BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – March 5, 2018 – A career-best effort in a winner-take-all Game 3, a prolific offensive showing from the blue line, a stalwart goaltending weekend and one of the NCAA's best freshman performances highlight the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for the quarterfinal round of the 2018 league playoffs. The honorees are: Northern Michigan junior Troy Loggins (Offensive), Northern Michigan sophomore Philip Beaulieu (Defensive), Bowling Green sophomore Ryan Bednard (Goaltender) and Minnesota State freshman forward Jared Spooner (Rookie).
Troy Loggins, Jr.
Northern Michigan (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Loggins lifted No. 19 Northern Michigan past Alabama Huntsville with seven points in their three-game quarterfinal series, including a career-best four points in Sunday's decisive Game 3. With the Wildcats' season hanging in the balance, the junior from Huntington Beach, Calif. scored two goals and had two assists in a 5-2 victory, with three of those points – including the tie-breaking, game-winning goal – coming after NMU had fallen behind, 2-1. Loggins' power-play goal at 13:11 of the second period gave the Wildcats a 3-2 lead, he assisted on another score just 1:47 later and sealed the outcome with a shorthanded, empty-net tally. He scored a goal in all three games of the series, with a two-point effort in Friday's 7-1, Game 1 victory (1g-1a) and a goal in Saturday's 3-2, Game 2 setback. While scoring an even-strength goal, a power-play goal and two shorthanded markers, Loggins tied for the WCHA and NCAA lead with four goals (matching teammate Denver Pierce and Michigan's Tony Calderone). This is Loggins' second career WCHA weekly award, with the other coming Jan. 15.
Honorable Mention: Josh Kestner, Sr., Alabama Huntsville (scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner with 29 seconds remaining, in the Chargers' first-ever WCHA playoff victory Saturday, while his goal Sunday was his WCHA-leading 24th of the season – tying UAH's modern Division I era record); Jake Lucchini, Jr., Michigan Tech (led the WCHA and tied for second nationally with 3.00 points per game, with a pair of three-point efforts, along with three total goals and three assists, in the Huskies' quarterfinal-round road sweep at Bemidji State); Mitch McLain, Sr., Bowling Green (led the No. 17 Falcons with a goal, two assists and a WCHA-leading 21 shots on goal in a quarterfinal-round sweep of Ferris State); Nicholas Rivera, So., Minnesota State (had the shorthanded game-winner Saturday, while tallying four points in the series, as the No. 3 Mavericks swept its quarterfinal-round matchup with Alaska); Jason Tackett, So., Ferris State (led the Bulldogs with two goals, scoring a power-play marker each game at No. 17 Bowling Green).
Philip Beaulieu, So.
Northern Michigan (Duluth, Minn.)
Beaulieu recorded multiple points in all three games, leading the NCAA with eight points and seven assists (tied) as No. 19 Northern Michigan advanced with a quarterfinal-round series victory over Alabama Huntsville. The sophomore from Duluth, Minn. had a goal and two assists in Friday's 7-1 victory, set up both NMU goals in Saturday's 3-2 loss, then had three helpers in the Wildcats' 5-2, Game 3 triumph – including the primary assist on Troy Loggins' tie-breaking, game-winning score. Beaulieu extended his scoring streak to a career-high five games, led the WCHA with 2.33 assists per game and tied for fourth overall with a plus-5 rating (tied for second among league and NCAA blueliners). This is Beaulieu's third career WCHA weekly award, all of which have come this season (also on Jan. 22 and Feb. 12).
Honorable Mention: Mark Auk, Sr., Michigan Tech (had four points on a goal and three assists, while adding four blocked shots and tying for the league lead with three power-play points, helping the Huskies upset host Bemidji State in their quarterfinal-round series); Daniel Brickley, Jr., Minnesota State (had a goal and two assists for three points, while adding a plus-5 rating to help the No. 3 Mavericks to a quarterfinal-round sweep of Alaska); Joe Rutkowski, So., Ferris State (led the Bulldogs with two assists, tallying a power-play helper in each game at No. 17 Bowling Green).
Ryan Bednard, So.
Bowling Green (Macomb, Mich.)
Bednard had one of his best weekends in a Bowling Green uniform, leading the WCHA with two wins (tied), a .957 save percentage (second-best nationally) and a 1.36 goals-against average (fourth in the NCAA). The Florida Panthers' product tallied 67 saves, while allowing just three goals, as the No. 17 Falcons swept Ferris State to win a postseason series for an NCAA-best eighth-straight season. Bednard tallied a career-high 34 saves in 72:05 of action in Friday's Game 1, earning his first playoff victory with a 2-1, overtime triumph. The sophomore from Macomb, Mich. nearly reached that number again the next night, stopping 33-of-35 shots in the Falcons' 5-2, sweep-clinching win. This is Bednard's first WCHA weekly award of the 2017-18 season and his second career honor (including one Rookie of the Week accolade).
Honorable Mention: Darren Smith, Jr., Ferris State (set the program single-game record with 62 saves Friday, tied for the 11th-highest total in WCHA history, while leading the league with 94 stops in the Bulldogs' quarterfinal-round series at No. 17 Bowling Green); Atte Tolvanen, Jr., Northern Michigan (was in the net for all three games, posting a 2.00 goals-against average as the No. 19 Wildcats outlasted Alabama Huntsville in their quarterfinal-round series).
Jared Spooner, Fr., F
Minnesota State (Bismarck, North Dakota)
Spooner tied for the overall NCAA lead with a plus-6 rating and tied for the national rookie lead with four assists, helping No. 3 Minnesota State sweep its quarterfinal-round series against Alaska. The freshman from Bismark, North Dakota had three assists, five shots on goal and was a plus-3 in Friday's 8-2 win, then had an assist, three shots on goal and another plus-3 rating in Saturday's 6-2, series-clinching victory. Spooner led WCHA rookies with four points, was tied for second with eight shots on goal and third with 16 faceoff wins (fifth with a .571 winning percentage). This is Spooner's first WCHA weekly award of his freshman season.
Honorable Mention: Seamus Donohue, Fr., D, Michigan Tech (scored the game-winning goal Friday on his lone shot of the series, while adding three blocked shots and a plus-3 rating to the Huskies' quarterfinal-round sweep at Bemidji State); Brandon Kruse, Fr., F, Bowling Green (was the hero for the No. 17 Falcons on Friday, scoring both goals in a 2-1, overtime win to spark a quarterfinal-round series sweep of Ferris State); Michael Slattery, Fr., F, Northern Michigan (scored his second and third goals of the season, lighting the lamp in Games 1 and 2 of the No. 19 Wildcats' three-game quarterfinal-round series win over Alabama Huntsville).