EDINA, Minn. – Feb. 27, 2017 – A pair of teammates who helped their squad capture the final home ice position for the league postseason tournament, along with the nation's top scoring freshman from last weekend, highlight the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for games of Feb. 24-25, 2017. The honorees are: Bowling Green senior forward Kevin Dufour (Offensive Player of the Week); Bowling Green junior goaltender Chris Nell (Defensive Player of the Week) and Ferris State redshirt-freshman forward Craig Pefley (Rookie of the Week).
Kevin Dufour, Sr., F
Bowling Green (Québec City, Québec)
Dufour fueled Bowling Green's 7-0 victory over Alabama Huntsville in Friday's series opener with three goals and one assist, jump-starting a sweep that propelled the Falcons into the final home ice slot. The night marked Dufour's first career hat trick, as well as a career-high four-point night. The senior from Québec City, Québec opened the scoring with the eventual game-winner, while his second goal landed the No. 4 spot on the Top 10 list of ESPN's SportsCenter. Dufour added a power-play strike 6:54 into the third period, completing the first hat trick at home by a Bowling Green player since Nov. 26, 2013. He finished the weekend tied for the WCHA lead with four points, while adding six shots on goal and a +3 rating. This is Dufour's second WCHA weekly award of the 2016-17 season and his fourth career honor.
Honorable Mention: Gerry Fitzgerald, Jr., F, Bemidji State (led the Beavers in scoring with two-goals, including the game-winner Friday, as BSU split with visiting Minnesota State); Chad McDonald, Sr., F, Ferris State (tallied three points on two goals and an assist as the Bulldogs picked up a 6-4 win Friday at Lake Superior State en route to a four-point weekend); Gage Torrel, So., F, Lake Superior State (picked up two goals and an assist Friday for the Lakers against Ferris State).
Chris Nell, Jr., G
Bowling Green (Green Bay, Wis.)
Nell backstopped Bowling Green into home ice for the quarterfinal round of the 2017 WCHA Playoffs, posting back-to-back shutouts in a sweep of Alabama Huntsville – and, in the process, setting a school-record for longest scoreless streak. The only goaltender in the country with two shutouts last weekend, Nell ranked third nationally with 71 saves. The junior from Green Bay, Wis. opened the weekend with 33 stops in the Falcons' 7-0 triumph Friday night. Saturday, with home ice on the line, he turned in a season-high 38 saves – including 12 while on the penalty kill – to lead Bowling Green to a 2-0 victory. Following the only weekend with back-to-back shutouts in school history, Nell currently has three-straight clean sheets and an active 207:31 shutout streak, another BG record. He also now has 11 career shutouts, extending his own program record. This is Nell's first WCHA weekly award of the 2016-17 season and his second career honor.
Honorable Mention: Shane Hanna, Sr., D, Michigan Tech (scored the game-winning goal Friday as the Huskies locked up the No. 2 seed for the WCHA Tournament with a 3-2 road win at Northern Michigan); Ryan Lowney, Sr., D, Ferris State (had the game-winning goal and an assist in the Bulldogs' 6-4 win Friday at Lake Superior State, while finishing FSU's four-point weekend with five shots on goal and two blocked shots).
Craig Pefley, RS-Fr., F
Ferris State (St. Clair, Mich.)
Pefley led all NCAA freshmen with four points last weekend, tallying a goal and three assists as Ferris State earned four points on the road at Lake Superior State. All four of his points came in Friday's 6-4 victory that kept the Bulldogs in the running for postseason home ice, including a key power-play goal in the third period to put FSU ahead by two. He also had an assist on the eventual game-winning goal, while his three helpers overall marked a career high. Overall, the freshman from St. Clair, Mich. tied for tops among all WCHA skaters in points, while leading league rookies with 25 face-off wins. This is Pefley's second WCHA weekly award of his redshirt-freshman campaign, as he also opened the season with the same honor.
Honorable Mention: Philip Beaulieu, Fr., D, Northern Michigan (had three assists in the Wildcats' win at Michigan Tech, including the primary helper on the game-winning goal that clinched a postseason berth for NMU); Frederic Letourneau, Fr., F, Bowling Green (earned his first career multi-point outing Friday against Alabama Huntsville, posting an assist on Kevin Dufour's SportsCenter Top-10 goal, while adding a marker of his own in the Falcons' 7-0 victory); Marc Michaelis, Fr., F, Minnesota State (tallied a goal and assist, both on the power play, as the Mavericks split at Bemidji State); Mitch Reinke, Fr., D, Michigan Tech (had a pair of assists, including on the game-winning goal, in the Huskies' 3-2 win Friday at Northern Michigan that locked up the No. 2 seed for the WCHA Tournament); Zach Whitecloud, Fr., D, Bemidji State (led Beaver blue-liners with two assists on a pair of power-play assists, while also was part of a defensive performance that limited visiting Minnesota State to just three goals in a split).