EDINA, Minn. – Jan. 18, 2016 – A pair of seniors who led their team to a key series win over the league front-runner and a rookie netminder who backstopped his squad back into home-ice playoff position highlight the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for Jan. 11-17, 2016. The winners are: Michigan Tech senior forward Alex Petan (Offensive Player of the Week), Michigan Tech senior goaltender Jamie Phillips (Defensive Player of the Week) and Ferris State freshman goaltender Darren Smith (Rookie of the Week).
Alex Petan, Sr., F
Michigan Tech (Delta, British Columbia)
Petan led the WCHA and tied for second nationally with three goals last weekend, helping Michigan Tech take three points from league-leading Minnesota State and vault back into the top 20 of the USCHO.com poll. The senior from Delta, British Columbia tied his career high with two goals in a 3-1 Huskies victory Saturday, including a second-period strike that stood as the game-winner. Petan also scored in the second period Friday, drawing Tech even at 1-1 in a game that eventually finished as a 2-2 draw. The Huskies' co-captain now leads the WCHA with 13 goals overall and 12 in conference play, while pacing the league with 21 points in 17 conference games. This is Petan's second WCHA weekly award of the 2015-16 season and his sixth career accolade (including one Rookie of the Week honor).
Also nominated: Gerry Fitzgerald, So., F, Bemidji State (three points on two goals and one assist as BSU swept Arizona State); Alec Hajdukovich, Sr., F, Alaska (scored OT game-winner Friday at Northern Michigan as part of two-goal, one-assist weekend in split); Jared VanWormer, Jr., F, Ferris State (tallied a point in both games, helping FSU to three points against Alabama Huntsville).
Jamie Phillips, Sr., G
Michigan Tech (Caledonia, Ontario)
Phillips repeated as the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week after backstopping Michigan Tech to a win and tie against league-leading Minnesota State, despite the fact the Huskies were outshot both nights. The senior from Caledonia, Ontario stopped 55-of-58 shots for a .948 save percentage, while finishing with a 1.44 goals-against average. He made 30 saves in a 2-2 tie Friday, including 16 during a scoreless first period and three in overtime. Phillips then turned aside 25-of-26 shots in a 3-1 Tech win Saturday, the first of his career over Minnesota State and the Huskies' first in 10 games dating back to Feb. 4, 2012. This is Phillips' second-consecutive WCHA weekly award, his third of the 2015-16 season and fifth career accolade.
Also nominated: Michael Bitzer, So., G, Bemidji State (2-0-0, 35 saves in back-to-back shutouts over Arizona State); Simon Denis, Sr., D, Ferris State (led WCHA defensemen with three points on a goal and two assists as FSU earned three points against Alabama Huntsville).
Darren Smith, Fr., G
Ferris State (Barrie, Ontario)
Smith got the start both nights last weekend and responded by helping Ferris State earn three points against visiting Alabama Huntsville, vaulting the Bulldogs back into fourth place in the WCHA standings. The freshman from Barrie, Ontario posted a .905 save percentage (38-for-42) with a 1.92 goals-against average in a 3-3 tie Friday and a 4-1 victory Saturday. Ten of Smith's 18 saves Friday came in the third period and overtime, while he notched 20 stops during Saturday's win. This is Smith's first career WCHA weekly award.
Also nominated: Jay Dickman, F, Bemidji State (first career multi-goal game, including game-winner, in BSU's 5-0 win Friday over Arizona State); Mitch Hults, F, Lake Superior State (two goals in LSSU's 4-2 win Saturday over Alaska Anchorage, won 31 face-offs with a .633 percentage in the circle).