BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Jan. 29, 2018 – Following another weekend in which several teams made significant moves in the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) standings, the WCHA Players of the Week for games of Jan. 23-27, 2018 are: Bowling Green senior Tyler Spezia (Offensive), Ferris State juniors Ryker Killins (Defensive) and Darren Smith (Goaltender), and Bowling Green freshman forward Brandon Kruse (Rookie).
Tyler Spezia, Sr.
Bowling Green (Clinton Township, Mich.)
Tyler Spezia helped now-No. 14 Bowling Green to a key league road sweep at Lake Superior State, factoring in both game-winning goals, posting consecutive multi-point contests and tying for the WCHA lead with four points overall. The senior from Clinton Township, Mich. scored the Falcons' third goal in the decisive second period of Friday's 5-3 win, in addition to assisting on Brandon Kruse' game-winning marker just five minutes prior. Saturday night, Spezia enjoyed his second career multi-goal effort, scoring twice in the first period – including the game-winner – in a 3-2 BGSU triumph. With the victories, the Falcons passed idle Minnesota State and moved into second place in the WCHA standings, while remaining three points behind Northern Michigan. This is Spezia's first WCHA weekly award of the 2017-18 season and his second career honor, as he also earned a Rookie of the Week accolade during the 2014-15 campaign.
Honorable Mention: Alec Butcher, Sr., F, Alaska Anchorage (tied for the WCHA scoring lead with four points, tallying three goals and an assist against now-No. 19 Northern Michigan); Madison Dunn, Jr., Alabama Huntsville (tied for the WCHA lead with a plus-5 rating, while he posted his first career three-point game with two goals and an assist in the Chargers' 5-1 win Friday over Bemidji State); Troy Loggins, Jr., Northern Michigan (scored the game-winning goal Friday, then tied his career highs with two goals and three points Saturday as the now-No. 19 Wildcats swept host Alaska Anchorage); Parker Tuomie, So., Minnesota State (scored the lone goal in the No. 7 Mavericks' 1-0 nonconference victory over No. 9 Minnesota Duluth).
Ryker Killins, Jr.
Ferris State (Wawa, Ontario)
Killins tied for the WCHA overall scoring lead, factored in both game-winning goals and was the second-highest scoring defenseman in the NCAA last week, tallying four points as Ferris State swept visiting Michigan Tech. The junior from Wawa, Ontario scored two power-play goals in the second period Friday, including the tie-breaking, game-winner late in the frame that gave the Bulldogs a 4-3 win. Killins also picked up a power-play helper Friday, before assisting on Coale Norris's game-winner Saturday in a 3-1 Ferris State victory. He finished the weekend with a league-best three power-play points, while adding two blocked shots and a plus-1 rating. This is Killins' second career WCHA weekly award, both of which have come this season.
Honorable Mention: Justin Baudry, Jr., Bemidji State (scored two goals, including the game-winner, in the Beavers' 5-1 win Saturday at Alabama Huntsville); Philip Beaulieu, So., Northern Michigan (tallied a pair of assists in the now-No. 19 Wildcats' 5-3 win Saturday at Alaska Anchorage, finishing the weekend with a plus-2).
Darren Smith, Jr.
Ferris State (Barrie, Ontario)
Smith backstopped Ferris State to a league sweep of Michigan Tech, leading all WCHA goaltenders that made two starts with a .938 save percentage, 61 saves (tied), goals-against average (2.00) and wins (two). The junior from Barrie, Ontario made 35 saves in Friday night's one-goal victory, including turning aside all 16 shots he faced in the third period to preserve the 4-3 final. Saturday night, Smith pitched a shutout for the first 53:09 and finished with 26 stops in a 3-1 triumph. This is Smith's first WCHA weekly award of the 2017-18 season and his seventh career honor (he earned one Defensive award and five Rookie of the Week accolades as a freshman in 2015-16).
Honorable Mention: Connor LaCouvee, Sr., Minnesota State (stopped all 15 shots he faced in the No. 7 Mavericks' 1-0, nonconference win over No. 9 Minnesota Duluth); Atte Tolvanen, Jr., Northern Michigan (helped the now-No. 19 Wildcats to a road sweep at Alaska Anchorage, making 38 saves); Jordan Uhelski, Sr., Alabama Huntsville (tied for the WCHA lead with 61 saves, while posting a .924 save percentage as the Chargers split with visiting Bemidji State).
Brandon Kruse, Fr., F
Bowling Green (Saline, Mich.)
Kruse repeats as Rookie of the Week after tying for the NCAA freshman scoring lead with four points, also tied for the overall WCHA lead, as now-No. 14 Bowling Green swept host Lake Superior State. The Saline, Mich. native scored the game-winning marker in Friday night's 5-3 win, before assisting on all three Falcons goals in Saturday's 3-2 triumph. Kruse was the whole assisting player on BGSU's first goal, he picked up the primary helper on the second marker and was a secondary assister on the Falcons' third (and eventual game-winning) goal. With back-to-back wins, Kruse now has two career WCHA weekly awards.
Honorable Mention: Robert Fosdick, Fr., D, Northern Michigan (posted an assist Friday, then scored the game-winner for his first collegiate goal Saturday, helping the now-No. 19 Wildcats to a road sweep at Alaska Anchorage); Aaron Miller, Fr., F, Bemidji State (had a hand in three of the Beavers' six goals in Huntsville, scoring two goals with an assist in a series split); Coale Norris, Fr., F, Ferris State (tallied two goals and an assist, helping the Bulldogs sweep Michigan Tech).