COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Following the first weekend of conference play in nearly a month, four teams are represented among the Bauer National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Players of the Week for the week of January 6-12, 2020. Earning Bauer NCHC honors for week 14 are Colorado College junior Troy Conzo for Forward of the Week, Denver junior Ian Mitchell for Defenseman of the Week, Miami forward Chase Pletzke for Rookie of the Week and Minnesota Duluth senior Hunter Shepard repeats as Goaltender of the Week.
This is Shepard’s fifth Goaltender of the Week honor this season (second straight) and 14th of his career, while Conzo earned his second career NCHC weekly honor, collecting Offensive Player of the Week as a freshman in 2017-18. Mitchell nabbed his second Defenseman of the Week award this season and fourth of his career, while this is Pletzke’s first NCHC honor of any kind.
Troy Conzo, Colorado College
Conzo compiled a three-point weekend to help Colorado College earn a split with Miami last weekend. In the series opener on Friday, he handed out the primary assist on CC’s lone goal in a 6-1 defeat, and finished the game +1.
The next night, he tallied two goals, including the game-winner, to lead the Tigers to a 4-2 victory. The two goals tied a career high, his third multi-goal game, but first this season. Both his goals came in the first period, scoring the game’s first goal only 2:22 into the contest and adding the game-winner late in the frame to stake CC to a 3-0 lead. He fired three shots on goal and was +1 Saturday, while earning First Star of the Game.
Conzo finished the series with two goals, an assist, three shots on goal and a +2 plus/minus. He also went 12-13 (.480) in the faceoff circle. Conzo tripled his goal total on the season, as he now has three goals and five points in seven games this season, after missing much of the first two months.
Ian Mitchell, Denver
Mitchell tied for the NCHC scoring lead last weekend with four points, while anchoring a defense and both special teams units that led Denver to a sweep of St. Cloud State. The team captain tied a season high with three points in Friday’s 6-3 victory over the Huskies, tallying the game-winning goal short-handed, while dishing out two assists. His goal put DU up 4-2 in the third period while short-handed, while his first helper came on DU’s first goal of the game and his other came on a power play tally. The Chicago Blackhawks draft pick fired four shots on goal Friday and finished +2, while earning First Star of the Game.
The next night, Mitchell set up the game-winning goal with the primary assist on a power play tally to make it 4-0 DU in an eventual 5-3 victory. Mitchell finished the series with a goal, three assists, five shots on goal and a +2 plus/minus. He also blocked five shots on the weekend, while tallying two of his points on the power play and one short-handed, as DU went 2-for-4 on the penalty kill against SCSU. Mitchell is now riding a four-game point streak (1g, 5a) and has 18 points (4g, 14a) on the season, ranking second among NCHC defensemen.
Chase Pletzke, Miami
Bay City, Mich.
Pletzke had a breakout weekend to help Miami earn a road split at Colorado College, totaling four points with two each night, to tie for the NCHC scoring lead on the weekend. The two points each night tied a career high and marked his second and third multi-point games.
In Friday’s 6-1 victory, he had the primary assist on Miami’s second goal, which served as the game-winner, while scoring the RedHawks’ fourth goal of the game in the second period. He fired four shots on goal and finished the game +2 to earn Third Star of the Game honors on Friday. On Saturday, Pletzke dished out the primary assist on both of Miami’s goals in a 4-2 defeat. He helped the RedHawks rally to within one at 3-2 after trailing 3-0, with his second helper coming on the power play.
Pletzke finished the series with a goal, three primary assists, four shots on goal and a +2 plus/minus. On the season, he leads all Miami freshmen with 11 points (5g, 6a), 10 of which have come in his past nine games.
Hunter Shepard, Minnesota Duluth
Shepard repeated as Goalie of the Week after leading the NCHC in saves last weekend, while backstopping Minnesota Duluth to a win and tie against Western Michigan by making his two highest save totals of the season. On Friday, he stopped 35 shots in a 6-3 victory, including 17 in the second period. Eight of those saves came short-handed, as he helped UMD go 4-for-5 on the penalty kill. The next night, Shepard compiled a season-high 41 saves in a 3-3 overtime tie, including 17 short-handed saves to kill off all five Bronco power plays. He also made one stop in the ensuing shootout and was named Third Star of the Game Saturday.
Shepard ended the weekend with 76 saves on 82 shots faced for a .927 save percentage, tops among NCHC goalies who started both games last weekend. Of his 76 saves, 25 came short-handed as UMD went 9-for-10 on the penalty kill in the series. Shepard posted a 1-0-1 record with a 2.88 goals-against average against WMU, as well. On the season, he is now 12-6-2 with a .909 save percentage and a 2.35 GAA, to go along with two shutouts.
Forward of the Week
Mark Senden, So., UND – Tallied a goal each night and added an assist on Saturday for a three-point weekend in a split with Omaha.
Brett Stapley, So., Denver – Compiled four points and was +3 in a sweep of SCSU, with an empty-net goal and an assist Friday, while dishing out two more helpers on Saturday.
Nick Swaney, Jr., UMD – Tallied three points in Friday’s win over WMU, potting two goals and adding an assist.
Taylor Ward, So., Omaha – Scored a goal in both games of a split at UND, while also adding an assist in Friday’s win.
Defenseman of the Week
Derek Daschke, So., Miami – Scored a goal both nights in a split at CC, one short-handed and one on the power play, while blocking two shots.
Rookie of the Week
Bobby Brink, F, Denver – Dished out three assists in a sweep of SCSU and put seven shots on goal, with two helpers coming on Saturday.
Quinn Olson, F, UMD – Scored a goal in Friday’s win and added an assist in Saturday’s tie with WMU.
Goaltender of the Week
Ryan Larkin, Sr., Miami – Compiled 57 saves in a split at CC for a .919 save percentage and a 2.58 GAA.