EDINA, Minn. – Oct. 24, 2016 – A trio of underclassmen played starring roles this past weekend to earn men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week recognition for games of Oct. 21-22, 2016. The honorees are: Lake Superior State sophomore forward Diego Cuglietta (Offensive Player of the Week), Lake Superior State freshman defenseman Collin Saccoman (Defensive Player of the Week) and Minnesota State freshman forward Nicholas Rivera (Rookie of the Week).
Diego Cuglietta, So., F
Lake Superior State (Kamloops, British Columbia)
Cuglietta tied for the WCHA lead with four points and a +4 rating, while pacing the league (and tying for third nationally) with three goals. The sophomore from Kamloops, British Columbia had a three-point effort in the Lakers' 6-3 win in Friday's series opener at Alabama Huntsville, including the game-winning goal and a short-handed tally within a 2:10 span of the second period. He then helped cap LSSU's road sweep with a highlight-reel, diving goal late in the third period of Saturday's 5-2 triumph. This is Cuglietta's second career WCHA weekly award, as he also earned one Rookie of the Week accolade during his 2015-16 freshman campaign.
Honorable Mention: Corey Mackin, So., F, Ferris State (tallied three points on two goals and an assist, helping the Bulldogs earn two league points against Northern Michigan).
Collin Saccoman, Fr., D
Lake Superior State (Stillwater, Minnesota)
Saccoman, a freshman defenseman, tied for the WCHA lead and tied for second among all NCAA blue-liners with three assists – a big reason why he paced the league (and tied for second nationally) with a +4 rating. The rookie from Stillwater, Minn. picked up an assist on the game-winning goal both nights for Lake Superior State, helping the Lakers to a road sweep at Alabama Huntsville. He also tied for the WCHA lead with six blocked shots on the weekend, excelling on both ends of the ice as LSSU outscored the host Chargers by an 11-5 margin.
Honorable Mention: Brett Beauvais, Jr., D, Bemidji State (recorded a goal and assist, tallying a point each night, as the No. 18 Beavers dropped a pair one-goal decisions at No. 1 North Dakota); Jesse Jenks, So., G, Alaska (in his lone start of the weekend, made 25 saves – including 11 in the third period – to help the Nanooks to a 4-2 win Saturday over No. 9 Minnesota State); Ryan Lowney, Sr., D, Ferris State (had a pair of assists on the weekend, helping the Bulldogs earning two league points).
Nicholas Rivera, Fr., F
Minnesota State (Pacific Palisades, California)
Rivera tied for the NCAA lead among freshmen with four points, scoring a pair of goals with two assists as No. 9 Minnesota State split a series at Alaska. The rookie from Pacific Palisades, Calif. scored his first two collegiate goals – including the game-winner – while also handing out an assist in the Mavericks' 7-1, series-opening win Friday night. On Saturday, he was credited with a helper on a late second-period goal that brought Minnesota State within 3-2 (UAF eventually won, 4-2).
Honorable Mention: Darien Craighead, Fr., F, Northern Michigan (netted two goals and an assist in Northern Michigan's 6-4, comeback win at Ferris State on Friday); Brayden Gelsinger, Fr., F, Lake Superior State (turned in a two-goal game Friday and tallied an assist on the game-winning goal Saturday as the Lakers swept a road series at Alabama Huntsville); Craig Pefley, Rs.-Fr., F, Ferris State (had a goal and assist in a loss Friday, before scoring the shootout winner Saturday to give the Bulldogs the extra league point over Northern Michigan); Alex Smith, Fr., F, Michigan Tech (recorded a goal and assist on the weekend, including the helper on a third-period, tying goal Saturday, as the Huskies earned a tie at No. 11/12 Michigan).