COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After strong showings in both conference and non-conference play last weekend, three teams are represented among the Bauer National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Players of the Week for the week of Feb. 3-9, 2020. Garnering Bauer NCHC weekly honors for week 18 are Western Michigan sophomore Drew Worrad for Forward of the Week, WMU senior Cam Lee for Defenseman of the Week, Minnesota Duluth senior Hunter Shepard for Goaltender of the Week and Colorado College netminder Matt Vernon for Rookie of the Week.
This is Worrad’s first career NCHC weekly honor, while Lee collected his first of the season and third career NCHC Defenseman of the Week nod. Shepard gloved his NCHC-leading sixth Goaltender of the Week award this season and 15th of his career, while Vernon is now a two-time NCHC Rookie of the Week.
Drew Worrad, Western Michigan
Worrad had a five-point weekend to power Western Michigan to a non-conference sweep of Rensselaer last weekend, while assisting on both game-winning goals. In Friday’s 8-4 beatdown of RPI, Worrad dished out the primary assist on the game-winner in the second period to make it 5-2, while he scored the game’s final goal and finished +1 in the contest.
The next night, Worrad tied a career high with three points on a career-best three assists in a 6-2 victory. All three assists were primary helpers, setting up WMU’s first goal to tie the game, the game-winner to make it 3-1, and the Broncos’ final goal to seal the sweep. Worrad finished a career-best +3 on Saturday and earned Second Star of the Game.
Worrad completed the weekend with a goal, four primary assists, a +4 plus/minus and two shots on goal, while also winning seven faceoffs and blocking two shots. On the season, he now has a career-best 16 points (6g, 10a), well-surpassing his freshman total of 10 points last season.
Cam Lee, Western Michigan
Ferguson’s Cove, Nova Scotia
Lee was a force at both ends of the ice and on both special teams units in helping Western Michigan sweep RPI, recording his best weekend of the season by totaling five points and tying for the NCHC lead with a +5 plus/minus. On Friday, Lee handed out two primary assists, on WMU’s first and last goals in an 8-4 victory, with the first coming on the power play. He finished the game a season-high +3, blocked two shots and helped the penalty kill go 4-for-5.
In the series finale, Lee tied a career high with three points, including his third career two-goal game, which were his first two goals of the season. He scored his first goal of the year early in the second period to break a 1-1 tie and added his other goal on the power play to make it 5-2. He also dished out a primary power play assist prior to that on the Broncos’ fourth goal. Lee earned First Star of the Game Saturday, while firing seven shots on goal, one shy of his career high, and finishing with a +2 plus/minus.
Lee ended the series with two goals, three primary assists, a +5 plus/minus and eight shots on goal. He also blocked two shots, helped lead a penalty kill unit that finished 8-for-10 in the sweep of RPI and tallied three power play points as WMU went 3-for-6 on the man advantage. Lee upped his season total to 12 points after entering the weekend with only seven assists all season.
Hunter Shepard, Minnesota Duluth
Shepard continued his strong senior season, backstopping the Bulldogs to a sweep of Omaha last weekend. He led the NCHC in both goals-against average and save percentage on the weekend, while allowing only three goals in the series.
On Friday, he made 24 saves in a narrow, 3-2 victory, including 11 stops in the second period and six short-handed. A night later, he compiled 31 saves in a 4-1 victory to earn First Star of the Game, including 13 saves each of the first two periods. Shepard also earned an assist on the game-winning goal, as a highlight-reel save led to a breakaway goal. Of his 31 saves, seven came short-handed as he helped UMD’s penalty kill go 3-for-3 Saturday.
Shepard finished the sweep with 55 saves on 58 shots faced for a .948 save percentage and a 1.50 goals-against average in the two wins. He also made 13 of his saves short-handed as UMD’s penalty kill finished the weekend 5-for-6. The assist was his first of the season. He upped his season save percentage to .915 in the series, while lowering his GAA to 2.25 and improving to 17-9-2 on the year.
Matt Vernon, Colorado College
Vernon was solid in net to help Colorado College earn two points in a pair of overtime games against St. Cloud State last weekend. He topped 30 saves both nights, including 31 on Friday in a 3-2 overtime loss. Six of his 31 saves Friday came short-handed as he helped kill off all three SCSU power plays.
The next night, Vernon made 32 saves in a 2-2 overtime tie, including 13 in the second period and three in overtime, to earn First Star of the Game. He made 10 of his 32 saves short-handed as CC went 3-for-4 on the penalty kill Saturday. Vernon also stopped multiple shots in 3-on-3 overtime and made a save in the only round of the ensuing shootout to secure an extra point for the Tigers.
Vernon finished with an NCHC-best 63 saves in regulation and 5-on-5 overtime in the series for a .926 save percentage and a 2.39 goals-against average, while going 0-1-1 with the loss in overtime. On the season, he is now 5-12-2, while he upped his season save percentage to .902 and lowered his season GAA to 3.45 following the series with the Huskies.
Forward of the Week
Tanner Laderoute, So., F, UMD – Tallied three points and was +5 in a sweep of Omaha, dishing out an assist in Friday’s win, while scoring the game-winner and handing out another helper on Saturday.
Defenseman of the Week
Jack Ahcan, Sr., D, SCSU – Totaled three points and seven shots on goal at CC, scoring the game-winner in OT Friday, while assisting on the game-tying goal Saturday late to force overtime, giving him 100 points for his career.
Rookie of the Week
Goaltender of the Week
David Hrenak, Jr., G, SCSU – Backstopped SCSU to a win and tie at CC, totaling 53 saves with four goals allowed for a 1.92 GAA and a .930 save percentage.