EDINA, Minn. – Nov. 23, 2015 – A clutch offensive performance and two standout efforts between the pipes highlight the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for Nov. 16-22, 2015. The honorees are: Michigan Tech junior forward Tyler Heinonen (Offensive Player of the Week), Lake Superior State sophomore goaltender Gordon Defiel (Defensive Player of the Week) and Northern Michigan freshman goaltender Atte Tolvanen (Rookie of the Week).
Tyler Heinonen, Jr., F
Michigan Tech (Delano, Minnesota)
Heinonen helped ensure Michigan Tech's first voyage to East Lansing in 29 years was a memorable – and undefeated – trip, as the junior led the WCHA and ranked second nationally with six points on three goals and three assists. The Delano, Minn. native capped a career-best four-point game in style Saturday night, scoring the overtime game-winner to lift the No. 19 Huskies to a 5-4 win – their first at Michigan State since Dec. 12, 1981. Heinonen had a hand in four of Tech's five goals, tying the game 3-3 with an unassisted marker in the second period and helping on two others – including Mark Auk's tying goal with just 1:40 remaining in regulation. Sunday night, he helped MTU erase a two goal-deficit and earn a 4-4 draw over the final four minutes by scoring at the 16:07 mark of the third period and assisting on the tying score with just 51 seconds remaining. Heinonen finished the weekend with a +5 rating and 13 shots on goal.
Also nominated: Matt Pohlkamp, Jr., F, Bowling Green; Kyle Schempp, Jr., F, Ferris State
Gordon Defiel, So., G
Lake Superior State (Stillwater, Minnesota)
Defiel led the WCHA and ranked second nationally with 80 saves (on 83 shots), backstopping Lake Superior State to a three-point league road weekend at Bemidji State. The sophomore from Stillwater, Minn. made 33 saves in a 3-2 Lakers' win Friday night, including stopping all five shots in the third period to preserve the one-goal victory. Saturday, the Lakers were outshot by 17, but Defiel lifted LSSU to the 1-1 tie with a career-best 47 saves. His effort included turning back a combined 14 BSU shots in the third period and overtime. Defiel finished the weekend with a 1.44 goals-against average and .964 save percentage.
Also nominated: Mark Auk, So., D, Michigan Tech; Mark Friedman, So., D, Bowling Green; Jordan Klimek, So., D, Northern Michigan; Zac Tierney, Fr., D, Ferris State
Atte Tolvanen, Fr., G
Northern Michigan (Vihti, Finland)
Tolvanen stopped 63 of 66 Minnesota State shots to help host Northern Michigan, which was outshot 66-28 on the weekend, earn two WCHA points with a pair of ties. The freshman from Vihti, Finland ranked second in the WCHA with a 1.38 goals-against average and third with a .955 save percentage, pacing league rookies in both categories. He made 30 saves in a 1-1 tie Friday night and had 33 stops during a 1-1 deadlock Saturday, while turning aside 20-of-21 shots faced in the third period and overtime over the two games. Tolvanen has now earned four WCHA weekly awards this season, while this is his third Rookie of the Week accolade.
Also nominated: Jetlan Houcher, Fr., F, Alabama Huntsville; Mitch Hults, Fr., F, Lake Superior State; Jesse Jenks, Fr., F, Alaska; Jake Lucchini, Fr., F, Michigan Tech; Darren Smith, Fr., G, Ferris State