The United States Hockey League today announced the CCM and Reebok player awards for the fifth week of the 2013-14 USHL regular season.
Award winners include Brandon Hawkins of the Sioux City Musketeers and Matt Iacopelli from the Muskegon Lumberjacks, named co-recipients of CCM Forward of the Week, Hayden Shaw of the Waterloo Black Hawks and Blake Heinrich of the Sioux City Musketeers, selected as co-recipients of CCM Defenseman of the Week, and Michael Bitzer of the Lincoln Stars, earning Reebok Goaltender of the Week.
Matt Iacopelli, F, Muskegon Lumberjacks: Committed to Western Michigan University, Iacopelli potted four goals in three games played over the weekend. He scored the lone tally in Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Sioux Falls Stampede. Saturday, he scored in regulation and again in the shootout to lead the Jacks to a 3-2 shootout win over the Stampede. On Sunday, the 19-year-old from Brownstown, Michigan recorded his first USHL multi-goal game with two tallies in a 7-3 loss to Team USA. He is currently riding a five-game goal streak, tallying all six of his goals this season in that span.
Brandon Hawkins, F, Sioux City Musketeers: The 19-year-old from Shelby Township, Michigan had a breakout weekend, recording three goals and an assist in two games played. On Friday night against the Fargo Force, Hawkins recorded three consecutive goals for the natural hat trick in the 5-0 win. He scored a goal in each period. The next night, the Bowling Green State University commit dished out an assist on the game winning goal in a 2-1 win over the Green Bay Gamblers. His four goals currently lead the Musketeers, and his six points rank him second on the team.
Hayden Shaw, D, Waterloo Black Hawks: The rookie defenseman lit the lamp twice on the power play and recorded a plus-one on-ice rating in two games during the week. Thursday night, he scored the game-tying goal, and the second of four unanswered goals for the Hawks, in a 4-2 win to hand the Omaha Lancers their first loss of the season. Shaw then netted the winner 1:40 into overtime to upend the Green Bay Gamblers 4-3 on Friday. The 17-year-old from Woodbury, Minnesota is currently on a four-game point streak which includes a goal in each of his last three contests.
Blake Heinrich, D, Sioux City Musketeers: The 18-year-old defenseman recorded a pair of goals and a plus-one on-ice rating, and was a part of a defensive unit that allowed just one goal over two games. Friday night against Fargo, the Cambridge, Minnesota native scored the game-winning goal in Sioux City’s 5-0 win. He added another goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Green Bay. Heinrich also helped lead a penalty killing unit that turned away 10-of-11 opponent power plays. The 2013 NHL Draft pick of the Washington Capitals is currently riding a four-game point streak, tallying two goals and two assists in that span.
Michael Bitzer, G, Lincoln Stars: Turning 20 this Wednesday, the Moorhead, Minnesota native celebrated early by posting a 1-0-1 record with a 0.95 goals-against average and .970 save percentage in a pair of road games. He stopped a season high 37 shots, and then turned aside both shootout attempts, in a 2-1 win over Team USA on Friday for his first win of the season. On Saturday, the Bemidji State University commit made 28 saves in a 1-0 overtime loss to the Youngstown Phantoms. He has allowed two-or-fewer goals in four of seven games played this season and has posted a 1-1-4 overall record with a 2.42 GAA and .912 SV%.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)