EDINA, Minn. – March 6, 2017 – A trio of players, including a pair of teammates, whose stellar individual efforts helped their teams to sweeps in the quarterfinal round of the league playoffs, highlight the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for games of March 3-5, 2017. The honorees are: Bowling Green senior forward Matt Pohlkamp (Offensive Player of the Week); Minnesota State sophomore goaltender Jason Pawloski (Defensive Player of the Week) and Minnesota State freshman forward Parker Tuomie (Rookie of the Week).
Matt Pohlkamp, Sr., F
Bowling Green (Baxter, Minn.)
Pohlkamp had a career weekend at an opportune time, collecting a league-high six points to help Bowling Green sweep Ferris State in a quarterfinal round series of the 2017 WCHA Playoffs. The senior from Baxter, Minn. tied for second nationally in points with his two goals and four assists, while he also added nine shots on goal, two blocked shots and a plus-4 rating. He opened the series by matching his career high with four points in a 6-1 Falcons win. After scoring the game's first goal 6:46 into the contest, Pohlkamp tallied three points in a two-minute, 51-second span of the second period with a goal and two assists. Saturday evening, he assisted on the game-opening goal 3:39 into the first period, before adding a helper on the power-play, empty-net goal that sealed Bowling Green's 5-3 win and sweep. This is Pohlkamp's first career WCHA weekly award.
Honorable Mention: Gerry Fitzgerald, Jr., F, Bemidji State (tied for the WCHA lead with four assists, including helpers on both game-winning goals, to pace the Beavers in points as BSU defeated Northern Michigan in three games); Mitch Hults, So., F, Lake Superior State (had a career-high four points, on a goal and three assists, in the Lakers' 6-4, Game 1 loss at Michigan Tech); Joel L'Esperance, Jr., F, Michigan Tech (tied for second in the WCHA with five points, on two goals and three assists, leading the Huskies to a 14-goal outburst in their sweep of Lake Superior State); Jordan Nelson, Sr., F, Minnesota State (had a goal and two assists, including a two-point effort in Saturday's 4-1 victory, as the Mavericks swept Alaska); Dominik Shine, Sr., F, Northern Michigan (tied for second in the WCHA with five points, while his four-point effort Saturday – on two goals and two assists – led the Wildcats to a 4-2 victory that forced a decisive Game 3 at top-seeded Bemidji State).
Jason Pawloski, So., G
Minnesota State (Omaha, Neb.)
Pawloski backstopped Minnesota State to the semifinals of the 2017 WCHA Playoffs, ranking third nationally with a 0.50 goals-against average and fourth with a .981 save percentage (both tops in the WCHA). The sophomore from Omaha, Neb. opened the Mavericks' quarterfinal-round sweep of Alaska with a 23-save effort in his second career shutout, a 3-0 victory. Making just his third start snice Jan. 1, he then turned aside 29-of-30 shots Saturday in a 4-1, series-clinching triumph. This is Pawloski's second WCHA weekly award of the 2016-17 season and his third career honor (including one Rookie of the Week accolade).
Honorable Mention: Michael Bitzer, Jr., G, Bemidji State (posted his NCAA-leading sixth shutout Friday night, while finishing the weekend with a .943 save percentage and 1.35 goals-against average to lead the Beavers past Northern Michigan in three games); Shane Hanna, Sr., D, Michigan Tech (excelled on both ends of the ice, with a goal, three assists, three blocked shots and a plus-4 rating in the Huskies' sweep of Lake Superior State); Chris Nell, Jr., G, Bowling Green (extended his school-record shutout streak to 220:18 during Friday's game, while tallying 54 saves and a .931 save percentage in the Falcons' sweep of Ferris State).
Parker Tuomie, Fr., F
Minnesota State (Bremerhaven, Germany)
Tuomie led all WCHA rookies – and tied for the national lead among first-year skaters – with four points, posting back-to-back multi-point efforts to help Minnesota State sweep Alaska in the quarterfinal round of the 2017 WCHA Playoffs. The freshman from Bremerhaven, Germany tied for the league rookie lead with two goals and a plus-3 rating, while adding a pair of assists. Including a power-play marker, Tuomie scored twice in Friday's 3-0 win; he then contributed a pair of helpers to the Mavericks' 4-1, sweep-clinching win Saturday. This is Tuomie's third WCHA weekly award of his freshman season.
Honorable Mention: Tommy Muck, Fr., D, Bemidji State (led all BSU skaters with seven blocked shots, while contributing two assists to help the Beavers outlast Northern Michigan in three games); Alec Rauhauser, Fr., D, Bowling Green (scored a goal both nights of the Falcons' sweep of Ferris State, including the third-period, tie-breaking, game-winner Saturday night); Alex Smith, Fr., F, Michigan Tech (had a point in both games, with the opening goal Friday and an assist Saturday, to help the Huskies to a sweep of Lake Superior State).