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NCAA Roundup: Kawaguchi and Hirose earn conference honours

College hockey is slowly getting back to play after the holidays and two more BCHL alums received conference awards this week, including a freshman who double dipped with a weekly and monthly recognition.

NCHC Player of the Month (December)

Jordan Kawaguchi – Senior – University of North Dakota (Chilliwack Chiefs)

Kawaguchi tied for the NCHC scoring lead in December, tallying 13 points during his 10 games in the NCHC Pod. The senior captain was the only player in the conference to record a point in every game in the Pod, scoring three goals and adding an NCHC-best 10 assists. Kawaguchi recorded three multi-point games in the month and had a hand in five game-winning goals to help UND finish 7-2-1 during December.

Kawaguchi, played four full seasons with Chilliwack from 2013 to 2017, notching 242 points in 215 regular-season games and another 82 in 55 playoff games. The Abbotsford, B.C. native finished second in league scoring in 2016-17 with 85 points in 55 games and was named a First-Team All-Star.

WCHA Rookie of the Month (December)

Akito Hirose – Freshman – Minnesota State University (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)

Hirose posted three assists, 11 shots on goal and two blocks in four December games for the Mavericks. The Calgary, Alta., native finished with a +2 rating as Minnesota State went 2-1-1 in the month. Earlier in December, he was named WCHA Rookie of the Week following a win and tie vs. Bemidji State. He also had two assists in 5-4 win over the Beavers on Dec. 18.

Hirose played four seasons in the BCHL, all with the Silverbacks, suiting up for a total of 208 regular-season games for the team. Last year, he led all defencemen in scoring with 51 points in 57 games and was named the league’s Top Defenceman at year’s end.

WCHA Rookie of the Week

Akito Hirose – Freshman – Minnesota State University (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)

Only a few days after receiving his Rookie of the Month Award, Hirose was named WCHA Rookie of the Week for the second time this season. The 21-year-old recorded a +5 rating in helping his team to a two-game league road sweep at Northern Michigan. Hirose had two assists in Saturday’s 5-0 win and contributed a goal and an assist in Sunday’s 4-0 victory to up his season scoring line to seven points on a goal and six assists.