There’s no doubt that the best reward the Fairbanks Ice Dogs’ will receive this week is finally returning home to Alaska. Still, it was nice for them to pick up some hardware on the way home.
The NAHL unveiled their Stars of the Week and Players of the Month with a few familiar names showing up on the list. Most notable, forward Austin Becker was named Midwest Division Star of the Week. This is the first time Becker has won the award this season, but he’s the third Ice Dog to win the award in the past five weeks, joining Laker Aldridge and Bret Link.
Becker, 20, helped Fairbanks go 2-1 against the division-leading Minnesota Magicians last week with his outstanding play. The 5-foot-10, 185 pounds. native of Amery, Wisconsin had five points and was +3 for the Dogs this past week. Becker picked up a goal and an assist in Fairbanks’ 6-2 win over the Magicians on Thursday before picking up a goal in Friday’s 3-2 loss. In the 5-3 win for the Dogs on Saturday, Becker contributed a goal and one assist. Becker is second on the team in scoring this season with 26 points in 38 games.
“Austin has provided some much-needed scoring and toughness to our lineup,” head coach Trevor Stewart said. “He has put himself on the radar to be an NCAA Division I player as he continues to help our team.”
While Becker was the only Ice Dogs who collected and award this past week, he wasn’t the only one who earned a shout out.
Defender Jasper Lester was named Honorable Mention Star of the Week for the Midwest Division with his outstanding play against Minnesota. Lester had one assist in each game last week for three points. Lester, a 6-foot-0, 180-pounds, 20-year-old from Colorado Springs, had 18 points in 38 games this season with 5 goals and 13 assists.
No Ice Dog collected a monthly award, but a few still saw their names honored for their solid work in March. Link was named Honorable Mention for the Bauer Hockey NAHL Forward of the Month. Link was named Midwest Division Star of the Week two weeks ago and has 33 points in 39 games this season.
Also earning Honorable Mention was defender Andrew Garby, who earned the recognition for the Bauer Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month. Garby, who recently committed to Army at West Point, has 19 points in 36 games this season.
Finally, goalie Ryan Keyes was named Honorable Mention for the Vaughn NAHL Goaltender of the Month. Keyes has a save percentage of .878% this season. In 15 games played, he has allowed 3.64 goals per game and has a record of 6-7.
Once again, though, the greatest award the team could earn this week is finally returning to Fairbanks. The Ice Dogs will take this week to practice and recover, play in Kenai next week, and finally host their first home game in Fairbanks the week after.
Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-7530 or follow him at twitter.com/hpisani91.