EDINA, Minn. – Nov. 1, 2016 – The leading point-producer on the nation's most prolific offense through the season's first month, along with a consistently high-scoring rookie, have earned men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) monthly honors for October 2016. For their efforts, Lake Superior State sophomore forward Mitch Hults was named Player of the Month and Ferris State redshirt freshman forward Craig Pefley garnered Rookie of the Month honors.
Mitch Hults, So., F
Lake Superior State (Stoughton, Wis.)
Hults was the top performer for a Lake Superior State team that leads the nation with 5.00 goals per game (minimum three games played), tallying four goals and seven assists in six contests. The sophomore from Stoughton, Wis. is tied for the WCHA lead with 11 points (tied for fifth in the NCAA), while pacing the league with averages of 1.83 points per game (11th NCAA) and 0.67 goals per contest (t-33rd NCAA). His 1.17 assists per contest ranks second in the WCHA and is tied for 12th nationally, while his five power-play points (1g-4a) are third in the league. Hults has helped the Lakers to a 5-1-0 start – the program's best since the 1995-96 season – by recording at least one point in each of LSSU's first six games, along with a trio of multi-point efforts. The second-year player posted four points (1a-3g) in the Lakers' season-opening sweep of Michigan State (Oct. 14-15), tallied three (1g-2a) in two road wins at Alabama Huntsville (Oct. 21-22), and had a four-point weekend (2g-2a) as LSSU split with visiting Alaska (Oct. 28-29). Hults finished the month with a +6 rating as the Lakers – picked to finish in the bottom half of the league standings – enter November in fourth place, with two games in-hand on the three teams above them. This is Hults' first WCHA monthly honor.
Honorable Mention: Michael Bitzer, Jr., G, Bemidji State (cemented his standing as one of the nation's top goaltenders, leading the NCAA with 487:27 minutes played, three shutouts and six wins, going 6-2-0 with a 1.38 goals-against average and .941 save percentage for the No. 18 Beavers); Daniel Brickley, So., D, Minnesota State (despite missing the last two games due to injury, shared the NCAA lead for scoring by a defensemen – and tied for 13th among all skaters – with 10 points on one goal and nine assists for the No. 10 Mavericks).
Craig Pefley, RS-Fr., F
Ferris State (St. Clair, Mich.)
Pefley had a strong start to his collegiate career, tying for the WCHA and NCAA lead among all skaters with nine assists in his first nine games. He also added two goals for 11 points, which tied for the national rookie lead, tied for fifth among all NCAA skaters and tied for most in the WCHA. The freshman from St. Clair, Mich. had at least one point in seven of Ferris State's nine games, including four multi-point contests. He opened the season with WCHA Rookie of the Week accolades following a four-assist weekend against Alabama Huntsville (Oct. 1-2), while he also had three points (1g-2a) in the Bulldogs' split at then-No. 9 Minnesota State to end the month (Oct. 28-29). In between, he logged three assists against Western Michigan (Oct. 6-7) and had a goal and assist Oct. 21 against Northern Michigan. Pefley finished the month with a +2 rating, led the WCHA with 105 face-off wins and tied for third with five power-play points (1g-4a).
Honorable Mention: Brayden Gelsinger, Fr., F, Lake Superior State (led WCHA rookies and tied for fifth nationally with an average of 1.33 points per game, recording three goals and five assists for eight points in six contests for the 5-1-0 Lakers); Marc Michaelis, Fr., F, Minnesota State (led the No. 10 Mavericks and tied for third among NCAA rookies with 10 points, scoring three goals and handing out seven assists in his first eight collegiate games).