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Blizzard captain wins NAHL Player of the Week

ALEXANDRIA - For the second week in a row, a member of the Alexandria Blizzard has been named Player of the Week in the North American Hockey League's Central Division.

ALEXANDRIA - For the second week in a row, a member of the Alexandria Blizzard has been named Player of the Week in the North American Hockey League's Central Division.

Captain Luke Nesper earned the honor on the strength of a six-point weekend as the Blizzard swept the Southern Minnesota Express in Owatonna. His linemate Mikael Lickteig earned the same honor for his play the week before the holiday break.

On Saturday, Nesper had the game-winning goal and an assist in Alexandria's 3-2 victory over the Express. Sunday, Nesper collected four points in a 9-6 win. He was +3 for the weekend.

"Luke is a very talented offensive player and he showed that last weekend," said Blizzard Coach Brad Willner.

That's an understatement.

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Nesper, Lickteig, and linemate Jerry Freismuth combined for 15 points in two games. Nesper has been on a roll since November 16, collecting at least a point in 11 straight games. Over that stretch, the 20 year old from Eagle River, Wisc., has 11 goals and 12 assists.

With season totals of 15-16-31, Nesper's goals-per-game average leads the division and his points-per-game pace is second only to Shea Walters of North Iowa. At his current pace, Nesper would reach 69 points for the season.

"We're looking forward to big things from him in the second half," Willner said.

In fact, the Blizzard are depending on big things from their top two lines. The Garrett Grimsted - Brandon Bahnemann - Noah Nemgar combination has given Alexandria two reliable scoring trios. The contributions of the Pavel Zurek - Jascha Pettit - Kyle Clement unit has been a bonus.

"We're just gelling," Freismuth said of the Blizzard's number one unit. "Those guys make it easy out there and it's working out well. The thing is, we can't get big heads. We have to keep working."

The Blizzard will attempt to extend their streak Friday and Saturday in Bismarck. By winning six of seven games in December, Alexandria is back in the playoff chase.

The Bobcats are coming off two shellackings at the hands of Fargo-Moorhead in which they were outscored 14-1. Bismarck is 2-6-0 since a four-game sweep of the Blizzard in November.

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