The first Pizza 73 AJHL Player of the Week for 2022 is Ethan Strang of the Grande Prairie Storm. With nine points (5G, 4A) in four games, Strang led the Storm to three wins on a South Division road trip to start January.
Strang (Cochrane, AB) picked up two Viterra AJHL Star of the Game selections as he compiled a four-game point streak last week. On January 4th, Strang earned an assist in a 5-2 win over the Calgary Canucks. The Storm would fall 7-1 to the Brooks Bandits the following night with Ethan scoring the lone goal for Grande Prairie and also earning the Star of the Game award. Grande Prairie bounced back with a 5-3 win in Drumheller on January 7th in a three-point (1G, 2A) game for Strang. The road trip concluded on January 9th with a 6-2 victory over the Olds Grizzlys and four-point performance by Strang, including his third hat trick of the season and fourth game winning goal.
Strang, 20, is in his fourth season with the Storm and is second in team scoring with 42 points (25G, 17A), which ranks him in the Top 20 of the AJHL Scoring Race.
For the fourth time this season, the Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Defensive Player of the Week is Zach Bookman of the Brooks Bandits. Over five games from December 29th, 2021 to January 9th, 2022, the rookie defenceman tallied 13 points (2G, 11A).
Zach Bookman, 19, closed out 2021 with a four-point game on New Year’s Eve with four assists in a 6-3 win versus the Blackfalds Bulldogs and was selected as the Viterra AJHL Star of the Game. The New Year opened with a 13-0 shutout of the Calgary Canucks and another four-point game for Bookman (1G, 3A). On January 5th, Zach added two assists versus the Grande Prairie Storm in a 7-1 Bandit victory.
Bookman set a new team record for most points in a single season by a defenceman with 76 on January 7th, passing Cale Makar and Dennis Cesana who previously had 75-point seasons. He scored a goal and two assists in the record breaking night, which saw the Bandits defeat the Bonnyville Pontiacs 8-3, and was awarded with his 5th Viterra AJHL Star of the Game selection. Bookman leads all AJHL defenceman in scoring and is third overall in the AJHL with 77 points (18G, 59A).
Bookman has been listed 208th among North American Skaters on the NHL Central Scouting Mid-Season Rankings ahead of the 2022 NHL Draft. He is committed to Merrimack College of the NCAA Division I.
Okotoks Oilers forward Rieger Lorenz is the Inter Pipeline AJHL Rookie of the Week for the third time this season. The 17-year-old recorded nine points (5G, 4A) in five games played and holds fourth place in the AJHL Scoring Race with 63 points (26G, 37A).
Rieger Lorenz ended 2021 with his second AJHL hat trick in a four-point game and 10-0 shutout of the Calgary Canucks on New Year’s Eve. He was rewarded with his 8th Viterra AJHL Star of the Game award in what was his fourth four-point game of the season. Rieger was later named the Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Player of the Month for December 2021.
On New Year’s Day, the Canmore Eagles defeated the Oilers with Lorenz scoring a goal in the 3-2 final. Okotoks would suffer a second loss on January 3rd in a 5-1 game versus the Camrose Kodiaks, which saw Lorenz with the only Oiler goal, before taking revenge on the Eagles with a 3-1 win on January 7th. The rookie added two assists in the win then recorded his 37th assist of the season the following night in a tight 4-3 victory over the Brooks Bandits.
Lorenz is the highest-ranked AJHL player on the 2022 NHL Central Scouting Mid-Season Rankings at #24 among North American skaters. The Calgary, AB native is committed to the University of Denver (NCAA Division I).
Pizza 73 AJHL Player of the Week Recipients:
Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Defensive Player of the Week:
Inter Pipeline AJHL Rookie of the Week:
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