throughout the season and providing feedback on the top players in the NAPHL to date," Zasowski added. "Finalizing the rosters was a difficult task."

The 18U NAPHL All-Star Game will be held in conjunction with the final regular season event for the league's High Performance Division. The event will run from December 13-16, 2019, and the 18U All-Star game, as well as the 16U All-Star Game and all 16U and 18U regular season games at the event, will be broadcast live and in HD through HockeyTV.