Compiled by D3hockey.com Staff
Seniority rules this week on the final 2017 edition of Team of the Week. Four out of six honorees hail from the senior class, including Jerry Laakso, who lit up UMass Boston in a big win for the Corsairs, and Cam Macdonald, who had four goals and two assists against Tufts. This week's crop is from the award week dated Monday December 4th, to Sunday December 10th.
We'll be back with more when the schedule picks up in January!
The Corsairs had much to celebrate after Jerry Laakso led them to a win over UMass Boston
How it works: Each week, Sports Information Directors from across the country submit week-long performances they've deemed worthy of being placed among the best in the nation in the week that was. For award purposes, a normal week will run from Monday to Sunday. System and email nominations will close at 8pm Monday in all subsequent editions, and any games played on deadline day are incorporated into the following week.
Once we get the school and league nominations, check out conference weekly releases, and pick the brains of our own staff to get the clearest picture we can, we select among top performances by position. It's an elite group. Three forwards, two defensemen, one goaltender. Nothing else. To get here, means you're one of best performers on the ice at your position in the week that was.
To be clear, we aren't just looking at raw numbers. We're also looking to incorporate players that contributed in the pivotal moments, season defining wins, and stunning upsets that make our brand of hockey so exciting.
Don't see a player here? Think they would have made the cut? Encourage your school's Sports Information Director to nominate deserving players each week. From now, through the week following conference championship games, SIDs can submit their nominations from Sunday evening until 8pm on Mondays utilizing their PrestoSports login at http://d3football.com/nominations/award-status. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, weekly releases from our member conferences are also accepted. Generally, we operate on this premise for now... if it's that good, we'll find you eventually.
Now that we've explained the process, let's get to it. Here is your D3hockey.com National Team of the Week:
Alex Connal, Hobart, Sophomore
Connal made a season-high 34 saves in a 3-2 win over then No. 3 Trinity College on Friday night, improving to 4-1-1 this season. Connal is sporting a 1.81 goals against average and a .931 save percentage this season. He ranks second in the NEHC in goals against average, save percentage and win percentage (.931).
Mark Whiteley, St. Scholastica, Senior
Whiteley had a four-point week as the Saints defeated both Saint John's University and Gustavus Adolphus College. Whiteley scored two goals and added an assist in the victory over Saint John's on Thursday and then added an assist against Gustavus on Friday. His two goals against the Johnnies was his first career multi-goal game.
Jerry Laakso, UMass Dartmouth, Senior
Laakso put forth his first career hat trick in the most crucial of games for UMass Dartmouth on Saturday. Against No. 5/6 UMass Boston, the defenseman registered the last three goals for the Corsairs, including the game-winner in overtime to seal the victory. The win marked the first for a UMass Dartmouth team over a ranked opponent since March 8, 2006, when the Corsairs defeated No. 6 Geneseo in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Laakso culminated his week with seven points, as he netted a pair of goals and assists in UMass Dartmouth’s 11-6 win over Franklin Pierce on Thursday. In his past three games, the captain has 12 points, and ranks sixth nationally amongst defensemen this so far this season with 1.23 points per game (16 total points).
Cam MacDonald, Colby, Senior
MacDonald, the NESCAC Player of the Week, had four goals and three assists in a 2-0 week over two NESCAC opponents. He had a collegiate-high four goals and two assists - playing a part in six of the seven goals - in a 7-3 win against Tufts. MacDonald also had an assist in a 2-0 win over Connecticut College. In the win against Tufts, his third goal he took a long pass at the blue line, beat a defender, and scored while falling to the ground after being tripped. MacDonald ranks first in the NESCAC in overall scoring (7 goals, 5 assists) and first in conference scoring (5 goals, 5 assists). MacDonald is 10th nationally in goals per game and 20th in points.
Mario Bianchi, Concordia-Moorhead, Junior
A seven-point series and an important part in the biggest comeback in program history helped Bianchi earn MIAC Player of the Week honors. Bianchi used a three-goal, four assist weekend to become the first Cobber player to earn the conference weekly award this season. Bianchi started his career weekend by scoring a hat trick in the Cobbers' series opener against Hamline. He scored the team's first, fourth and fifth goals in the 5-2 win. His hat trick was the first by a Concordia player since the 2015-16 season. He also had a team-high five shots on goal. Bianchi then one-upped his three-point performance on Saturday by collecting four assists in the unbelievable Cobber 7-7 overtime comeback. Concordia trailed 7-2 at the end of the second period and then 7-3 at the start of the third. Bianchi was then a part of all four of the Cobbers' goals in the third period which helped tie the score at 7-7 in the final two minutes of regulation. Bianchi's seven points in the two games pushed him into the team lead in points for the season. He now has five goals and eight assists for 13 points. His 13 points is tied for third best in the MIAC this year and his 1.18 points per game average is best in the conference. Bianchi has scored at least one point in seven of the team's 11 games this year. He also has nine points in the last four games.
Mitch Herlihey, Oswego, Senior
Herlihey helped the Lakers to two conference victories over the weekend. First, Herlihey scored two goals in the Lakers' 7-1 win over Potsdam. Then, the senior recorded a goal and an assist in the Lakers' 5-2 victory against rival Plattsburgh. In the second period, Herlihey assisted on Joseph Molinaro's goal. Less than a minute later, teammate Josh Zizek forced a turnover in the Plattsburgh offensive zone and dished to the senior captain, who rocketed a shot just under the cross bar for the Lakers' fourth goal of the night.