BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Jan. 3, 2018 – A quartet of all-tournament performers, including three from the Great Lakes Invitational champions, highlight the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for games of Dec. 28, 2017 – Jan. 2, 2018. The honorees are: Bowling Green sophomore Lukas Craggs (Offensive), Bowling Green sophomore Alec Rauhauser (Defensive), Lake Superior State junior Nick Kossoff (Goaltender) and Bowling Green freshman goaltender Eric Dop (Rookie).
Lukas Craggs, So.
Bowling Green (Elmhurst, Illinois)
Craggs was named to the All-Tournament Team and earned Most Valuable Player honors for the 53rd Great Lakes Invitational, leading Bowling Green to the title with a tournament-best five points (2g-3a). In a career-best performance, the Elmhurst, Ill. native notched a three-point night against Michigan in the semifinals, helping the Falcons to a 6-4 win with two goals and one assist. Against WCHA foe Michigan Tech in the GLI Championship, Craggs assisted on Connor Ford's game-winning goal that broke a 1-1, second-period stalemate, then set up John Schilling's third-period strike that put BGSU up by two en route to a 4-1 triumph. The sophomore's five points led all WCHA skaters last week, while his plus-4 rating tied for the league lead. This is Craggs' first career WCHA weekly award.
Honorable Mention: Gerry Fitzgerald, Sr., Bemidji State (led the Beavers to a WCHA sweep of Alabama Huntsville with four points and a plus-3 rating); Troy Loggins, Jr., Northern Michigan (tallied three points in a road split at No. 7 Minnesota State, including a goal and assist in the Wildcats' 4-3, Friday-night victory); Jake Lucchini, Jr., F, Michigan Tech (scored in both games of the GLI, while adding an assist for a three-point effort as the Huskies advanced to the championship game); C.J. Suess, Sr., Minnesota State (scored twice, assisted on two other goals and was a plus-4 as the No. 7 Mavericks maintained first place with a split against Northern Michigan).
Alec Rauhauser, So.
Bowling Green (Bismark, N.D.)
Rauhauser earned a spot on the Great Lakes Invitational All-Tournament Team, recording three assists, two blocked shots and a plus-4 rating as Bowling Green hoisted the trophy. The sophomore from Bismark, N.D. tallied a pair of helpers in the semifinal, setting up Tyler Spezia's game-opening goal and feeding freshman Max Johnson for the eventual game-winner in a 6-4 victory over Michigan. In the championship game, Rauhauser again assisted on the game-opening goal, a late first-period strike that launched a 4-1 win over Michigan Tech for the Falcons' first-ever GLI title. Including a goal last Thursday (Dec. 28) against Western Michigan, Rauhauser is now on a career-best four-game point streak. He led WCHA defensemen in the post-break stretch with four points (1g-3a), while his plus-4 rating tied for tops among all league skaters. This is Rauhauser's second WCHA weekly award of the 2017-18 season and of his career.
Honorable Mention: Mitch Reinke, So., Michigan Tech (led the Huskies past Michigan State and into the GLI Championship, earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team); Zach Whitecloud, So., Bemidji State (led the country with two game-winning goals, scoring the decisive tally in both contests as the Beavers swept Alabama Huntsville).
Nick Kossoff, Jr.
Lake Superior State (West Des Moines, Iowa)
Kossoff backstopped Lake Superior State to a third-place finish at the Three Rivers Classic with a brilliant performance in his lone start. Given the nod for the consolation game against Arizona State, Kossoff turned aside 48-of-49 shots in a 4-1 Lakers victory, earning the junior a spot on the All-Tournament Team. The native of West Des Moines, Iowa made 15 saves in the first period, 14 in the second and 19 more in the third, allowing LSSU to win despite being outshot by a 49-21 margin. Kossoff also made a relief appearance against Robert Morris in the tournament opener, finishing the weekend by tying for the WCHA lead with 67 saves and pacing the league with a .957 save percentage. This is Kossoff's second WCHA weekly award of the 2017-18 season and of his career.
Honorable Mention: Michael Bitzer, Sr., Bemidji State (led the WCHA with a 1.00 goals-against average and was third with a .952 save percentage, helping the Beavers sweep Alabama Huntsville); Atte Tolvanen, Jr., Northern Michigan (in his second series back from injury, made 59 saves and backstopped the Wildcats to a road split at No. 7 Minnesota State).
Eric Dop, Fr., G
Bowling Green (Lewis Center, Ohio)
Dop was given the start in the GLI Championship and stopped 29-of-30 shots, leading Bowling Green to a 4-1 win over Michigan Tech and the Falcons' first Great Lakes Invitational title. His lone appearance in Detroit was good enough to land the freshman a spot on the GLI All-Tournament Team – and for good reason. The Lewis Center, Ohio native set the tone with a 12-save first period, allowing BGSU to take a 1-0 lead into intermission despite being outshot 12-5, in the frame. He made nine stops in the second period and eight more in the third, as the Falcons scored twice in final 20 minutes. Dop also played 45:52 in relief last Thursday (Dec. 12) against No. 12 Western Michigan, stopping 12-of-13 shots. He finished the week second in the WCHA for both goals-against average (1.13) and save percentage (.956). This is Dop's fourth WCHA weekly award of his freshman season.
Honorable Mention: Joseph Nardi, Fr., F, Northern Michigan (two-point weekend included the game-winning goal with 36 seconds left Friday, lifting the Wildcats to a 4-3 road win at No. 7 Minnesota State); Riese Zmolek, Fr., D, Minnesota State (had a goal and two assists for three points, along with three blocked shots, as the No. 7 Mavericks split with visiting Northern Michigan).