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NCAA Roundup: 6 alums earn weekly conference awards

Photo credits: Shannon Valerio-University of Denver (Olischefski), Justin Wolford-Colgate Athletics (McAvoy), Matt Dewkett-Cornell Athletics (Galajda)

This week in the NCAA Roundup presented by Lordco, there are six former BCHL players who earned weekly awards throughout the NCAA for their play last week, including five first-time winners this year and one goaltender being recognized for the third time this season.

ECAC Player of the Week

Paul McAvoy – Junior – Colgate University (Surrey Eagles)

McAvoy posted a pair of multi-point games last weekend, finishing the two-game set with four points (2G, 2A). He dished out a pair of assists in Friday’s 3-3 tie against No. 16 Harvard, before scoring two of the teams three goals in another tie against No. 20 Dartmouth on Saturday. The junior was also excellent in the defensive zone, as he was not on the ice for a goal-against all weekend.

The Richmond, Ky. native played two seasons as the captain of the Eagles, registering 80 points in 98 regular-season games.

ECAC Goalie of the Week

Matthew Galajda – Junior – Cornell University (Victoria Grizzlies)

Galajda helped Cornell extend its unbeaten streak to eight straight games this weekend, going 1-0-1 against No. 20 Dartmouth and No. 16 Harvard. The junior sent aside 49 of the 51 shots he faced, including 29 of 30 in a 1-1 tie against the Crimson on Saturday evening. Galajda has played every possible minute between the pipes for the Big Red this season and leads the conference in goals-against average (1.46) and save percentage (.940).

Galajda, from Aurora, Ont., played two seasons with the Grizzlies from 2015 to 2017, earning 43 wins and finishing his career with a .918 save percentage, a 2.52 goals-against average and seven shutouts. This is his second Goalie of the Week this year to go along with his Goalie of the Month award for November.

Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week

Jason Cotton – Senior – Sacred Heart University (West Kelowna Warriors)

Cotton tied for the Altantic Hockey lead in points for the week as he led Sacred Heart to the inaugural Connecticut Ice Festival Championship. Cotton had a goal and an assist in each game as Sacred Heart beat Yale and No. 17 Quinnipiac en route to the championship. He scored the game’s first goal and assisted on the game-winner in the 6-2 win over Yale. Then in Sunday’s championship game, the senior factored in the third and fourth goals of the game as the Pioneers pulled away from the Bobcats.

The 24-year-old from Parker, Texas played two seasons for the Warriors from 2013 to 2015, finishing his career at over a point-per-game with 117 in 108 regular-season contests.

NCHC Forward of the Week

Kohen Olischefski – Junior – University of Denver (Chilliwack Chiefs)

Olischefski had a monster weekend to power Denver to a sweep at Miami, extending DU’s unbeaten streak to an NCAA-best 11 games. He recorded multiple points both nights, while leading the NCHC with five points on the weekend. He was also named First Star of the Game both nights.

The Abbotsford, B.C. native played two full seasons for the Chiefs from 2015 to 2017 and put up 125 points in 124 regular-season games, including a 76-point campaign his final year which put him sixth in league scoring.

WCHA Forward of the Week

Darien Craighead – Senior – Northern Michigan University (Chilliwack Chiefs)

Craighead started the weekend with two assists in the first period on Friday, including one on NMU’s last-minute goal to tie things up at 3-3 heading into the first intermission. The Surrey, B.C., native then continued his success on Saturday, finding the back of the net on the first two Wildcat goals en route to a 4-2 victory. For the weekend, Craighead led the Wildcats in goals with two and finished with a +3 plus/minus rating while scoring twice on four shots. Across the league, his two goals tied for the WCHA weekend high and his four total points ranked second. Craighead now ranks third on the team in points this season with 21 on eight goals and 13 assists. This is his first-career WCHA weekly honor.

The 22-year-old played three seasons in the BCHL split between the Chiefs, the Cowichan Valley Capitals and the Langley Rivermen. He put up 138 points in 143 career regular-season games.

WCHA Rookie of the Week

AJ Vanderbeck – Freshman – Northern Michigan University (Wenatchee Wild)

Vanderbeck continues to make his presence known on the offensive front, leading the Wildcats in points with five as they went 1-0-1 at Alaska. After two assists in Friday’s tie, Vanderbeck came out Saturday with a career-high three points on a goal and two assists, including his first career game-winning goal. The Monument, Colo., native led NMU and the league in points with five while his four assists were also a conference best. With four assists and five points, he ranked first and second in the nation, respectively, over the weekend. Having only played six conference games thus far, his nine points rank ninth among all league rookies and his 1.50 points per game is a WCHA best. This is Vanderbeck’s first WCHA weekly honor.

Vanderbeck played two years with the Wild from 2016 to 2018, compiling 128 points in 104 regular-season games. In his final year with the Wild, he captained the team to their first-ever Fred Page Cup title.