EDINA, Minn. – March 1, 2016 – The penultimate month of the 2015-16 regular season featured frenzied jockeying for playoff and home-ice positioning, and a pair of Upper Peninsula standouts who played key roles for their teams are recognized today in the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) monthly honors for February 2016. Northern Michigan junior forward Dominik Shine was named the league's Player of the Month, while Lake Superior State freshman forward Gage Torrel garnered Rookie of the Month accolades. Both players also earned these same honors in December 2015, becoming the first repeat winners of the nascent award.
Dominik Shine, Jr., F
Northern Michigan (Pinckney, Michigan)
Northern Michigan used a 5-2-1 month to jump into home ice position entering the final weekend of the WCHA's regular season, and Shine's league-best 11 points was a big reason why. The junior from Pickney, Mich. registered at least one point in all eight February contests and will enter March on a nine-game point streak. He tied for ninth nationally for points, tied for 13th with a WCHA-best 1.38 goals-per-game and tied for 11th with a WCHA-high seven assists. While the Wildcats enjoyed their best month of the season, Shine factored in three game-winning goals (scoring the game-winning marker Feb. 19 against Alabama Huntsville and assisting on scores Feb. 13 at Ferris State and Feb. 20 against UAH). He also had a three-point effort (2g-1a) in a 5-4 win Feb. 6 at Alaska Anchorage. Shine is tied for third in the WCHA for overall scoring with 29 points (14g-15a), while tying for second in the conference scoring race with 25 points (12g-13a).
- Mark Cooper, Sr., F, Bowling Green (helped the Falcons go 4-3-0, clinch home ice and remain in the MacNaughton Cup chase by tallying four goals and three assists);
- Gordon Defiel, So., G, Lake Superior State (led WCHA goaltenders with a .939 save percentage and ranked second with a 1.65 goals-against average, finishing the month on a 3-1-1 run to push LSSU into the league playoffs);
- Bryce Gervais, Sr., F, Minnesota State (lifted the Mavericks to the cusp of a regular season title with a WCHA-high-tying six goals, along with two assists during MSU's 3-1-2 month);
- Gerald Mayhew, Jr. F, Ferris State (scored a team-leading three goals, along with four assists, to keep the Bulldogs in the home ice chase);
- Max Vallis, Sr., F, Michigan Tech (after entering the month with only six career goals to his name, tied for the WCHA lead with six markers, helping Tech go 5-1-0 to remain in the thick of the title chase).
Gage Torrel, Fr., F
Lake Superior State (Monticello, Minnesota)
Torrel, part of Lake Superior State's talented rookie corps, led all WCHA freshmen (and tied for 15th nationally) with seven points as the Lakers clinched a playoff berth with a 3-1-0 run to end February. The freshman from Monticello, Minn. also tied for the league rookie lead with four goals, while pacing freshmen with a 0.88 points-per-game mark and three power-play points (1g-2a). Torrel tied for fifth in the WCHA overall for scoring and third in goals, while he notched a pair of assists on game-winning goals (Feb. 13 vs. Bemidji State and Feb. 26 vs. Northern Michigan). He also keyed a LSSU penalty-kill unit that led the WCHA with a 92.9 percentage in February, while playing on a power-play group that was fifth with a 15.4 mark. Torrel wrapped up the month by helping Lake Superior State earn the Cappo Cup with a three-point weekend against NMU, including factoring in both goals during Saturday's Cup-clinching, 2-2 tie.
- Stephen Baylis, Fr., F, Bowling Green (scored all of his six points – two goals and four assists – in BGSU's four wins, including victories over Minnesota State, Alaska and Ferris State);
- Corey Mackin, Fr., F, Ferris State (led WCHA freshmen with five assists and a +5 rating, including three helpers in a key 5-1 win over Northern Michigan).