COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Rookies shined in the first weekend of 2021, claiming three of four National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) weekly honors for the week of Dec. 28 to Jan. 3. In addition three of the honorees for week 4 of the season earned repeat recognition after also claiming awards for the final week of play in 2020. Garnering Bauer NCHC Players of the Week for week 4 are:
Persson becomes only the second NCHC netminder to win three straight NCHC Goaltender of the Week awards, joining North Dakota’s Cam Johnson in November and December of 2015. Perbix picked up his second consecutive Defenseman of the Week honor and third career NCHC weekly award, earning Rookie of the Week once in 2018-19. Miettinen was recognized for a second straight week, after receiving Rookie of the Week to close the NCHC Pod in 2020. This is McKown’s first career NCHC weekly honor.
Veeti Miettinen, St. Cloud State
Miettinen led all NCHC skaters with five points on the first weekend of 2021, helping St. Cloud State to a four-point weekend against rival Minnesota Duluth. He also stretched his goal-scoring streak to five games with goals each night. In Saturday’s series opener, the Finn assisted on SCSU’s first goal, before scoring the Huskies’ second goal, both on the power play, tying the game each time in an eventual 4-3 overtime defeat.
The next night, Miettinen tied a career high with three points as he had a hand in all three goals in SCSU’s 3-1 victory over the Bulldogs. The Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick opened the scoring Sunday early in the second period with a great individual effort, then had the primary assist on a tic-tac-toe, game-winning goal late in the third period to break a deadlock. He also added a power play goal minutes later to seal the victory.
Miettinen finished the weekend with three goals, two assists, seven shots on goal and a +2 plus/minus. On the season, he is tied for second in the NCHC with 13 points on seven goals and six assists.
Nick Perbix, St. Cloud State
Elk River, Minn.
Perbix was strong once again on St. Cloud State’s blue line in their weekend series with No. 4 Minnesota Duluth to repeat as Defenseman of the Week. In Saturday’s series opener, he dished out an assist on all three of the Huskies goals in their 4-3 overtime loss to UMD. All three helpers came on the power play and marked his second three-point game this season. The next night, the Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick helped limit the Bulldogs to one goal in a 3-1 victory, while blocking two shots.
Perbix finished the series with three assists, three shots on goal, four blocked shots with two each night, and an even plus/minus. On the season, he leads all NCHC blue liners with 12 points this season, tallying four goals and eight assists.
Ludvig Persson, Miami
Persson continued his dominance in net, backstopping Miami to its first road sweep since January of 2016 with a pair of wins at Western Michigan. The December NCHC Goaltender of the Month gloved his third straight NCHC Goaltender of the Week nod after allowing only one goal in each game against the Broncos in Kalamazoo.
In Saturday’s series opener, Persson compiled 27 saves in a 3-1 victory, including a diving stop in the final minute with an extra Broncos attacker on the ice to preserve the win. In Sunday’s finale, the Swede made 31 more saves, while helping kill off all four WMU power plays in a 5-1 victory.
Persson finished the weekend 2-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and a .967 save percentage after turning aside 58 of 60 shots against Western Michigan. On the season, the freshman ranks second nationally with a .963 save percentage and is fourth in the NCAA with a 1.13 GAA, both of which lead the NCHC, while he is now 4-2-1 in net on the season with two shutouts.
Hunter McKown, Colorado College
San Jose, Calif.
McKown had his best game as a Tiger to open 2021, helping Colorado College to a weekend split with Gold Pan rival and then-No. 16 Denver. In Friday’s New Year’s Day opener, McKown quadrupled his season point total, tallying a career-high three points in a 4-3 victory over DU in Colorado Springs. He played a role in CC’s final three goals Friday, scoring the Tigers’ second goal with a nifty move to put them in front, while dishing out the primary assist on CC’s next two goals, including the game-winner in the third period. They were his first collegiate assists, as well, and marked his first points since the Dec. 8 season opener. McKown became the first CC player with three points in a game against Denver since Dec. 8, 2017.
In Saturday’s home-and-home finale, McKown fired one shot on goal in a loss at Denver. He finished the series with a goal, two assists, three shots on goal and an even plus/minus. On the season, he now has four points on two goals and assists each.
Forward of the Week
Jackson Cates, Jr., Minnesota Duluth
Phil Knies, Sr., Miami
Brett Stapley, Jr., Denver
Defenseman of the Week
Wyatt Kaiser, Fr., Minnesota Duluth
Goaltender of the Week
David Hrenak, Sr., St. Cloud State
Rookie of the Week
Joe Cassetti, F, Miami
Wyatt Kaiser, D, Minnesota Duluth
Carter Savoie, F, Denver