EDINA, Minn. – March 14, 2017 – The NCAA's top goal-scorers this past weekend, along with a hot goaltender – all of whom helped their teams advance through the league semifinals and on to this Saturday's championship game – highlight the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for games of March 10-12, 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 Michigan Tech freshman forward Gavin Gould (Rookie of the Week).
Kevin Dufour, Sr., F
Bowling Green (Québec City, Québec)
Dufour continued his late-season surge, scoring four of Bowling Green's six goals as the Falcons upset top-seeded Bemidji State in the semifinal round of the 2017 WCHA Playoffs. The native of Québec City, Québec tied for the NCAA lead in goals last weekend (matching Michigan Tech's Gavin Gould, the WCHA Rookie of the Week), while adding seven shots on goal, two blocked shots and a plus-2 rating in the Falcons' road sweep.
Dufour opened the series with a hat trick, including the tying goal in the third period and the game-winner in overtime, as the Falcons rallied for a 4-3, Game 1 victory. He opened the scoring 9:08 into the contest; then, with his team trailing 3-2 and just 6:30 remaining in regulation, Dufour tipped in a shot for the equalizer. The senior then wrapped up his second hat trick in three weeks, corralling a rebound off the back boards and scoring 17:23 into overtime to swing the series in Bowling Green's favor.
In Saturday's Game 2, Dufour again brought the Falcons even en route to a win. Trailing 1-0 after the first period, he scored the tying goal just 1:35 into the second stanza – a score that held until teammate Matt Pohlkamp netted the series-winning marker at the 3:49 mark of the third period.
This is Dufour's third WCHA weekly award of the 2016-17 season and his fifth career honor.
Chris Nell, Jr., G
Bowling Green (Green Bay, Wis.)
Nell also continued his stellar play, collecting a WCHA-high 70 saves during Bowling Green's semifinal-round sweep of top-seeded Bemidji State. The junior from Green Bay, Wis. made a career-high 45 stops in the Falcons' come-from-behind, 4-3 overtime win in Friday's Game 1, including 15 in the third period and seven more in the 17:23 of extra time. He then turned in a 25-save effort in BGSU's series-clinching Game 2 win; in that contest, he stopped all 17 shots he faced over the final two periods as the Falcons once again rallied to earn a 2-1 triumph. Nell finished the weekend with a 1.75 goals-against average and .946 save percentage, while his 70 saves were one shy of his season series-high. This is Nell's second WCHA weekly award of the 2016-17 season and his third career honor.
Honorable Mention: Angus Redmond, Fr., G, Michigan Tech (backstopped the Huskies to a three-game semifinal series win over Minnesota State, making 64 saves and leading the WCHA with both a .955 save percentage and 1.01 goals-against average).
Gavin Gould, Fr., F
Michigan Tech (North Vancouver, British Columbia)
Gould put on an offensive show in Michigan Tech's semifinal-round series win over Minnesota State, capping a four-goal weekend with a hat trick in the decisive Game 3. The native of North Vancouver, British Columbia led all NCAA rookies in goals, while matching Dufour for the national lead among all skaters – all on just six shots. He also finished with a plus-2 rating as the Huskies earned a chance to play for the league postseason championship.
Gould opened his weekend by scoring the third of Tech's four third-period goals in Game 1, a marker that gave the Huskies a 4-1 lead en route to a 5-1 victory. With the series tied at one game apiece and a trip to the WCHA Championship on the line, the freshman collected his first career hat trick to lead the host Huskies to a 4-1, Game 3 triumph. He opened the scoring with an even-strength goal 7:10 into the contest. With the game then tied, 1-1, Gould scored consecutive power-play goals just one minute, 25 seconds apart to give Michigan Tech a 3-1 lead at the 10:53 mark of the second period.
This is Gould's second WCHA weekly award of his freshman season.