Bjugstad earns second-straight WCHA ROW award

Austin Cumblad

Freshman center Nick Bjugstad had a bit of a strange weekend. On Friday night, he took a questionable hooking penalty that helped Bemidji State to tie the score at 3 with 19 seconds remaining in the game. On Saturday afternoon, he got an apology from the referee who called that penalty. If that wasn’t enough vindication, Bjugstad went out and scored two goals Saturday night, including the game-winner 20 seconds into overtime.

On the heels of a four-point weekend (3g, 1a), Bjugstad was named the WCHA Rookie of the Week for the second consecutive time, having won it thanks to two shorthanded goals and an assist against Michigan Tech on Feb. 25.

Bjugstad started his freshman season slowly, but since returning from a stint with the U.S. junior team at the World Junior Championships, he has compiled 15 points in 14 games. Where he looked a bit adrift in the college game during the first half of the year, he’s now complementing his impressive athleticism with smart and physical play.

Asked Saturday what has sparked his recent surge, Bjugstad said, “Just a little more confidence, I think that’s what it is. It’s definitely a mental game.”