BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Feb. 1, 2018 – After several standout individual and team performances, the Men's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) is proud to recognize some of its best from the last four weeks. The WCHA Players of the Month for January 2018 are: Northern Michigan junior Troy Loggins (Offensive), Bowling Green sophomore Alec Rauhauser (Defensive), Minnesota State senior Connor LaCouvee (Goaltender) and Bowling Green freshman forward Brandon Kruse (Rookie).
Troy Loggins, Jr.
Northern Michigan (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Loggins was one of the nation's top offensive threats in January, keying No. 19 Northern Michigan's seven-game unbeaten streak to end the month (6-0-1). The junior led the WCHA with eight goals (tied for the second-most nationally) and was second in the league with 13 points in eight games (third in the NCAA, one behind the co-leaders). He also ranked among NCAA leaders for power-play goals (first with five), goals-per-game (second at 1.00), short-handed goals (tied for fifth with one) and points-per-game (tied for ninth at 1.62).
The Huntington Beach, Calif. native tallied a point seven of eight January games, including four multi-point efforts. Loggins had seven goals and three assists for 10 points as the Wildcats won all six of their league games, helping a Northern Michigan team that was picked to finish seventh in the coaches' and media preseason polls surge to the top of the WCHA standings. He combined for six points (5g-1a) as NMU enjoyed a 2-0-1 stretch Jan. 6-13 against then-No. 13 Boston College (one goal in a 3-3 tie at the Ice Vegas Invitational) and No. 14 Bowling Green (three goals during a two-game home sweep), earning WCHA Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts against the Falcons. Loggins finished the month with seven points (4g-3a) in three contests, factoring in all three goals in a 3-2 win Jan. 20 over Lake Superior State (1g-2a), scoring the game-winning goal Jan. 26 at Alaska Anchorage and posting a two-goal, one-assist effort in a Jan. 27 victory at UAA.
Loggins is tied for the overall WCHA scoring lead with 32 points this season (matching teammate Adam Rockwood), coming from 15 goals and 17 assists. He is tied for 10th nationally in points, while he is tied for 13th in goals (and tied for the NCAA lead with three short-handed markers).
Honorable Mention: Mitch McLain, Sr., Bowling Green (tied for third in the WCHA with 12 points on five goals and seven assists, with points in nine of 10 games as the No. 14 Falcons went 8-2-0); Marc Michaelis, So., Minnesota State (tied for fourth in the WCHA with 1.33 points per game, tallying eight in six contests as the No. 7 Mavericks went 5-1-0).
Alec Rauhauser, So.
Bowling Green (Bismark, N.D.)
Rauhauser was a force all over the ice in January, tying for the NCAA scoring lead with 14 points and pacing all D-I skaters with 13 assists. The sophomore also tied for sixth with a plus-8 rating, tied for the second-best among NCAA defensemen. A special teams dynamo, Rauhauser led the country with eight power-play assists and points – all of which helped No. 14 Bowling Green go 8-2-0 last month.
A native of Bismark, N.D., Rauhauser recorded a point in nine-of-10 games, including four multi-point performances. He opened the month by helping the Falcons to their first-ever Great Lakes Invitational championship, earning a spot on the GLI All-Tournament Team (and WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors) by tallying three assists and a plus-4 rating in victories over Michigan and Michigan Tech. In addition to a two-assist effort against the Wolverines, he logged multi-point contests in an overtime loss Jan. 13 at Northern Michigan (2a), a 6-2 victory over Alaska Anchorage on Jan. 19 (3a) and a 5-3 win at Lake Superior State on Jan. 26 (1g-1a). Rauhauser also provided timely assists, setting up the game-winning goal in four of Bowling Green's eight January victories (Jan. 1 vs. Michigan, Jan. 6 and 7 at Ferris State and Jan. 19 vs. UAA).
For the season, Rauhauser leads WCHA defensemen with 24 assists, 31 points, 16 power-play assists, 19 power-play points and a plus-15 rating. He is tops nationally among blueliners for assists, points, points-per-game (1.03), power-play assists (tied) and power-play points.
Honorable Mention: Philip Beaulieu, So., Northern Michigan (tied for the WCHA lead with two game-winning goals and was the league's second-highest scoring blueliner, tallying 10 points for the No. 19 Wildcats); Daniel Brickley, Jr., Minnesota State (had eight points and eight blocked shots in six games, tallying two goals and six assists for the No. 7 Mavericks).
Connor LaCouvee, Sr.
Minnesota State (Qualicum Beach, British Columbia)
LaCouvee backstopped No. 7 Minnesota State to a perfect 4-0-0 mark in his four January starts. The first-year Mavericks netminder led the WCHA and ranked second nationally with a 1.16 goals-against average last month, while his .937 save percentage was a sliver off the league lead and was ninth-best in the country.
The senior from Qualicum Beach, British Columbia helped Minnesota State to a pair of WCHA road wins at Alaska Anchorage (4-1 on Jan. 6) and Alaska (5-1 on Jan. 13), before ending the month with impressive performances in back-to-back nonconference victories over ranked NCHC opponents. LaCouvee made 28 saves in the Mavericks' 5-2, Hockey Day Minnesota road win at then-No. 3 St. Cloud State (Jan. 20), then posted a 15-save, 1-0 home shutout of No. 9 Minnesota Duluth (Jan. 23). Against the Huskies, he stopped all 13 shots he faced in the third period; against the Bulldogs, he was perfect throughout.
A transfer from Boston University, LaCouvee has found a home in the Mavericks' net. He leads the WCHA this season with an overall 1.78 goals-against average, a .915 save percentage and an .812 winning percentage (13-3-0); good for fourth, 17th and third, respectively, in the country.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Bednard, So., Bowling Green (posted a 5-1-0 record for the No. 14 Falcons, along with a 2.30 goals-against average, a .905 save percentage and one shutout); Darren Smith, Jr., Ferris State (led the WCHA with a .937 save percentage, posting a 2.07 goals-against average and a 3-2-0 record in the Bulldogs net); Atte Tolvanen, Jr., Northern Michigan (was undefeated at 6-0-1, helping the No. 19 Wildcats surge to first place in the WCHA standings).
Brandon Kruse, Fr., F
Bowling Green (Saline, Mich.)
Kruse led all NCAA rookies in January with 11 points, nine assists (tied) and two game-winning goals (tied) in 10 contests, helping No. 14 Bowling Green go 8-2-0. The Saline, Mich. native also paced WCHA freshmen with three power-play helpers and averages of 1.10 points and 0.90 assists per game, while his 11 points were fifth-most among all league skaters.
A two-time WCHA Rookie of the Week during the month (Jan. 22 and 29), Kruse finished January with eight points (2g-6a) during a four-game scoring streak. He twice matched his career high with three-point nights, factoring in all three Falcons goals during 3-2 victories Jan. 20 vs. Alaska Anchorage (1g-2a) and Jan. 27 at Lake Superior State (3a). Both of Kruse's goals during the month were game-winners (Jan. 20 vs. UAA and Jan. 26 at LSSU), while he assisted on the decisive tallies in road wins Jan. 7 at Ferris State and Jan. 27 (at LSSU). He recorded a point in six of 10 games overall, including three multi-point efforts.
Kruse is now tied for the overall WCHA rookie scoring lead with 25 points, thanks to six goals and a league freshmen-best 19 assists. He is tied for third nationally in rookie points and tied for second in helpers.
Honorable Mention: Coale Norris, Fr., F, Ferris State (scored a league-high tying two game-winning goals for the Bulldogs, while producing seven points in eight games).