BLOOMINGTON, Mn. March 8, 2018 – Before the league’s postseason tournament continues with this weekend’s playoff semifinals, the Men’s League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) is proud to recognize the 27 student-athletes represented on its 2017-18 All-WCHA Teams, along with the 151 All-Academic Team honorees.
“This has been a tremendous season, with our student-athletes once again showcasing the passion, intensity and competitiveness that have long been WCHA hallmarks,” said WCHA President and Men’s League Commissioner Bill Robertson. “With nine schools represented on All-WCHA teams, along with all 10 having robust numbers of All-Academic honorees, today again showcases the commitment each of our institutions has to all-around excellence. We are proud of each All-WCHA honoree for their athletic and academic successes; and, we applaud them for a wonderful year.”
The four teams competing in this weekend’s semifinal round of the 2018 WCHA Playoffs are well-represented, with 21 players on All-WCHA Teams from Minnesota State (nine), Northern Michigan (six), Bowling Green (five) and Michigan Tech (1).
The three All-WCHA First Team forwards are now finalists for the 2017-18 WCHA Offensive Player of the Year, the two All-WCHA First Team defensemen are candidates for the Defensive Player of the Year and the eight players (with ties) on the WCHA All-Rookie Team are eligible for the Rookie of the Year. Those awards will be announced next Tuesday (March 13).
2017-18 All-WCHA First Team
The high-flying All-WCHA First Team forward line consists of league scoring champion C.J. Suess (Forest Lake, Minn.) of Minnesota State, teammate Marc Michaelis (Mannheim, Germany) and Northern Michigan’s Troy Loggins (Huntington Beach, Calif). Suess became the first Mavericks skater to capture the WCHA scoring title, as the senior compiled 36 points on a league-best 19 goals (tied) and 17 assists in 28 conference games, while also adding a WCHA-high plus-19 rating. Michaelis, the 2016-17 WCHA Rookie of the Year and lone repeat first-team performer, topped the league by averaging 1.33 points-per-game in 24 WCHA contests as a sophomore, tallying 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points (tied for second). Loggins was third in the league with 16 WCHA goals during his junior campaign, added 12 assists for 28 points and matched Michaelis for the league lead with three shorthanded tallies.
The All-WCHA First team defensemen are Alaska senior Zach Frye (Spokane, Wash.) and Bowling Green sophomore Alec Rauhauser (Bismarck, N.D.), who finished one-two for scoring among league blueliners. Frye was tops in nearly every offensive category during league play, leading WCHA defensemen with eight goals (tied), 20 assists (tied), 28 points, 0.29 goals- and 0.71 assists-per-game (both tied), 1.00 points-per-contest, two game-winning goals (tied), 102 shots on goal and 3.64 shots-per-game. He was also tied for fifth with 41 blocked shots, while playing all 28 contests. Rauhauser built upon his WCHA All-Rookie season with a stellar sophomore campaign, ranking second among league blueliners with a plus-16 rating, while tallying six goals, 20 assists, 26 points, two game-winning goals and a league defenseman-best 13 power-play helpers (and WCHA-high 16 power-play points) in 28 games.
Northern Michigan’s Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland) is the All-WCHA First Team goaltender. Despite missing six games due to injury, the junior tied for the league lead with 17 WCHA wins in 22 starts. Tolvanen ranked second in the WCHA with a .773 winning percentage (17-5-0), a .917 save percentage, and two shutouts (tied), while he finished third with a 2.05 goals-against average.
2017-18 All-WCHA Second Team
Bowling Green senior Mitch McLain (Baxter, Minn.), Northern Michigan junior Adam Rockwood (Coquitlam, British Columbia) and Alabama Huntsville senior Josh Kestner (Huntsville, Ala.) are the All-WCHA Second Team forwards. McLain tied for fourth in the WCHA with 15 goals in league play, while adding nine assists for 24 points in his 28 games. In his first season in Marquette after transferring from Wisconsin, Rockwood led the WCHA with 24 league assists and tied for second in the scoring race with 32 points overall (he also enters this weekend’s semifinals with 38 assists overall – the most by a WCHA skater since the 2012-13 season). Kestner earned the highest All-WCHA Team spot in UAH history after tying for the league lead with 19 goals in 28 conference games, while scoring a league-best nine power-play goals (his 24 goals overall tied the Chargers’ Division I-era single-season record).
The All-WCHA Second Team blue line is manned by Minnesota State junior Daniel Brickley (Sandy, Utah) and Northern Michigan sophomore Philip Beaulieu (Duluth, Minn.). Brickley tied for the WCHA goal-scoring lead among defensemen with eight, finished third with 23 points in 28 league games, tied for tops with two game-winning goals, was second with 14 power-play points (4g-10a), tied for 10th with 38 blocked shots and ranked third with a plus-15 rating. Beaulieu also excelled on both ends of the ice, finishing fourth among league blueliners with 22 points (5g-17a) in 28 WCHA games, tied for third with 11 power-play points (1g-10a) and tied for first with two game-winning goals.
Bemidji State senior goaltender Michael Bitzer (Moorhead, Minn.) wrapped up his record-breaking career with a spot on the All-WCHA Second Team. The WCHA’s only netminder to start all 28 league games, Bitzer was tops with four conference shutouts (part of his league-record 21 overall, the second-most in NCAA Division I men’s hockey history). He posted a 13-9-6 WCHA record with a 2.08 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.
2017-18 All-WCHA Third Team
Minnesota State senior Zeb Knutson (Sioux Falls, S.D.) joins a pair of Northern Michigan skaters – sophomore Darien Craighead (Surrey, British Columbia) and senior Robbie Payne (Gaylord, Mich.) – on the All-WCHA Third Team forward line. Knutson has enjoyed a career year and tied for second in the WCHA scoring race with 32 points (10g-22a) in league play, while also ranking third for assists, second with 15 power-play points (3g-12a) and tied for sixth with a plus-14 rating. One of six players with double-digit goals and assists, Craighead was arguably the league’s top clutch performer with a WCHA-best six-game winning goals in conference play, part of his 15 goals (tied for fourth) and 26 points overall (11 assists). Payne scored 14 goals in WCHA play (including five on the power play), while adding seven assists for 21 points.
A tie for the second spot gives us three All-WCHA Third Team defensemen. Minnesota State sophomore Ian Scheid (Coon Rapids, Minn.) had six goals and 13 assists for 19 points in WCHA games, while tying for third among blueliners with 11 power-play points (4g-7a) and tying for fourth with a plus-13 rating. Ferris State junior Ryker Killins (Wawa, Ontario) scored a WCHA defenseman-best five power-play goals, part of his overall six-goal, 11-assist, 17-point effort in league games. Michigan Tech sophomore Mitch Reinke (Stillwater, Minn.) missed seven games but still contributed two goals, 13 assists (15 points), five power-play points (1g-4a), 33 blocked shots and a plus-4 rating in his 21 WCHA contests.
The All-WCHA Third Team goaltender is Minnesota State senior Connor LaCouvee (Qualicum Beach, British Columbia), who was the WCHA Goaltending Champion with a 1.67 goals-against average in league play, while also leading the conference with an .875 winning percentage and 17 wins (tied). A transfer from Boston University, LaCouvee went 17-2-1 with a .915 save percentage and two shutouts for the MacNaughton Cup champion Mavericks.
2017-18 WCHA All-Rookie Team
In a league that skates five of the NCAA’s top-20 scoring freshmen overall, it is no wonder that coaches found voting hard going, resulting in a three-way tie for the third forward spot on the WCHA All-Rookie Team forward line. The first spot goes to Minnesota State’s Jake Jaremko (Nowthen, Minn.), who was xx in the overall scoring race, led WCHA freshmen in league play with 31 points, 11 goals, 0.39 goals-per-game, 1.11 points-per-game, six power-play goals (tied) and 12 power-play points (tied), and was second with 20 assists and a plus-13 rating. He is joined by Bowling Green’s Brandon Kruse (Saline, Mich.), who paced league rookies with 21 assists, 0.75 assists-per-game and eight power-play helpers in WCHA contests, while ranking second with 25 points (also four goals).
The three-way forward tie occurred between Alaska’s Steven Jandric (Prince George, British Columbia), Bowling Green’s Max Johnson (Lakeville, Minn.) and Minnesota State’s Reggie Lutz (Elk River, Minn). Jandric’s debut season included 14 league assists (fourth among WCHA rookies), along with three goals, 17 points and a plus-5 rating. Johnson was third among freshmen with nine WCHA goals, tied for the league rookie lead with six power-play markers and was tied for fourth with 19 points (also 10 assists). Lutz paced WCHA freshmen with a plus-14 rating in his 25 conference games, tied for first with three game-winning goals and was third with 22 points (6g-16a).
Minnesota State’s Connor Mackey (Tower Lakes, Ill.) and Alaska Anchorage’s Eric Sinclair (Kenora, Ontario) are the WCHA All-Rookie Team defensemen. Mackey led his freshman blue line peers with a plus-9 rating in WCHA games, while tying for tops with 10 points, two goals, eight assists and three power-play helpers. Sinclair paced rookie defensemen with 41 blocked shots in league games, tied for first with two goals and was tops with 40 shots on goal (he also added four assists for six points).
Bowling Green’s Eric Dop (Lewis Center, Ohio) is in the All-Rookie Team net. Dop led freshman WCHA goaltenders with six wins and a 2.59 goals-against average in league games, going 6-3-2 with an .897 save percentage in his 11 conference starts.
About the 2017-18 All-WCHA Teams
WCHA Men’s League member team head coaches vote for the All-WCHA selections. Points for All-WCHA Teams are awarded on a five-point (First Team vote), three-point (Second Team vote), and one-point (Third Team vote) basis, while the WCHA All-Rookie Team is determined by total votes received. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players.
2017-18 ALL-WCHA TEAMS
PLAYER (YEAR / HOMETOWN) POSITION SCHOOL
#@C.J. Suess (Sr. / Forest Lake, Minn.) Forward Minnesota State University
%&Marc Michaelis (So. / Mannheim, Germany) Forward Minnesota State University
Troy Loggins (Jr. / Huntington Beach, Calif.) Forward Northern Michigan University
Zach Frye (Sr. / Spokane, Wash.) Defenseman University of Alaska Fairbanks
&Alec Rauhauser (So. / Bismarck, N.D.) Defenseman Bowling Green State University
#!Atte Tolvanen (Jr. / Vihti, Finland) Goaltender Northern Michigan University
PLAYER (YEAR / HOMETOWN) POSITION SCHOOL
%Mitch McLain (Sr. / Baxter, Minn.) Forward Bowling Green State University
Adam Rockwood (Jr. / Coquitlam, British Columbia) Forward Northern Michigan University
Josh Kestner (Sr. / Huntsville, Ala.) Forward University of Alabama in Huntsville
%!Daniel Brickley (Jr. / Sandy, Utah) Defenseman Minnesota State University
Philip Beaulieu (So. / Duluth, Minn.) Defenseman Northern Michigan University
%@Michael Bitzer (Sr. / Moorhead, Minn.) Goaltender Bemidji State University
PLAYER (YEAR / HOMETOWN) POSITION SCHOOL
Zeb Knutson (Sr. / Sioux Falls, S.D.) Forward Minnesota State University
&Darien Craighead (So. / Surrey, British Columbia) Forward Northern Michigan University
Robbie Payne (Sr. / Gaylord, Mich.) Forward Northern Michigan University
&Ian Scheid (So. / Coon Rapids, Minn.) Defenseman Minnesota State University
*Ryker Killins (Jr. / Wawa, Ontario) Defenseman Ferris State University
*&Mitch Reinke (So. / Stillwater, Minn.) Defenseman Michigan Technological University
Connor LaCouvee (Sr. / Qualicum Beach, British Columbia) Goaltender Minnesota State University
PLAYER (YEAR / HOMETOWN) POSITION SCHOOL
Jake Jaremko (Fr. / Nowthen, Minn.) Forward Minnesota State University
Brandon Kruse (Fr. / Saline, Mich.) Forward Bowling Green State University
^Steven Jandric (Fr. / Prince George, British Columbia) Forward University of Alaska Fairbanks
^Max Johnson (Fr. / Lakeville, Minn.) Forward Bowling Green State University
^Reggie Lutz (Fr. / Elk River, Minn.) Forward Minnesota State University
Connor Mackey (Fr. / Tower Lakes, Ill.) Defenseman Minnesota State University
Eric Sinclair (Fr. / Kenora, Ontario) Defenseman University of Alaska Anchorage
Eric Dop (Fr. / Lewis Center, Ohio) Goaltender Bowling Green State University
* - denotes tie for second All-WCHA Third Team defenseman spot
^ - denotes three-way tie for third WCHA All-Rookie Team forward spot
% - denotes 2016-17 All-WCHA First Team
# - denotes 2016-17 All-WCHA Second Team
& - denotes 2016-17 WCHA All-Rookie Team
! – denotes 2015-16 WCHA All-Rookie Team
@ - denotes 2014-15 WCHA All-Rookie Team
2017-18 WCHA All-Academic Team
A total of 151 student-athletes, representing all 10 WCHA Men’s League member institutions, have earned distinction as members of the 2017-18 WCHA All-Academic Team. To earn recognition as a member of the WCHA All-Academic Team, student-athletes must have completed one year of eligibility at their present institution prior to the current academic year, have a grade-point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale) for the previous two semesters or three quarters, or may qualify if overall GPA is at least 3.0 for all terms at the present institution.
Following, by member institution, are the 2017-18 WCHA All-Academic Team honorees:
University of Alabama in Huntsville
Austin Beaulieu (So., F, Coral Springs, Fla.); Richard Buri (Sr., D, Nitra, Slovakia); Cody Champagne (Sr., D, Brookfield, Conn.); Hans Gorowsky (Jr., F, Lino Lakes, Minn.); Kurt Gosselin (Jr., D, Brighton, Mich.); Connor James (So., D, Wainwright, Alberta); Josh Kestner (Sr., F, Huntsville, Ala.); Cam Knight (Jr., D, North Reading, Mass.); Max McHugh (Sr., F, Seattle, Wash.); Brandon Parker (Sr., D, Fairbault, Minn.); Sean Rappleyea (So., D, Sayreville, NJ); Teddy Rotenberger (Fr., D, Huntsville, Ala.); Brandon Salerno (So., F, Toronto, Ontario); John Teets (Jr., D, Fairbanks, Alaska); Jordan Uhleski (Sr., G, Flint, Mich.); Adam Wilcox (Jr., F, Alpharetta, Ga.)
University of Alaska Anchorage
Cam Amantea (Jr., F, Calgary, Alberta); Matt Anholt (Sr., F, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan); Austin Azurdia (Sr., F, Wenatchee, Wash.); Jarrett Brown (Sr., D, Beaumount, Alberta); Nicolas Erb-Ekholm (Jr., F, Malmö, Sweden); Tomi Hiekkavirta (So., D, Helsinki, Finland); Alex Jackstadt (Jr., F, Anchorage, Alaska); Tanner Johnson (Sr., D, Castlegar, British Columbia); Tad Kozun (Sr., F, Nipawin, Saskatchewan); Olivier Mantha (Sr., G, La Turque, Quebec); Nolan Nicholas (So., D, Thunder Bay, Ontario); Jonah Renouf (Jr., F, Mississauga, Ontario); Nathan Renouf (Jr., F, Mississauga, Ontario); Corey Renwick (So., F, Nanoose Bay, British Columbia); Nils Rygaard (Jr., F, Norrköping, Sweden); David Trinkberger (So., D, Landshut, Germany)
University of Alaska
Tyler Cline (So., F, Blaine, Minn.); Zach Frye (Sr., D, Spokane, Wash.); Ross Heidt (So., F, Red Deer, Alberta); Nick Hinz (Sr., D, Oakdale, Minn.); Kylar Hope (So., F, Lashburn, Saskatchewan); Danny Kiraly (So., D, Glendale, Ariz.); Nikolas Koberstein (Jr., D, Barrhead, Alberta); James LaDouce (So., D, Saginaw, Mich.); Ryker Leer (Jr., F, Redd Deer, Alberta); Kyle Marino (So., F, Niagara Falls, Ontario); Anton Martinsson (So., G, Klippan, Sweden); Chad Staley (Jr., F, Kennewick, Wash.); Tristan Thompson (So., D, Canmore, Alberta); Troy Van Tetering (So, D, Canmore, Alberta); Jack Weiss (Jr., D, Bloomington, Minn.); Justin Woods (Sr., D, Fairbanks, Alaska)
Bemidji State University
Justin Baudry (Jr., D, LaBroquerie, Manitoba); Kyle Bauman (Sr., F, Apopka, Fla.); Dan Billett (Jr., D, Higlands Ranch, Colorado); Michael Bitzer (Sr., G, Moorhead, Minn.); Adam Brady (So., F, Dehli, Ontario); Jack Burgart (So., G, Fort St. James, British Columbia); Dillon Eichstadt (Jr., D, Bemidji, Minn.); Gerry Fitzgerald (Sr., F, Port Alberni, British Columbia); Leo Fitzgerald (Sr., F, Port Alberni, British Columbia); Myles Fitzgerald (Sr., F, Port Alberni, British Columbia); Jordan Heller (Sr., F, Bemidji, Minn.); Ian Janco (Jr., D, Bloomington, Minn.); Dylan McCrory (So., F, Kirkland, Québec); Tommy Muck (So., D, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.); T.J. Roo (Jr., F, Champlin, Minn.); Mike Soucier (Jr., F, Caledon, Ontario); Hampus Sjödahl (So., F, Stockholm, Sweden); Zach Whitecloud (So., D, Brandon, Manitoba)
Bowling Green State University
Shane Bednard (Jr., F, Macomb, Mich.); Niko Coffman (So., D, Chelsea, Mich.); Lukas Craggs (So., F, Elmhurst, Ill.); Jacob Dalton (So., D, Saginaw, Mich.); Frédéric Létourneau (So., F, Montréal, Québec); Casey Linkenheld (So., F, Bartlett, Ill.); Mitchell McLain (Sr., F, Baxter, Minn.); Matt Meier (Jr., F, Highlands Ranch, Colo.); Chris Pohlkamp (Jr., D, Baxter, Minn.); Alec Rauhauser (So., D, Bismarck, N.D.); Jakob Reichert (Sr., F, Langley, British Columbia); John Schilling (Jr., F, Oswego, Ill.); Adam Smith (Jr., D, Sharon, Ontario)
Ferris State University
Tyler Andrew (Sr., F, Bethel Park, Pa.); Cameron Clarke (So., D, Tecumseh, Mich.); Andrew Dorantes (Sr., F, Waterford, Mich.); Tyler Dorantes (Sr., D, Waterford, Mich.); Jason Fernsler (So., F, Charlotte, Mich.); Jacob Hetz (Jr., F, Glenshaw, Pa.); Ryker Killins (Jr., D, Wawa, Ontario); Nate Kallen (So., D, San Diego, Calif.); Dominic Lutz (So., F, Livonia, Mich.); Andrew Mayer (Sr., F, Troy, Mich.); Corey Mackin (Jr., F, Philadelphia, Pa.); Mitch Maloney (Sr., F, Macomb, Mich.); Craig Pefley (RS-So., F, St. Clair, Mich.); Trevor Recktenwald (Jr., F, Venetia, PA); Joe Rutkowski (So., D, Crystal Lake, Ill.); Darren Smith (Jr., G, Barrie, Ontario); Zach Szanjer (Sr., F, White Lake, Mich.); Jason Tackett (So., F, West Chester, Ohio); Zac Tierney (Jr., D, London, Ontario); Zach Yoder (So., D, Woodstock, Ga.)
Lake Superior State University
Bryan Basilico (So., F, Macomb, Mich.); Kyle Chatham (Sr., D, Bellevue, Ill.); Diego Cuglietta (Jr., F, Kamloops, British Columbia); Max Humitz (So., F, Livonia, Mich.); Ian Johnston (So., F, Ottawa, Ontario); Nick Kossoff (Jr., G, West Des Moines, Iowa); Brendan McKay (So., F, Toronto, Ontario); Anthony Nellis (Jr., F, Breakeyvile, Québec); Ryan Renz (Sr., D, Castlegar, British Columbia); Collin Saccoman (So., D, Stillwater, Minn.); Aidan Wright (Sr., D, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario)
Michigan Technological University
Brent Baltus (RS-Sr., F, Nanaimo, British Columbia); Thomas Beretta (So., F, Orangeville, Ontario); Raymond Brice (So., F, Houghton, Mich.); Alex Gillies (Sr., F, Vernon, British Columbia); Devin Kero (Sr., G, Hancock, Mich.); Todd Kiilunen (So., D, Brighton, Mich.); Jake Lucchini (Jr., F, Trail, British Columbia); Mitch Reinke (So., D, Stillwater, Minn.); Alex Smith (So., F, Edmonton, Alberta); Dylan Steman (Sr., F, Hanover, Minn.)
Minnesota State University
Michael Bigelbach (So., D, Red Wing, Minn.); Daniel Brickley (Jr., D, Sandy, Utah); Max Coatta (Jr., F, Minnetonka, Minn.); Steen Cooper (Jr., F, Duncan, British Columbia); Josh French (So., F, Woodbury, Minn.); Charlie Gerard (So., F, Rocky River, Ohio); Edwin Hookenson (So., D, Lampman, Saskatchewan); Zeb Knutson (Sr., F, Sioux Falls, S.D.); Clint Lewis (Sr., D, Burnsville, Minn.); Brad McClure (Sr., F, Stratford, Ontario); Marc Michaelis (So., F, Mannheim, Germany); Aaron Nelson (Sr., G, Bismark, N.D.); Nicholas Rivera (So., F, Pacific Palisades, Calif.); Ian Scheid (So., D, Coon Rapids, Minn.); Ryan Schwalbe (Jr., F, Anchorage, Alaska); C.J. Suess (Sr., F, Forest Lake, Minn.); Alec Vanko (Jr., D, Oregon, Wis.)
Northern Michigan University
Ryan Black (Jr., D, Stillwater, Minn.); Zach Diamantoni (Sr., F, Boca Raton, Fla.); Mathias Israelsson (RS-So., G, Ytterby, Sweden); Brendan Jacques (Jr., F, Calumet, Mich.); Jesse Juntilla (Jr., D, Calumet, Mich.); Anthony Paskaruk (Jr., F, Airdrie, Alberta); Robbie Payne (Sr., F, Gaylord, Mich.); Denver Pierce (Jr., F, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.); Adam Rockwood (Jr., F, Coquitlam, British Columbia); Filip Starzynski (Sr., F, Warsaw, Poland); Atte Tolvanen (Jr., G, Vihti, Finland); James Vermeulen (Jr., D, Stony Plain, Alberta); Luke Voltin (So., F, Blaine, Minn.); Rylan Yaremko (So., D, Spirit River, Alberta)