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NCAA Roundup: Dec. 15

This week, we have alumni from Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo and Surrey all making noise in college hockey and taking home weekly conference awards. We give you the details in this week’s NCAA Roundup, presented by Johnston Meier Insurance.

ECAC Hockey Defender of the Week

Pito Walton – Senior – Princeton University (Coquitlam Express)

Walton had a three-point weekend en route to wins over Union and Rensselaer. In Saturday’s narrow 6-5 win over Rensselaer, Walton added helpers on half of the Tigers’ goals, including two power-play tallies and a shorthanded goal, finishing the weekend with a +3 rating.

The 2000-born defenceman skated with the Coquitlam Express during the 2018-19 campaign where he led the team in points from the back end with 36 in 58 regular-season games, good enough to tie for 12th among all BCHL blueliners.

CCHA Defenceman of the Week

Matt Slick – Graduate – Ferris State University (Chilliwack Chiefs)

Slick helped the Bulldogs to a split with Northern Michigan last week, leading all CCHA blueliners in goals (2) and points (3), including one power-play marker. Posting a +2 for the weekend, he had three shots and one block at the defensive end of the ice. He produced a multi-point game (1 goal, 1 assist) on Friday in Ferris State’s 5-2 victory over the Wildcats, before adding a goal on Saturday.

The 23-year-old played one season for the Chilliwack Chiefs in 2017-18, producing four goals and eight assists for 12 points in 58 regular-season games. He was part of the Chiefs team that hosted and won the National Championship in the spring of 2018. Slick played the first four years of his college hockey career at Holy Cross, before transferring to Ferris State last summer.

CCHA Rookie of the Week

Christian Fitzgerald (F) – Freshman – Minnesota State University (Surrey Eagles)

Fitzgerald paced CCHA freshmen skaters with three goals last week, aiding the Mavericks to a road sweep of Bowling Green. He also recorded the second-most shots (10) among all conference players and was a league-best +4, with a power play tally, two blocks and four faceoff wins (.500). On Friday, he scored the opening goal for Minnesota State in a 2-1 win over the Falcons. He then found the back of the net twice in a 6-2 victory on Saturday.

The Coquitlam, B.C. native played two seasons with the Surrey Eagles from 2019 to 2021. During the 2020-21 pod season, Fitzgerald led the BCHL in scoring with 33 points in 19 games and was named the Coquitlam Pod MVP.

Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week

Max Itagaki (F) – Freshman – Army West Point (Nanaimo Clippers)

Itagaki recorded a three-point weekend at Mercyhurst with a goal and two assists against the Lakers. The Glenview, Ill. native produced a goal and an assist in Friday’s series opener before setting up the Black Knights first goal in Saturday’s overtime win. Itagaki also fired six shots on net in the series.

The 2002-born forward played the 2021-22 campaign with the Nanaimo Clippers, finishing second on the team with 61 points in 54 games and ending up top-10 in league scoring.

Hockey East Co-Goaltender of the Week

Zach Borgiel – Junior – Merrimack College (Cowichan Valley Capitals)

Borgiel made 24 saves in a 3-1 win at Providence on Saturday. The 22-year-old netminder slammed the door shut with six saves in the third to earn a sweep and lift the Warriors into a tie for first place in the Hockey East standings. He shared Goaltender of the Week honours with his Merrimack crease-mate Hugo Ollas.

The Michigan native played the 2019-20 season with the Cowichan Valley Capitals and finished with the fourth best save percentage in the BCHL with a mark of .923. His 2.55 goals-against average was the fifth lowest in the league and his four shutouts tied him for third among BCHL goalies. Borgiel also played the most minutes of any netminder that season.