Brandon Kruse (photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey)

Saline’s Brandon Kruse named WCHA rookie of the month; NMU’s Loggins top offensive player

By @MichaelCaples –

Saline native Brandon Kruse had himself a big month of January, and his college hockey conference is rewarding him for it.

The Bowling Green freshman forward has been named the WCHA’s rookie of the month, after Kruse recorded an NCAA rookie-best 11 points in January.

From the WCHA:

Kruse led all NCAA rookies in January with 11 points, nine assists (tied) and two game-winning goals (tied) in 10 contests, helping No. 14 Bowling Green go 8-2-0. The Saline, Mich. native also paced WCHA freshmen with three power-play helpers and averages of 1.10 points and 0.90 assists per game, while his 11 points were fifth-most among all league skaters.

A two-time WCHA Rookie of the Week during the month (Jan. 22 and 29), Kruse finished January with eight points (2g-6a) during a four-game scoring streak. He twice matched his career high with three-point nights, factoring in all three Falcons goals during 3-2 victories Jan. 20 vs. Alaska Anchorage (1g-2a) and Jan. 27 at Lake Superior State (3a). Both of Kruse’s goals during the month were game-winners (Jan. 20 vs. UAA and Jan. 26 at LSSU), while he assisted on the decisive tallies in road wins Jan. 7 at Ferris State and Jan. 27 (at LSSU). He recorded a point in six of 10 games overall, including three multi-point efforts.

Kruse is now tied for the overall WCHA rookie scoring lead with 25 points, thanks to six goals and a league freshmen-best 19 assists. He is tied for third nationally in rookie points and tied for second in helpers.

Honorable Mention: Coale Norris, Fr., F, Ferris State (scored a league-high tying two game-winning goals for the Bulldogs, while producing seven points in eight games).

Meanwhile, Northern Michigan forward Troy Loggins has been named the conference’s offensive player of the month.

Loggins, a native of Huntington Beach, Calif., posted an impressive eight goals and 13 total points as NMU finished the month on a 6-0-1 run.

From the WCHA:

Loggins was one of the nation’s top offensive threats in January, keying No. 19 Northern Michigan’s seven-game unbeaten streak to end the month (6-0-1). The junior led the WCHA with eight goals (tied for the second-most nationally) and was second in the league with 13 points in eight games (third in the NCAA, one behind the co-leaders). He also ranked among NCAA leaders for power-play goals (first with five), goals-per-game (second at 1.00), short-handed goals (tied for fifth with one) and points-per-game (tied for ninth at 1.62).

The Huntington Beach, Calif. native tallied a point seven of eight January games, including four multi-point efforts. Loggins had seven goals and three assists for 10 points as the Wildcats won all six of their league games, helping a Northern Michigan team that was picked to finish seventh in the coaches’ and media preseason polls surge to the top of the WCHA standings. He combined for six points (5g-1a) as NMU enjoyed a 2-0-1 stretch Jan. 6-13 against then-No. 13 Boston College (one goal in a 3-3 tie at the Ice Vegas Invitational) and No. 14 Bowling Green (three goals during a two-game home sweep), earning WCHA Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts against the Falcons. Loggins finished the month with seven points (4g-3a) in three contests, factoring in all three goals in a 3-2 win Jan. 20 over Lake Superior State (1g-2a), scoring the game-winning goal Jan. 26 at Alaska Anchorage and posting a two-goal, one-assist effort in a Jan. 27 victory at UAA.

Loggins is tied for the overall WCHA scoring lead with 32 points this season (matching teammate Adam Rockwood), coming from 15 goals and 17 assists. He is tied for 10th nationally in points, while he is tied for 13th in goals (and tied for the NCAA lead with three short-handed markers).

Honorable Mention: Mitch McLain, Sr., Bowling Green (tied for third in the WCHA with 12 points on five goals and seven assists, with points in nine of 10 games as the No. 14 Falcons went 8-2-0); Marc Michaelis, So., Minnesota State (tied for fourth in the WCHA with 1.33 points per game, tallying eight in six contests as the No. 7 Mavericks went 5-1-0).

MiHockey Staff

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