CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – The United States Hockey League (“USHL”) announced Monday that Ales Stezka has been named CCM/USHL Goaltender of the Week for the period ending Sept. 25, 2016. Stezka, 19, recorded a 24-save shutout in the Steel’s 4-0 Opening Night victory Saturday against the Green Bay Gamblers.
11 of Stezka’s 24 saves came in the third period of Chicago’s lone Week 1 game, including some highlight-reel stops to keep the Gamblers blanked on the scoreboard.
Stezka is the first goaltender to win the award this season. The Fargo Force’s Blake Lizotte (Forward) and Clayton Phillips (Defenseman) were also given Week 1 honors.
Chicago acquired the 6-foot-4, 191-pound netminder in a July trade with the Sioux Falls Stampede. Stezka was a fourth-round selection (111th overall) of the Minnesota Wild in the 2015 NHL Draft. Last season, his first in North America, Stezka appeared in 19 games as a USHL rookie with Sioux Falls, registering a 6-10-1-0 record, including one shutout, with a 3.32 GAA and .893 save percentage. Prior to the 2015-2016 season, Stezka competed in his home country of the Czech Republic, whom he represented in net for one game at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland.
Chicago players earned Player of the Week awards seven times in the 2015-2016 season, including goaltenders Daniel Vladar (2) and John Lethemon; forwards Jack Gessert and Tanner Laczynski, and defensemen Karlis Cukste and Ruslan Rakhmatov.
The Steel head downstate to Bloomington on Friday for a road game at the Thunder, then return home Saturday, Oct. 1 to host the defending Eastern Conference Champion Dubuque Fighting Saints. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., and the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a complimentary magnet schedule. For more information or to purchase tickets visit the Steel box office inside Fox Valley Ice Arena, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.