COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – On the final weekend of the NCHC regular season, seniors and upperclassmen stole the spotlight on Senior Weekend, with fourth-years claiming half of the week 22 Bauer National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Players of the Week, while a junior also picked up an award. Garnering Bauer NCHC weekly honors for the week of March 2-8, 2020 are Western Michigan senior Hugh McGing for Forward of the Week, Minnesota Duluth junior Dylan Samberg for Defenseman of the Week, UMD senior Hunter Shepard for Goaltender of the Week and Denver freshman goaltender Magnus Chrona for Rookie of the Week. These are the final NCHC weekly honors for the 2019-20 season.
McGing, Samberg and Chrona all collected their first career NCHC weekly honor on the final weekend of the regular season, with McGing doing so in his last chance. Shepard, meanwhile, gloved his NCHC-leading seventh Goaltender of the Week award this season and the 16th of his career.
Hugh McGing, Western Michigan
McGing saved one of the best weekends of his career for his final regular-season home games, racking up five points in a sweep of rival Miami. In Friday’s 5-2 win, the St. Louis Blues draft pick scored WMU’s second goal of the game to put the Broncos up 2-0 in the first period and fired six shots on goal. The next night on Senior Night, McGing recorded a career-high four points in an 8-4 drubbing of the RedHawks. The team captain recorded his first collegiate hat trick, scoring WMU’s third, sixth and eighth goals, while also earning a primary assist on the game-winning goal on the power play. He fired seven shots on goal and was +4 in Saturday’s win, while earning Second Star of the Game.
McGing finished the sweep with NCHC bests of four goals and 13 shots on goal on the weekend, while adding an assist, posting a +5 plus/minus and blocking a shot. He also went 12-6 in the faceoff circle for a 66.7 faceoff win percentage. On the season, McGing leads the Broncos in all three scoring categories with 13 goals, 22 assists and 35 points.
Dylan Samberg, Minnesota Duluth
Samberg had one of the best offensive weekends of his career, racking up four points in a sweep of St. Cloud State. Defensively, he helped limit the Huskies to only two goals all weekend (one each night), while also anchoring penalty kill unit that was perfect on the weekend.
In Friday’s 4-1 victory over SCSU, Samberg was held off the scoresheet, but still fired four shots on goal, blocked two shots and posted a +2 plus/minus. He also helped the penalty kill go 3-for-3. The next night, the Winnipeg Jets prospect dished out a career-high four assists in a 6-1 victory, including three primary helpers. His first assist came on the game’s first goal only 1:36 into the contest, while he then dished out the primary assist on the Bulldogs’ third, fourth and fifth goals, all in the decisive second period. Samberg finished Saturday’s game +4 and earned Third Star of the Game.
Samberg ended the weekend with four assists and a +6 plus/minus, which tied for the NCHC lead on the weekend, while he was not on the ice for a goal against. He also fired six shots on goal, blocked two shots and helped UMD’s penalty kill finish 6-for-6 in the sweep. On the season, he now has 21 points, 20 of which are assists, to go with a +17 plus/minus.
Hunter Shepard, Minnesota Duluth
Shepard continued his stellar senior campaign by backstopping the Bulldogs to a sweep of in-state rival St. Cloud State last weekend, his eighth sweep in net this season. He allowed only one goal each night in his final home games of the regular season, while helping UMD’s penalty kill finish perfect on the weekend.
In Friday’s 4-1 victory, Shepard made 22 saves, including 16 over the final two periods after allowing a first-period goal, to earn First Star of the Game. He also helped kill off all three Husky power plays with five short-handed saves. The next night, UMD’s co-captain made 29 more saves in a 6-1 victory, with SCSU’s lone goal coming late in the second period when the Bulldogs were already up 4-0. Shepard again made five short-handed saves to kill all three SCSU man advantages.
Shepard finished the weekend with 51 saves on 53 shots faced for a .962 save percentage and a 1.01 goals-against average, both tops in the NCHC among goalies who played both games last weekend. Ten of his 51 saves came short-handed to help the UMD penalty kill go 6-for-6 in the sweep. He slightly upped his save percentage to .918 on the season, while lowering his GAA to 2.18 from 2.26. With the two wins, Shepard is now 22-10-2 on the season, having started every game in net for UMD this season.
Magnus Chrona, Denver
Chrona started both games of a weekend series for the first time since Jan. 10-11 and did not disappoint, backstopping the Pioneers to a win, tie and a five-point weekend against in-state rival Colorado College. The Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick led the NCHC in saves on the final weekend of the regular season, allowing only three goals, while helping the Pioneers win back the Gold Pan trophy from the Tigers.
On Friday, Chrona made 36 saves, his third-highest total of the season, in a 2-2 overtime tie at CC. Both goals he allowed came in the final six minutes of regulation and both came with a CC man advantage, the first on the power play and the second with an extra attacker. Half of his 36 stops came in the third period and overtime, while he made two more saves in 3-on-3 overtime and stopped CC’s shootout attempt to help DU pick up the extra NCHC point in the standings. A night later in Denver, Chrona turned aside 22 shots in a 5-1 victory, including four short-handed saves to help DU finish 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Chrona completed the series with an NCHC-best 58 saves on 61 shots faced for a .951 save percentage and a 1.45 goals-against average. In going 1-0-1 on the weekend, he upped his record to 16-6-4 on the season, while improving his season save percentage to .920 and lowering his GAA to 2.15.
Forward of the Week
Koby Bender, Jr., F, UMD – Tallied three goals in a sweep of SCSU, scoring the game-winner Friday, while tallying his first career multi-goal game on Saturday.
Cole Smith, Sr., F, UND – Tallied a goal and an assist in Saturday’s win at Omaha.
Defenseman of the Week
Jacob Bernard-Docker, So., D, UND – Recorded three points in Saturday’s win at Omaha, scoring two goals while adding an assist, and finished +2 in the series.
Cam Lee, Sr., D, WMU – Tied an NCHC record with five assists in Saturday’s win over Miami, while finishing the sweep +6.
Goaltender of the Week
Peter Thome, Jr., G, UND – In his only action of the weekend, blanked Omaha with a 17-save shutout on Saturday, his second of the season.
Rookie of the Week
Shane Pinto, Fr., F, UND – Dished out an assist on the game-winning goal Saturday, while going 35-6 (.854) in the faceoff circle in a split at Omaha.
Jason Polin, Fr., F, WMU – Scored two goals in Friday’s win over Miami for his first career multi-goal game.