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3 Stars of the Week: April 13-19, 2015

by Emerald Gao / Chicago Blackhawks

Each Monday, the Blackhawks Blog will highlight prospects who stood out for their minor-league, junior, college, or European teams in the previous week’s action. All prospect stats will be updated weekly throughout the 2014-15 season.

(Brandon Anderson/Muskegon Lumberjacks)

1st Star: RW Matheson Iacopelli, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
The Line: 3GP, 4G, 1A

Iacopelli, Chicago’s third-round draft pick in 2014, got off to a great start in the USHL playoffs, tallying four goals and one assist in Muskegon’s first three games against Youngstown, including the Game 1 overtime winner last Wednesday. Last season’s leading goal-scorer paces the league in playoff scoring so far and shares third in points. Iacopelli finished his second USHL season notched 37 points (23G, 14A) in 56 regular-season games with the Lumberjacks, who lead 2-1 in their first-round series, with Game 4 to be played on Monday evening.

(Photo courtesy Rockford IceHogs)

2nd Star: G Michael Leighton, Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
The Line: 2-0-0, 47 saves on 51 shots

Leighton won his final two starts of the regular season, making 21 saves on 22 shots in a 5-1 win over Charlotte on Wednesday and stopping 26 of 29 in a 4-3 win over Chicago on Friday. The 33-year-old earned the IceHogs Most Valuable Player Award after finishing the campaign with a 22-13-4-2 record, 2.26 goals-against average and .920 save percentage, including five shutouts; Leighton shares second all-time in the AHL with 41 career blankings.

(Photo courtesy Rockford IceHogs)

3rd Star: C Tanner Kero, Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
The Line: 3GP, 3G, four-game scoring streak

Kero extended his scoring streak to four games with a goal in each of Rockford’s three outings last week; the 22-year-old now has five goals in his first six AHL games after joining the team in early April. Kero, a 2015 Hobey Baker Award nominee, recently finished his senior season with a team-leading 46 points (20G, 26A) for Michigan Tech in the WCHA.

Honorable mentions: LW Jack Ramsey, Penticton Vees (BCHL); C Cody Bass, Rockford (AHL)

Ramsey helped Penticton wrap up a championship season in the BCHL, collecting three assists in the final four games of the Fred Page Cup Final against the Nanaimo Clippers. The 2014 seventh-round pick finished the postseason with nine points (3G, 6A) in 22 games after compiling 38 points in 54 regular-season tilts, while serving as an alternate captain with the Vees.

Bass capped off the regular season with four points in two games for Rockford last week. He logged a goal on Wednesday against Charlotte, then posted three points (2G, 1A) — including the game-winner — in Friday’s win over Chicago. Bass had 14 points and led the team with 165 penalty minutes in 61 games this season.

Around the system:

  • Goaltender Anders Nilsson made 21 saves on 22 shots to win Game 3 of the Gagarin Cup Final against SKA St. Petersberg, but AK Bars Kazan dropped the next two games and fell 4-1 in the series. Nilsson finished the postseason with a 13-7 record, ranked first among league goaltenders with a 1.54 GAA and ranked fifth with a .935 SV%.

  • Ryan Hartman picked up two helpers in his last three regular-season games for Rockford... Mark McNeill tallied the game-winner against Charlotte for his team-high 23rd goal of the season... Alex Broadhurst notched a goal and an assist in Friday’s win over Chicago; he collected 12 points (6G, 6A) in 14 games to close out the campaign after missing four months with a fractured arm.

  • Defenseman Viktor Svedberg posted a three-game assist streak to close out the regular season; he set career highs in goals (3), assists (11), points and games played (49) in 2014-15... Stephen Johns recorded two assists in three games last week for the IceHogs, in addition to logging his fourth fighting major of the year. The 2010 second-round pick ended his first professional season with 21 points (4G, 17A) in 51 games.
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