BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Dec. 3, 2018 – Following Week 9 of the 2018-19 season, the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) is proud to recognize four student-athletes as its Players of the Week. The honorees for games of Nov. 30 – Dec. 2, 2018 are: University of Alaska Fairbanks juniors Kylar Hope (Forward) and Tristan Thompson (Defenseman), Minnesota State University freshman Dryden McKay (Goaltender) and Ferris State University freshman defenseman Cooper Zech (Rookie).
Kylar Hope, Jr., Alaska (Lashburn, Saskatchewan)
Hope registered one goal and three assists, tying for the WCHA scoring lead with four points and helping Alaska to its first sweep of the season with a pair of victories over Ferris State. The junior from Lashburn, Saskatchewan had the primary assist on Steven Jandric's overtime winner in Friday's 4-3 victory, then had a three-point effort in Saturday's 6-2 triumph. Hope also ranked fourth in the league with a plus-4 rating, just behind a trio of teammates at plus-5. This is Hope's first career WCHA weekly award.
Honorable Mention: Thomas Beretta, Jr., Michigan Tech (scored a power-play goal each night, helping the now-No. 20 Huskies to a five-point weekend vs. Bemidji State); Charlie Combs, So., Bemidji State (scored twice Friday, including the game-tying goal with 5:32 remaining in regulation, helping the Beavers to a road tie at now-No. 20 Michigan Tech); Lukas Craggs, Jr., Bowling Green (tied for the WCHA lead with three goals and tied for the league and NCAA lead with two game-winners, helping the No. 12 Falcons to a road sweep at Alabama Huntsville); Diego Cuglietta, Sr., Lake Superior State (led the nation with 39 faceoff wins, while he scored both Lakers goals Friday against now-No. 3 Minnesota State); Walker Duehr, So., Minnesota State (scored his first career game-winner, part of a two-goal effort Friday, helping the now-No. 3 Mavericks to a win and sweep at then-No. 20 Lake Superior State).
Tristan Thompson, Jr., Alaska (Canmore, Alberta)
Thompson tied for the overall WCHA scoring lead with four points – tied for the second-most nationally among defensemen – posting two goals and two assists in Alaska's sweep of Ferris State. The junior from Canmore, Alberta had consecutive multi-point games, contributing a goal and an assist to Friday's 4-3, overtime victory and Saturday's 6-2 triumph. Thompson scored on half of his four shots, while also contributing a pair of blocks and a plus-3 rating to the Nanooks' first sweep of the season. This is Thompson's first career WCHA weekly award.
Honorable Mention: Eric Gotz, Fr., Michigan Tech (scored a goal and added two assists against Bemidji State, helping the now-No. 20 Huskies earn five league points); Connor Mackey, So., Minnesota State (had two points, three shots on goal, a block and was plus-2, helping the now-No. 3 Mavericks to a road sweep at then-No. 20 Lake Superior State); Adam Smith, Sr., Bowling Green (scored his first goal of the season, netting the game-winner Saturday to help the No. 12 Falcons to a road sweep at Alabama Huntsville).
Dryden McKay, Fr., Minnesota State (Downers Grove, Ill.)
McKay backstopped now-No. 3 Minnesota State to a road sweep at then-No. 20 Lake Superior State, leading WCHA goaltenders that made two starts in wins (tied with two), goals-against average (1.01), save percentage (.951) and shutouts (one). The freshman from Downers Grove, Ill. capped the weekend with his first collegiate shutout, a 23-save effort (including six stops on the penalty kill) in the Mavericks' 3-0 victory. In Friday's series-opening, 4-2 triumph, McKay turned aside 16-of-18 shots. This is McKay's second WCHA weekly award of his freshman season.
Honorable Mention: Gustavs Grigals, Fr., Alaska (tied for the WCHA lead with two wins and topped league goalies with 56 saves and 120:21 in net, backstopping the Nanooks to their first sweep of the season); Matt Jurusik, Jr., Michigan Tech (stopped 26-of-28 shots in his lone start, helping the now-No. 20 Huskies to a 7-2 win Saturday over Bemidji State); Mareks Mitens, So., Lake Superior State (stopped 20-of-22 shots in his lone start, a narrow 3-0 loss to now-No. 3 Minnesota State on Saturday).
Cooper Zech, D, Ferris State (South Lyon, Mich.)
Zech had a fantastic weekend during Ferris State's series at Alaska, tying for the WCHA's overall scoring lead with a league rookie-best four points. He also tied for second nationally among both freshmen and defensemen following his two-goal, two-assist series. The native of South Lyon, Mich. had a goal and an assist in both games, including the game-tying marker with 4:48 remaining that sent Friday's contest to overtime. Zech added eight shots on goal and two blocked shots, while he had an even plus/minus rating despite the Bulldogs dropping both games. This is Zech's first WCHA weekly award of his freshman season.
Honorable Mention: Alec Broetzman, F, Michigan Tech (had a two-goal, one-assist weekend, helping the now-No. 20 Huskies earn five league points against Bemidji State); Gustavs Grigals, Fr., Alaska (tied for the WCHA lead with two wins and topped league goalies with 56 saves and 120:21 in net, backstopping the Nanooks to their first sweep of the season); Owen Sillinger, F, Bemidji State (had an assist on the Beavers' tying goal Friday and scored his own marker Saturday at now-No. 20 Michigan Tech).