In odd start to WCHA, two conference players gaining national attention

Goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux and forward Kyle Turris are getting it done.

Brian Deutsch

The first month of the season has been rather anomalous in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, but that hasn’t stopped two conference competitors from receiving national acclaim.

North Dakota senior goaltender Jean-Philippe Lamoureux and Wisconsin freshman forward Kyle Turris were both honored by the Hockey Commissioners’ Association for their performances in the month of October.

The two honorees will challenge each other this weekend when the No. 10 Badgers host the third-ranked Sioux – although it’s just another series for Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves.

“(The Sioux) are a team that you know what you are going to play against,” Eaves said. “They’re going to come in, they’re going to play hard and I think that brings out the best in what we will have as well.”

Lamoureux was named the National College Hockey Player of the Month after posting four shutouts in the Sioux’s first five games.

His 0.43 goals against average and .983 save percentage are both second-best in the country, and behind its netminder, North Dakota has the nation’s best defense – allowing just 0.60 goals a game.

The Badgers’ Turris also had an outstanding October and earned the CSTV/Commissioners’ Choice Rookie of the Month.

The Phoenix Coyotes third overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft is the nation’s top scorer with 13 points (five goals and eight assists) in just six games.

Weekly WCHA awards

Denver senior goalie Peter Mannino had several reasons to celebrate after the fifth-ranked Pioneers swept Minnesota last weekend at Mariucci Arena.

Mannino picked up two wins – his first ever against the Gophers – and stopped 68 of 70 shots over the weekend.

“Anytime you play against a big-time team like (Minnesota) and get a victory, it feels good,” Mannino said.

His team is also tied for second place in the conference, just two points behind Colorado College.

But Mannino got an extra reason to celebrate Tuesday when he was awarded the Red Baron WCHA Defensive Player of the Week.

Mannino’s honor is more bad news for Minnesota.

In two series against WCHA teams, the Gophers’ numbers are small – one goal and zero wins in each of the team’s four conference games.

The other problem is, Mannino becomes the second straight WCHA netminder to earn the award after sweeping the Gophers (Tigers’ freshman Richard Bachman also received it earlier this season).

But Mannino isn’t the only Pioneer who was honored by the WCHA this week.

Freshman forward Tyler Bozak was also named the Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week after a highlight weekend in Minneapolis.

Bozak notched five points in Denver’s two wins over Minnesota including a hat trick Sunday and went 26 of 38 on faceoffs.

“If there was a critical faceoff that I felt we needed, he was out there taking it,” Denver coach George Gwozdecky said. “Öhe’s pretty good at getting most of them when he knows he has to.”

St. Cloud State’s sophomore forward Ryan Lasch also was honored with the Red Baron WCHA Offensive Player of the Week award.

Lasch recorded three goals and two assists in the No. 17 Huskies’ three-point weekend over Alaska-Anchorage.

Currently with 13 points, the Lake Forest, Calif. native is in a three-way tie for the conference points lead with teammate and freshman forward Garrett Roe and Turris of Wisconsin.