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Pakulak, Airey, Kesselring named NAPA Auto Parts 3 Stars of the Week

Photo credit: Garrett James Photography

Vernon Vipers forward Luke Pakulak, Cranbrook Bucks goaltender Nathan Airey and Chilliwack Chiefs forward Mason Kesselring have been named the NAPA Auto Parts 3 Stars of the Week.

1st Star – Luke Pakulak (F) – Vernon Vipers

Pakulak led all BCHL players in goals scored last week with four in two Vipers wins over the weekend.

On Friday night at home against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, the recent Bentley University commit scored his first of the game on a power play late in the opening period to give his team a 2-1 edge, then potted the eventual game-winner early in the second frame in Vernon’s 5-2 victory. He was named first star of the game.

The two teams met again on Saturday, this time in Salmon Arm, and the result for Pakulak was the same. The 19-year-old scored twice, once in the first and again in the second, to help Vernon to a 4-3 overtime win, their third straight victory and their sixth straight contest with at least a point. Pakulak was once again named the game’s first star.

The Surrey, B.C. product now leads his team in goals with 10 on the year and is tied for the Vipers lead in points with 22 in 23 games.

2nd Star – Nathan Airey (G) – Cranbrook Bucks

In two starts at home last week, Airey earned a pair of victories and finished with a league-best .959 save percentage among goalies with at least two games played, after stopping 70 of the 73 shots he faced.

Airey saw 36 shots on Friday night against the West Kelowna Warriors, but managed to swat aside 34 of them, including 14 saves in the third period alone, guiding the Bucks to a 4-2 victory.

On Saturday, the 19-year-old was in net again, this time against the Penticton Vees, and stopped 36 of 37 shots to secure the 4-1 win and first star of the game honours.

Airey has now won five straight starts and has let in two goals or less in six straight contests. He carries a 13-6-1 record on the season, with a .930 save percentage, second best in the league, and a 2.40 goals-against average, which is fourth best in the BCHL.

3rd Star – Mason Kesselring (F) – Chilliwack Chiefs

Kesselring was Mr. Clutch for the Chiefs last week with two of his three goals being overtime game-winners. He also added an assist for four points in three contests.

In Chilliwack’s midweek matchup against the Surrey Eagles, Kesselring gave the Chiefs a 2-0 lead midway through the first period, then after the Eagles forced overtime, he scored the winner 1:35 into the extra frame to give his team a 4-3 win. He was named first star of the game.

The 18-year-old chipped in with an assist in the Chiefs 4-1 road loss to the Langley Rivermen on Friday, before playing hero again on Saturday against the Victoria Grizzlies. After the Chiefs came all the way back from being down 3-0 at home to force extra time, Kesselring scored his second overtime winner of the week less than two minutes in to clinch the 4-3 win.

The Manchester, N.H. native is up to 22 points on the year, second most on the team, and leads the Chiefs with 11 goals in 25 games.


Honourable mentions:

Trail Smoke Eaters F Mathieu Cobetto-Roy: 2GP – 1G – 3A – 4PTS
Nanaimo Clippers F Jeremie Payant: 2GP – 2G – 2A – 4PTS
Nanaimo Clippers F Willyam Gendron: 2GP – 3G – 3PTS
Prince George Spruce Kings F Ty Gagno: 2GP – 2G – 2A – 4PTS
Prince George Spruce Kings F John Herrington: 2GP – 2G – 2A – 4PTS
Wenatchee Wild F Ean Somoza: 2GP – 1G – 3A – 4PTS
Langley Rivermen G Ajeet Gundarah: 2GP – 1W – .954 SV% – 1.49 GAA
Merritt Centennials G Conor Sullivan: 1GP – 1W – 1 SO – 1.000 SV% – 0.00 GAA