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Bauer NCHC Players of the Week: January 13-19, 2020

By NCHC, 01/20/20, 4:30PM EST

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Miami’s Gilling, UND’s Kiersted, SCSU’s Hrenak and Omaha’s Saville honored for week 15

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The junior class was on full display in National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) play last weekend with some dominating performances, as juniors were named all three Bauer NCHC Players of the Week for which they’re eligible for the week of Jan. 13-19, 2020. Garnering Bauer NCHC weekly honors for week 15 are Miami junior Casey Gilling for Forward of the Week, North Dakota junior Matt Kiersted for Defenseman of the Week, St. Cloud State junior David Hrenak for Goaltender of the Week and Omaha goaltender Isaiah Saville, who gloved Rookie of the Week.

Kiersted claimed his second Defenseman of the Week award this season and the second of his career. This is Gilling’s first NCHC Forward of the Week honor and second career NCHC weekly honor after earning Rookie of the Week in 2017-18. Hrenak nabbed his third career NCHC Goalie of the Week award, but first this season, while it was his sixth NCHC weekly honor, as he was a three-time Rookie of the Week as a freshman. Saville picked up his second NCHC weekly honor this season, but first Rookie of the Week nod after being Goaltender of the Week in October.

Forward of the Week

Casey Gilling, Miami
Junior Forward
Gaylord, Mich.

Gilling produced the best weekend of his career against then-No. 1 North Dakota, as he had a hand in six of Miami’s seven goals in a tie and loss to UND last weekend. In Friday’s 4-4 overtime tie, Gilling racked up a career-high four points, tallying two goals for his second career multi-goal game, while he also added two assists. He helped put Miami in front 2-0 with the game’s first goal only 1:03 into the game and an assist 26 ticks later. His second goal made it 3-1 MU, while he had the primary assist on the game-tying power play goal in the closing minutes of regulation to force overtime. Gilling was +2 Friday and named First Star of the Game.

On Saturday, Gilling handed out a pair of primary assists, both on the power play, to again stick Miami to a 2-0 first-period lead in an eventual 5-3 defeat. He finished the weekend with two goals, four assists, four shots on goal and an even plus/minus. He also won 55.6 percent of his faceoffs against UND, going 25-20 in the center circle.

On the season, Gilling now has a career-best 22 points, which is third on the team, scoring seven goals and adding 15 assists in 22 games.

Defenseman of the Week

Matt Kiersted, North Dakota
Junior Defenseman
Elk River, Minn.
 
Kiersted played a key role on both special teams units, while contributing at both ends of the ice to help North Dakota to a tie and win at Miami last weekend, stretching UND’s road unbeaten streak to eight games. The assistant captain totaled five points, all assists, including on all three North Dakota power play goals in the series.
 
Kiersted tied a career high with three assists in Friday’s 4-4 overtime tie, including two on the man advantage. He had a hand in UND’s first three goals Friday to help erase a two-goal deficit, including a primary helper for his third of the game to set up the tying goal.
 
The next night, Kiersted handed two more assists in a 5-3 comeback win, including on the power play to make it 2-2 and the primary helper on the game-winning goal with 1:04 left in regulation to break a 3-3 tie. He was +2 in the game and earned Third Star of the Game honors Saturday.
 
Kiersted finished the series with five assists, four shots on goal, a +3 plus/minus and two blocked shots. On the season, he already has a career-high 19 points, including 17 assists, which are second on the team.

GOALTENDER OF THE WEEK

David Hrenak, St. Cloud State
Junior Goaltender
Povazska Bystrica, Slovakia
 
Hrenak had his best weekend of the season to backstop St. Cloud State to a home sweep of then-No. 8/8 Minnesota Duluth last weekend. He allowed only one goal all series, and none even strength.
 
In Friday’s 2-1 victory, he totaled 32 saves, including 18 in the third period, as SCSU held on for the win. UMD’s lone goal of the weekend came on the power play in the first period, but he helped kill off the next four penalties in the game with 11 short-handed saves as he was named First Star of the Game.
 
A night later, Hrenak recorded his first shutout of the season and eighth of his career, stopping all 27 shots he faced in a 2-0 victory. The eight shutouts tie for second in SCSU program history. The L.A. Kings draft pick helped kill off both UMD power plays in the win with four short-handed stops. He nabbed Second Star of the Game on Saturday.
 
Hrenak totaled 59 saves on 60 shots in the sweep for a .983 save percentage, including 15 short-handed saves to help SCSU’s penalty kill go 6-of-7. He posted a 0.50 goals-against average in the two wins, with one whitewash. For the season, he improved to 7-7-4 with a .901 save percentage (was at .890 entering the series) and a 2.84 GAA.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Isaiah Saville, Omaha
Freshman Goaltender
Anchorage, Alaska
 
Saville had a monster weekend to backstop Omaha to a pair of home ties against then-No. 4 Denver, after UNO had gone 0-15-1 in the 16 prior meetings with the Pioneers. He allowed only three goals all weekend, including only two even strength.
 
In Friday’s 1-1 overtime tie, Saville stopped 27 shots, including four short-handed, to help kill all three DU power plays. He then stopped four attempts in the ensuing shootout, before DU won in the fifth round. The next night, the Golden Knights draft pick made a career-high 45 saves in a 2-2 overtime draw. Saville made nine saves short-handed Saturday to help kill off four-of-five Denver power plays, with one of DU’s two goals coming a man up, as the Mavericks were outshot, 47-13.
 
Saville finished with an NCHC-best 72 saves on the weekend on 75 shots faced for a .960 save percentage and a 1.39 goals-against average in the two ties. He lowered his season GAA to 2.89 and improved his save percentage to .898, while he’s now 7-6-4 in net on the season.

OTHER NOMINEES:

Forward of the Week
Wade Allison, Sr., F, WMU – Totaled five points and was +5 in a sweep of CC with a goal on Friday and a season-high four points on Saturday with another goal and three assists.
 
Jordan Kawaguchi, Jr., F, UND – Racked up five points at Miami, scoring a goal each night, while totaling three points in Friday’s tie and two points in Saturday’s win.
 
Defenseman of the Week
Jack Ahcan, Sr., D, SCSU – Set up the game-winning goal Saturday against UMD with the primary assist, while he was +2 with six blocked shots in the series.
 
Mattias Samuelsson, So., D, WMU – Dished out an assist each night in a sweep of CC, including setting up the game-winner Friday, while he finished the weekend +4 with five blocked shots.
 
Rookie of the Week
Bobby Brink, Fr., F, Denver – Had a hand in both DU goals in Saturday’s tie at Omaha, including scoring the tying goal in the final 15 seconds.
 
Brandon Bussi, Fr., G, WMU – Backstopped WMU to its first NCHC sweep this season, totaling 65 saves against CC for a .942 save percentage and a 2.00 GAA in the two wins.
 
Goaltender of the Week
Brandon Bussi, Fr., G, WMU – Backstopped WMU to its first NCHC sweep this season, totaling 65 saves against CC for a .942 save percentage and a 2.00 GAA in the two wins.
 
Peter Thome, Jr., G, UND – Entered in relief Friday and started Saturday at Miami, going 1-0-1 with 26 saves for an .867 save percentage and a 2.29 GAA.

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