EDINA, Minn. – March 1, 2017 – A pair of goaltenders, one of which enjoyed an historic run and both of whom helped their teams to the league postseason, have earned men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) monthly honors for February 2017. For their efforts, Northern Michigan sophomore goaltender Atte Tolvanen was named Player of the Month and Ferris State freshman goaltender Justin Kapelmaster garnered Rookie of the Month honors.
Atte Tolvanen, So., G
Northern Michigan (Vihti, Finland)
Tolvanen opened February with an historic run and, while his record-setting scoreless streak eventually ended, he rebounded to backstop Northern Michigan into the 2017 WCHA Playoffs. The sophomore from Vihti, Finland posted four-consecutive shutouts to open the month, part of a run of five-straight clean sheets that set the WCHA record and tied the all-time NCAA Division I men's mark. He also set a WCHA standard with a 339:05 scoreless streak, the second-longest in NCAA men's annals.
A full 243:23 of his record-breaking scoreless run came during February, as Tolvanen posted four-straight games of 35-plus saves. In fact, his streak of excellence is even more impressive when considering he did it with the NCAA's toughest workload; Tolvanen led the NCAA in both saves (300) and shots faced (318). His .943 save percentage ranked fourth nationally, while he tied for eighth with five wins and was tops with his four shutouts.
A two-time WCHA Defensive Player of the Week during February, Tolvanen made at least 30 saves in seven-of-eight games, while topping 40 on three occasions. He wrapped up the month with a 38-save effort in the Wildcats' 5-3 win at Michigan Tech in the regular season finale, a win that helped propel Northern Michigan into the WCHA's postseason tournament. This is Tolvanen's second career WCHA monthly honor, as he also earned Rookie of the Month accolades in October 2015.
Honorable Mention: Gerald Mayhew, Sr., F, Ferris State (tallied a team-high seven points on two goals and five assists, including a point in five-of-six games, to help the Bulldogs to a 4-1-1 month); Chris Nell, Jr., G, Bowling Green (backstopped the Falcons to postseason home ice by posting a 0.61 goals-against average and .978 save percentage during an excellent month, one which wrapped up with three-straight shutouts and a school-record – and active – 207:31 scoreless streak).
Justin Kapelmaster, Fr., G
Ferris State (Coral Springs, Fla.)
Kapelmaster helped spark a late charge by Ferris State, as the Bulldogs compiled a 4-1-1 mark in February to take the race for postseason home ice down to the final night. The freshman from Coral Springs, Fla. posted a 3-1-0 record, while compiling 97 saves, a 2.75 goals-against average and a .898 save percentage. He opened the month with 39 saves in a 3-2 road triumph at Michigan Tech, then backstopped the Bulldogs to a 2-1, series opening victory over Alaska Anchorage on Feb. 17. Kapelmaster wrapped up the month with a 6-4 road win at Lake Superior State on the season's penultimate night, making 26 stops against the Lakers.
The rookie tied for third among WCHA goaltenders with his three wins, an effort that garnered Kapelmaster his first career WCHA monthly award.
Honorable Mention: Darien Craighead, Fr., F, Northern Michigan (led WCHA rookies and tied for sixth nationally with 10 points – including eight during a current six-game point streak – while contributing two goals and eight assists to the Wildcats' run to the WCHA Playoffs).