Mar 6, 2014 10:30 AM by Jordan Mason
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - With the regular season winding down, several players are elevating their game to another level, and with the month of February complete, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) has announced that Nebraska Omaha junior forward Josh Archibald is the NCHC Player of the Month for February, while North Dakota freshman defenseman Paul LaDue is the NCHC Rookie of the Month for February.
NCHC February Player of the Month
Archibald led the NCHC and the entire NCAA with both 10 goals and 16 points in February, three more goals and points than any other NCAA player during the month. He also added six assists, while three of his goals came on the power play and two were game-winners, both of which tied for NCHC bests in the month. The Pittsburgh Penguins prospect averaged 2.00 points per game and 1.25 goals per game in February, leading the Mavericks to a 5-3-0 record in eight games. Archibald tallied six multi-point games during the month and four multi-goal games, including a hat trick, while posting a +2 rating.
Archibald opened the month with a trio of assists in an NCHC record-setting 8-6 win over St. Cloud State Feb. 1, earning third star of the game honors. The following Saturday, Feb. 8 at North Dakota, he recorded a natural hat trick, his second hat trick of the season, and added an assist, while his second goal was the game-winner rallying UNO for a 6-3 win. He was named the first star of the game for his season-high four-point outing. In his next game, Feb. 14 vs. Denver, he again scored the game-winning goal as one of his two goals in the 4-2 victory, again earning first star of the game.
In a split at Western Michigan Feb. 21-22, Archibald recorded a four-point weekend with a goal and an assist in the win Friday while adding a pair of goals in defeat Saturday. He earned Bauer NCHC Player of the Week for his efforts. The speedy winger completed his month with a third straight multi-point game, tallying three points in a 6-0 shutout of Colorado College Feb. 28 on two goals, including one on the man advantage, and an assist, garnering first star honors for a third time in February. His second goal of the game broke the UNO single-season school record for goals as it was his 28th of the year, which leads the NCHC and ranks second nationally. Archibald also leads the NCHC with 41 points on the season and in conference play with 20 goals and 30 points.
Archibald is now a candidate for Hockey Commissioners' Association (HCA) National Player of the Month, which will be announced Thursday. Other nominees for February NCHC Player of the Month included Miami junior forward Austin Czarnik and North Dakota sophomore goaltender Zane Gothberg.
NCHC February Rookie of the Month
Grand Forks, N.D.
LaDue led the entire country in plus/minus in February with a remarkable +14 rating, four better than any other player (next were his two teammates at +10). In addition, he chipped in six points during the month with two goals and four assists. The six points tied for first among NCHC rookie defensemen for February and tied for third nationally in that category. The Los Angeles Kings prospect recorded the first two multi-point games of his career during the month while all of his points came during a career-long four-game point streak. LaDue averaged 0.86 points per game, tops among NCHC rookie blueliners, and blocked 10 shots in February, helping UND to a 6-1-0 record and into a first-place tie in the NCHC.
LaDue jump-started his month Feb. 15 when he posted an NCHC season-best +6 rating in a 9-2 win over Miami, while chipping in a pair of assists, including one on the game-winner, for his first multi-point and multi-assist game at UND. He was named third star of the game for his efforts and finished the weekend +7 against Miami. In his next game, Feb. 21 at Minnesota Duluth, he again assisted on the game-winning goal, while helping pitch a 3-0 shutout. LaDue then led UND to a road sweep the next night with his first career multi-goal game on a pair of power play goals in a 6-2 win, while earning first star of the game. The Grand Forks native then capped his month and point streak Feb. 28 with a game-tying assist in a 5-2 win at St. Cloud State and a +3 rating.
LaDue, who entered February with two goals and nine points all season, posted a positive plus/minus rating in all seven games during the month. He also anchored a power play unit that clicked at 21.2 percent in February.
LaDue is now a candidate for Hockey Commissioners' Association National Rookie of the Month, which will be announced Thursday. The other nominees for February NCHC Rookie of the Month were Nebraska Omaha forward Jake Guentzel and Miami forward Anthony Louis.
Previous NCHC Monthly Award Winners
Riley Barber, Miami - October NCHC Player of the Month
Kyle Osterberg, Minnesota Duluth - October NCHC Rookie of the Month
Shane Berschbach, Western Michigan - November NCHC Player of the Month
Jake Guentzel, Nebraska Omaha - November NCHC Rookie of the Month
Justin Kovacs, Western Michigan - December NCHC Player of the Month
Luke Johnson, North Dakota - December NCHC Rookie of the Month
Jonny Brodzinski, St. Cloud State - January NCHC Player of the Month
Alex Iafallo, Minnesota Duluth - January NCHC Rookie of the Month.