BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Jan. 4, 2018 – After a month of sterling individual and team performances that have set the stage for an exciting second half of the season, the Men's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) is proud to honor some of its many December standouts. The WCHA Players of the Month for December 2017 are: Minnesota State's C.J. Suess (Offensive), Northern Michigan senior Jordan Klimek (Defensive), Michigan Tech freshman Robbie Beydoun (Goaltender) and Minnesota State freshman forward Jake Jaremko (Rookie).
C.J. Suess, Sr.
Minnesota State (Forest Lake, Minn.)
Suess was the top threat for the nation's second-most prolific offense in December, tallying six goals and four assists in six games for a Minnesota State team that averaged a WCHA-best 4.83 goals per contest (behind only Penn State's 5.25). The senior tied for the WCHA scoring lead, tied for tops in the league with 1.67 points per game and 1.00 goals per contest, and tied for second with a plus-7 rating. Nationally, Suess' 10 points tied for second and his six goals tied for third.
The Forest Lake, Minn. native tallied a point in all six December games and logged three multi-point games, helping the league-leading Mavericks go 5-1-0 and rise to No. 7 in the national rankings. Suess scored twice, including the game-winning goal, in a 5-1 win over Alabama Huntsville on Dec. 15, tallied another two goals the next night in a sweep-clinching victory over the Chargers, and had a three-point effort (2g-1a) in a 6-3 triumph over Northern Michigan on Dec. 30.
On the season, Suess leads Minnesota State with 10 goals, 26 points and a plus-13 rating. He now has 110 career points, on 45 goals and 65 assists, to rank ninth on the Mavericks' NCAA Division I-era scoring list. This is Suess' first career WCHA weekly award.
Honorable Mention: Andrew Dorantes, Sr., Ferris State (led the WCHA with three power-play goals and had a team-high seven points overall, helping the Bulldogs open December with a three-game winning streak); Jake Jackson, Jr., Michigan Tech (posted a plus-4 rating and had a point in all four December games, finishing with five total); Josh Kestner, Sr., Alabama Huntsville (paced the Chargers and ranked second in the WCHA with six goals, all on the road); Adam Rockwood, Jr., Northern Michigan (tied for the WCHA scoring lead with 10 points and tied for top honors with two game-winning goals, helping the Wildcats go 4-2-2 and jump into second place).
Jordan Klimek, Sr.
Northern Michigan (Langley, British Columbia)
Klimek had a significant role in Northern Michigan's surge to second place in the WCHA standings, leading league defensemen with eight points, two goals (tied) and six assists – tied for the most helpers among all NCAA blue-liners. In fact, only one national defenseman tallied more points in December than Klimek, who landed on the scoresheet in five of his eight games.
The senior from Langley, British Columbia discovered his scoring touch as the Wildcats went 4-2-2-2 in WCHA play. Klimek opened the month with three assists in a split with Alabama Huntsville (Dec. 1-2), then earned WCHA Defensive Player of the Week accolades with a four-point effort in a sweep of Ferris State (Dec. 15-16). He established a career high with three points in the opener against the Bulldogs, scoring twice and assisting on another goal during a 6-1 win. When Northern Michigan extended its winning streak to three games – and its unbeaten run to five-straight contests – with a win Dec. 29 at No. 7 Minnesota State, it was Klimek who assisted on the Wildcats' first goal.
This is Klimek's first career WCHA monthly award.
Honorable Mention: Alec Rauhauser, So., Bowling Green (tied for first among WCHA defensemen by averaging 1.00 points per game, tallying five in five games for the No. 19 Falcons).
Robbie Beydoun, Fr.
Michigan Tech (Plymouth, Mich.)
The freshman Beydoun entered in relief Dec. 8 against Ferris State, made a career-high 31 saves to backstop Michigan Tech to a win the next night in his first collegiate start and never looked back, leading WCHA goaltenders with a .944 save percentage in December. He helped the Huskies to a 2-1-1-1 WCHA record, ranking second in the league with a 1.44 goals-against average. Among national rookie netminders, Beydoun was second last month in both save percentage and GAA.
A native of Plymouth, Mich., Beydoun made at least 20 saves in each of his three starts, including 25 in his first career shutout – a 3-0 blanking of Lake Superior State on Dec. 15. He made another 22 stops over a 65-minute tie the next night against the Lakers, earning his first career WCHA Rookie of the Week accolade.
This is Beydoun's first WCHA monthly award of his freshman campaign.
Honorable Mention: Michael Bitzer, Sr., Bemidji State (tied for the NCAA lead with a WCHA-best four wins, leading the Beavers to a 4-1-3 month and seven-game unbeaten streak with a 1.58 goals-against average, .930 save percentage and one shutout); Atte Tolvanen, Jr., G, Northern Michigan (missed six games due to injury, but returned for the Wildcats' final four games of December and posted a 3-1-0 record).
Jake Jaremko, Fr., F
Minnesota State (Nowthen, Minn.)
Jaremko led all NCAA rookies with eight points and six assists in six December games, helping WCHA-leading Minnesota State go 5-1-0 and rise to No. 7 in the national rankings. The Nowthen, Minn. native also paced WCHA freshmen with two goals (tied), three power-play points (tied) and averages of 0.33 goals per game (tied), 1.00 assists per game and 1.33 points per game.
The coaches' preseason pick for WCHA Rookie of the Year, Jaremko captured his second-consecutive league monthly honor. He tallied a point in his first five December contests, extending his point streak to a career-best 10-straight games (5g-12a=17pts). Jaremko opened the month with a four-point effort (1g-3a) in a road sweep at Lake Superior State (Dec. 8-9), earning WCHA Rookie of the Week honors. He added assists in both games of a sweep vs. Alabama Huntsville (Dec. 15-16), before adding a goal and assist Dec. 29 against Northern Michigan.
Jaremko's 21 points in 20 games this season lead WCHA freshmen and rank second nationally, while his 16 assists are tied for the NCAA rookie lead. He has won a pair of WCHA monthly awards.
Honorable Mention: Joseph Nardi, Fr., F Northern Michigan (tied for fourth among WCHA freshmen with four points and ended the month on a three-game scoring streak, including the game-winning goal with just 36 seconds remaining Dec. 29 at No. 7 Minnesota State).