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February 28, 2012
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UMD's Brown, UM's Schmidt and Rau, UW's Simonelli Named Red Baron® WCHA Men's Players of the Week
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Red Baron® WCHA
Offensive Player of the Week

J.T. Brown - Sophomore, Forward
University of Minnesota Duluth

photoUniversity of Minnesota Duluth right winger J.T. Brown, who produced three points, both game-winning goals and 19 shots on goal to help propel the Bulldogs to a key two-game conference sweep of Colorado College last weekend, has been named the Red Baron® WCHA Offensive Player of the Week for February 28. Brown also earned the weekly honor on Feb. 7.

A 5-10, 170-pound sophomore from Burnsville, Minn., Brown returned to the Minnesota Duluth lineup last Friday (Feb. 24) after being sidelined the previous two games with an upper body injury and proceeded to strike 3:00 into overtime for the game-winning goal in a 4-3 Bulldog triumph over the visiting Tigers. He then scored once the next night (Feb. 25), netting another game-winner in the second period, and assisted on another as UMD completed the sweep over CC, 5-2. In addition, Brown put 19 shots on goal in the series, including a UMD 2011-12 single-game high 10 last Saturday, was a +2, and was an integral part of a power-play unit which went 4-of-8 in the two-game series.

Brown ranks first in the country with a +27 plus/minus rating, is tied for second in league scoring with 35 points (17g, 18a), and is tied for fifth in scoring overall among WCHA players with 42 points (20g, 22a).

Also nominated: Chris Knowlton, F, DU; Alex MacLeod, F, MTU; Kyle Rau, F, UM; Danny Kristo, F, UND; Justin Schultz, D, UW.

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Red Baron® WCHA
Co-Defensive Players of the Week

Nate Schmidt - So, D, Minnesota
Frankie Simonelli - So., D, Wisconsin

photoA pair of defensemen who played key roles at both ends of the ice while leading their respective teams to two-game conference road sweeps last weekend – Nate Schmidt of the University of Minnesota and Frankie Simonelli of the University of Wisconsin – are Red Baron® WCHA co-Defensive Players of the Week for February 28.

Schmidt, a 5-11, 194-pound sophomore from St. Cloud, Minn., assisted on three of Minnesota's six goals last weekend at Nebraska Omaha as the Gophers won 3-2 each night and became the first team to sweep UNO at home in the regular season since Jan. 11-12, 2008. Schmidt's lengthy tape-to-tape pass to Sam Warning was the only assist on Warning's goal as Minnesota jumped out to a 1-0 lead against the Mavericks on Friday. On Saturday, with Minnesota trailing 1-0, Schmidt assisted on both goals that gave the Gophers a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period. Schmidt was on the ice for four of Minnesota's six goals last weekend and was on the ice for only one goal against (UNO's shorthanded goal on Friday). He also blocked a team-high five shots on the weekend.

Simonelli, a 5-10, 195-pound sophomore from Bensenville, Ill., was a key player in Wisconsin's first road sweep of the season, collecting a goal and two assists for three points while going +4 as the Badgers won twice over WCHA rival Bemidji State by 4-2 scores. Last Friday, Simonelli scored his fifth goal of the season, tying the game at 1-1 early in the second period, and took three shots in the game. On Saturday, Simonelli was again +2, collecting two assists with the primary helper on UW's second goal, which tied the game at 2-2. He also helped set up UW's fourth goal, an empty-net tally, and took two shots in the game.

Also nominated: Joey LaLeggia, D, DU

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Red Baron® WCHA
Rookie of the Week

Kyle Rau - Freshman, Forward
University of Minnesota

photoKyle Rau, a left winger at the University of Minnesota, has been named the Red Baron® WCHA Rookie of the Week for February 28. Rau also earned the rookie honor back on Oct. 18 and Feb. 21.

A 5-8, 175-pound freshman from Eden Prairie, Minn., Rau had another three-point weekend as Minnesota swept WCHA foe Nebraska Omaha on the road. He had the primary assist on Nick Bjugstad's third period, game-tying goal last Friday, which Minnesota eventually won 3-2 in overtime – the Gophers' second win of the season after trailing entering the third period. Then last Saturday, Rau scored two power-play goals – including the game-winner – as UM clipped the Mavericks 3-2. Rau was involved in three of his team's six goals in the series as the Gophers became the first team to sweep UNO at home in the regular season since Jan. 11-12, 2008.

Rau, who ranks second among league rookies in overall scoring with 34 points (16g, 18), is tied for second in the nation with a +23 rating, leads Minnesota with six game-winning goals and is tied for first on the team with seven power-play goals.

Also nominated: Aaron Harstad, D, CC; Juho Olkinuora, G, DU; Blake Pietila, F, MTU.