BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Jan. 3, 2019 – With the third month of the 2018-19 campaign completed, the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) is proud to recognize four student-athletes as its WCHA Players of the Month. The honorees for December 2018 are: Bowling Green State University junior Lukas Craggs (Forward), Lake Superior State University junior Collin Saccoman (Defenseman), BGSU junior Ryan Bednard (Goaltender) and Ferris State University freshman defenseman Cooper Zech (Rookie).
Lukas Craggs, Jr., Bowling Green (Elmhurst, Ill.)
Craggs enjoyed a sensational December for Bowling Green, leading the country with six goals (tied), three game-winning markers and a plus-9 rating as the eighth-ranked Falcons went undefeated at 5-0-1. He also added a pair of assists to tie for fourth in the WCHA with eight points (tied for sixth nationally).
The junior from Elmhurst, Ill. opened the month with consecutive game-winners in the Falcons' road sweep at Alabama Huntsville (Dec. 1-2), part of a three-goal weekend. Craggs had a three-point effort (1g-2a) in a 4-3, overtime road victory at Ferris State on Dec. 8, before capping the month with a second two-goal contest. That multi-goal outburst included the game-winner as BGSU defeated Minnesota State, 4-1 on Dec. 15 to finish a two-game sweep of the then-No. 3 Mavericks.
Craggs opens the New Year with 12 goals this season, tied for second in the WCHA and fourth in the NCAA. He also has a league-best plus-17 rating (tied for the second-best mark nationally). This is Craggs' first career WCHA monthly award.
Honorable Mention: Diego Cuglietta, Sr., Lake Superior State (tied for the league and NCAA lead with six goals and added two assists, while he lit the lamp four times in two games en route to Great Lakes Invitational MVP honors for the champion Lakers); Corey Mackin, Sr., Ferris State (also tied for the WCHA and national lead with six goals, including a league-best three power-play markers, and added two assists).
Collin Saccoman, Jr., Lake Superior State (Stillwater, Minn.)
Saccoman earned his second-consecutive monthly honor with a solid all-around December. The junior from Stillwater, Minn. tied for third among WCHA defensemen with an average of 1.00 points per game, contributing a goal and an assist in five contests. He also ranked fourth with 17 blocked shots and was tied for fifth with a plus-5 rating, helping Lake Superior State go 4-1-0 last month.
After contributing three points (1g-2a) to the Lakers' league road sweep at Alaska on Dec. 7-8., Saccoman earned All-Tournament Team honors at the 54th Great Lakes Invitational. LSSU's assistant captain compiled a NCAA-best 11 blocked shots over the two games, while adding two assists as the Lakers defeated Michigan State and Michigan Tech to earn their first-ever GLI title.
The back-to-back honors mark Saccoman's first two career WCHA monthly awards.
Honorable Mention: Philip Beaulieu, Jr., Northern Michigan (led the WCHA with 1.00 assists per game, tallying four helpers in four contests as the Wildcats went 3-1-0).
Ryan Bednard, Jr., Bowling Green (Macomb, Mich.)
Bednard helped Bowling Green climb to eighth in the national polls and second in the WCHA standings with a 3-0-1 month, all in league play. The junior from Macomb, Mich. tied for second in the league in December wins, was second with a 1.72 goals-against average and fifth with a .931 save percentage.
The Florida Panthers product opened the month with 26 stops in a 6-2 road win at Alabama Huntsville (Dec. 1) and 21 saves in a 3-3 draw at Ferris state (Dec. 8). Bednard was then brilliant in the Falcons' sweep of then-No. 3 Minnesota State on Dec. 14-15, holding what was then the nation's second-ranked offense to just two goals on the weekend. BGSU's goalie turned aside 46-of-48 shots against the Mavericks, vaulting the Falcons into second place in the WCHA heading into the season's second half.
This is Bednard's first WCHA monthly award of the 2018-19 season and his second career honor.
Honorable Mention: Robbie Beydoun, So., Michigan Tech (led WCHA goaltenders in league games with a 1.01 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage, part of a month in which he posted solid 1.78 and .934 marks overall); Nick Kossoff, Sr., Lake Superior State (was undefeated in December, going 4-0-0 with a 2.22 goals-against average, a .915 save percentage and one Great Lakes Invitational championship); Atte Tolvanen, Sr., Northern Michigan (tied for second in the WCHA with three wins, posting a 2.31 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage as the Wildcats went 3-1-0).
Cooper Zech, D, Ferris State (South Lyon, Mich.)
Zech had the best month of his young college career, leading all NCAA rookies with six assists and eight points in seven games. The Ferris State freshman was also second nationally among defensemen in both categories, while he was one of four rookies with a shorthanded goal in December.
A native of South Lyon, Mich., Zech tallied at least one point in five of seven December games, including a trio of multi-point efforts. Zech had a goal and an assist Dec. 1 at Alaska, a two-helper effort Dec. 8 vs. nationally-ranked Bowling Green, and a one-goal, one-assist contest Dec. 28 at Minnesota. His goals both came on special teams, as he paired his shorthanded marker in Fairbanks with a power-play tally against the Gophers.
Zech, the coaches' choice as WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year, enters 2019 leading league freshmen with 13 assists, six power-play helpers, 17 points and eight man-advantage points. This is Zech's first WCHA monthly award of his freshman season.
Honorable Mention: Griffin Loughran, F, Northern Michigan (wrapped up the Wildcats' 3-1-0 month with a career-best two assists and three points in a Dec. 15 victory).