COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – With only a limited number of games over the holiday break, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) announced its Bauer NCHC Players of the Week for the weeks of Dec. 20-Jan. 4 on Monday, taking into consideration all NCAA games played during that time. The winners for week 11 of the season are Omaha sophomore forward Austin Ortega for Offensive Player of the Week, Western Michigan sophomore blue liner Taylor Fleming for Defenseman of the Week, Denver freshman forward Danton Heinen for Rookie of the Week and Miami junior netminder Jay Williams for Goaltender of the Week. Heinen and Williams have now captured their weekly honors three times a piece this season.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Austin Ortega, Omaha
Ortega led the Mavericks to a 2-1-1 record in four games while totaling four points in those games on three goals and an assist. After putting four shots on goal in a win over Alabama-Huntsville Dec. 20, he scored two goals the next night, both on the power play, to rally UNO to a 3-3 tie with UAH. Ortega then added two more points in Omaha’s split with New Hampshire Dec. 30-31. In the series opener, he scored the game-winning goal with 1:15 left in overtime, giving him a school record seven game-winners this year and the Mavs a 2-1 win. Ortega dished out an assist on a power play goal the next night in a loss. He was named the game’s second star Dec. 21 vs. UAH and the first star in the win over UNH. Ortega put 17 shots on goal in the two series. His 12 goals this year are a career high, as are his 22 points, which tie for the NCHC lead.
DEFENSEMAN OF THE WEEK
Taylor Fleming, Western Michigan
Fleming helped Western Michigan take third place at the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh Dec. 29-30, chipping in three assists while also holding down the blue line. In the opener against No. 14 and eventual champion Colgate, he dished out an assist on WMU’s only goal in a 2-1 loss. The next day, he handed out a pair of helpers, including one on the game-winner, in a 4-1 win over No. 20 Penn State. In addition, he anchored a penalty kill unit that went 6-for-6 at the tournament, including 4-for-4 against Penn State and a five-minute power play for the Raiders. Fleming also blocked five shots in the tournament, including three against Colgate, and had a +1 rating over the two games.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Danton Heinen, Denver
Heinen continued his strong rookie season with five points, including two goals, at the Ledyard Classic, helping Denver finish second at the showcase tournament. The Boston Bruins prospect scored the Pioneers’ only goal in a 1-1 overtime tie against host Dartmouth Jan. 2, while he was also the only Pioneer to score in the ensuing shootout loss. The next day, Heinen posted a career-high four points with a goal and three assists in a 5-3 win over Brown. He scored late in the second period to tie the game and then assisted on DU’s final three goals, including the game-winner, all in the third period. Heinen posted a +4 rating in the win over Brown and was +3 on the weekend. He was named to the Ledyard Classic All-Tournament Team, as well.
GOALTENDER OF THE WEEK
Jay Williams, Miami
Williams was stellar in his two starts over the holiday break, pitching a shutout in both contests for a perfect 1.000 save percentage and a pristine 0.00 goals-against average. In his first start Dec. 29, he stopped 15 shots and helped kill two power plays in a 3-0 win over Cornell in the third place game of the Florida College Hockey Classic. Less than a week later on Jan. 3, Williams compiled 22 saves and helped fend off three opponent power plays in a 3-0 shutout at RPI to complete a sweep of the Engineers. He totaled 37 saves in his two appearances and now has four shutouts on the season, which ties for the NCAA lead, while improving his GAA to 1.54 on the year, which ranks third nationally.
Offensive Player of the Week
Austin Czarnik, Sr., F, Miami – Totaled five points in four games with three assists at the Florida College Hockey Classic en route to All-Tournament Team honors and a goal and an assist in a sweep of RPI.
Trevor Moore, So., F, DU – Tallied a career-high four points and a +4 rating in a win over Brown Jan. 3, recording his first hat trick, including the game-winning goal, and adding an assist while being named to the Ledyard Classic All-Tournament Team.
Sam Rothstein, So., F, CC – Compiled three points in a series at Providence, scoring a goal in both games while assisting on the late tying goal in an overtime loss Jan. 3.
Defenseman of the Week
Rookie of the Week
Aidan Muir, Fr., F, WMU – Scored three goals at the Three Rivers Classic, tallying WMU’s lone goal in a loss to Colgate before striking twice, including the game-winner, in a 4-1 win over Penn State for his first multi-goal game.
Tyler Vesel, Fr., F, Omaha – Assisted on all four goals in Omaha’s two wins over the holiday break, including two in a 2-1 win over Alabama-Huntsville Dec. 20 and two more in a 2-1 win over New Hampshire Dec. 30 when he assisted on the game-winner in overtime.
Goaltender of the Week