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NCAA Roundup: Feb. 24

In this week’s NCAA Roundup, presented by Johnston Meier Insurance, we have seven BCHL alumni in the spotlight after they earned weekly honours in their respective conferences.

Hockey East Player of the Week

Nikita Nesterenko – Sophomore – Boston College (Chilliwack Chiefs)

Nesterenko recorded his first-career NCAA hat trick on Friday night in a 7-3 victory over UMass at Kelley Rink. He added an assist for a four-point performance and finished with a plus-three rating in the win with five shots on goal.

The 21-year-old led the Chilliwack Chiefs in scoring during the 2019-20 campaign, his lone season in the league, and finished third among all rookies with 56 points in 56 games.

CCHA Forward of the Week

Andre Ghantous – Senior – Northern Michigan University (Trail Smoke Eaters/Penticton Vees)

Ghantous paced all CCHA skaters with five points on three goals and two assists last weekend, leading the Wildcats to a sweep of Ferris State. On Friday, he recorded a goal and an assist on four shots in a 9-2 victory over the Bulldogs, before potting two goals and one helper in an 8-3 triumph on Saturday. For the week, he had three power-play tallies and six shots on goal.

The 24-year-old played three seasons in the BCHL from 2016 to 2019, the first two with the Trail Smoke Eaters and his final season with the Penticton Vees. Over his three-year stint in the league, he produced 117 points in 153 regular-season games.

CCHA Goaltender of the Week

Aaron Trotter – Freshman – University of St. Thomas (Prince George Spruce Kings)

Trotter posted a CCHA-best .946 save percentage last week (minimum two games played), going 1-1-0 with a 1.51 goals-against average in a road split with Lake Superior State. Making a league-high 53 saves on 56 shots, he turned away 23 in a 2-1 loss to the Lakers on Friday, before stopping 30 of 31 in a 2-1 Tommies victory on Saturday night.

Trotter, from Victoria, B.C., played two seasons in the BCHL from 2020 to 2022. For his junior career, he posted a .919 save percentage, a 2.09 goals-against average, four shutouts and 27 wins in 48 appearances.

CCHA Rookie of the Week

Joey Larson – Freshman – Northern Michigan University (Chilliwack Chiefs)

Larson led all CCHA rookies with four points last week, scoring two goals with two assists in a home sweep of Ferris State. Second among all league skaters with nine shots on goal, he recorded his first-career two-goal game on Friday, helping the Wildcats to a 9-2 victory, before dishing out a pair of helpers in an 8-3 win on Saturday. For the week, he was a +4 with one block defensively.

The 2001-born forward played the 2019-20 campaign with the Chilliwack Chiefs and posted 14 goals, 19 assists and 33 points in 52 regular-season games.

NCHC Defenceman of the Week

Jonny Tychonick – Graduate – University of Nebraska-Omaha (Penticton Vees)

Tychonick was productive at both ends of the ice to lead Omaha to a pair of wins and five points at Miami last week. The Ottawa Senators draft pick chipped in three points offensively, while helping limit the RedHawks to only three goals all weekend. In Friday’s 3-1 victory, Tychonick scored the game’s opening goal midway through the second period, while assisting on a power-play marker in the third, which doubled the lead and proved to be the game-winner. He also blocked three shots and played on a penalty kill unit that went 5-for-6 in the opener. A night later, Tychonick set up the game-winning goal with an assist in overtime as UNO prevailed 3-2.

The 22-year-old was a member of the Penticton Vees for two seasons from 2016 to 2018. He won a Fred Page Cup championship his rookie year in 2017 and was named a First-Team All-Star in his second season after posting 47 points in 48 games, the third most among all defenders in the league that year.

Atlantic Hockey Goaltender of the Week

Tommy Scarfone – Sophomore – Rochester Institute of Technology (Surrey Eagles)

Scarfone stopped 68 of 70 shots in the Tigers two-game split with Bentley last week. The Montreal, Que. native denied all 33 Falcon shots on Friday for his third shutout of the season in RIT’s 4-0 victory. On Saturday, he stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced for his 11th 30-plus save effort of the season. This is his fifth career Atlantic Hockey weekly honour and fourth this season.

The 22-year-old played for the Surrey Eagles for two seasons from 2019 to 2021. He finished his BCHL stint with a career save percentage of .922 and a goals-against average of 2.50. He backstopped the 2020-21 Eagles team to first place in the Coquitlam Pod.

Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week

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

Itagaki was once again a key cog in the Black Knights offence last weekend. The Glenview, Ill. native secured a goal and four assists in West Point’s split with Mercyhurst. Itagaki assisted on a goal in regulation in the series opener, before scoring his third of the season with a breakaway in overtime to give Army the victory. He returned on Saturday to post assists on all three Army goals to set a new career-high with three total points. This is his third career Atlantic Hockey weekly honour.

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.