Hoeffel, Ness take home WCHA honors after St. Cloud State sweep

After sweeping St. Cloud State for the second time this season âÄî the teamâÄôs only two sweeps all year âÄî two members of the Minnesota menâÄôs hockey team were honored this week by the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Sophomore forward Mike Hoeffel was awarded the conferenceâÄôs Offensive Player of the Week after tallying an assist and three goals, including SaturdayâÄôs game-winner over the weekend. âÄúIt feels good to put a good weekend together personally but most importantly team-wise âÄî getting the sweep,âÄù Hoeffel said. âÄúThat feels the best.âÄù Minneosta coach Don Lucia noted that Hoeffel, who was one of three Gophers playing for the U.S. team at IIHF World U20 Championship this month, looked better than two weeks ago when Minnesota was swiftly swept by North Dakota. âÄúIâÄôm sure those guys felt a lot better this weekend than last weekend coming back from World Juniors because that is a mental and physical grind,âÄù Lucia said over the weekend. âÄúWhen everybody else gets to shut it down for a couple weeks, they get more intense hockey.âÄù Meanwhile, freshman defenseman Aaron Ness , who unsuccessfully tried out for the U.S. team, was honored as the Rookie of the Week for his four assist performance against the Huskies. Ness also earned the conferenceâÄôs Defensive Player of the Week honor two weeks ago after the Dodge Holiday Classic. The New York IslandersâÄô draft pick scored his first career goal that weekend âÄî one he would have missed had he made the U.S. roster. Sioux sophomore defenseman Jake Marto earned the WCHAâÄôs Defensive Player of the Week award after tallying three goals over the weekend. Minnesota (12-5-5, 9-4-3 WCHA) is off this weekend before returning to action Jan. 30-31 in a home series with Minnesota State. Fallout from SCSU series Although 14 goals in a game padded the offensive stats for Minnesota and St. Cloud State on Saturday, the high number didnâÄôt help either team goaltenders. After giving up six goals on 20 shots (.700) Huskies junior goaltender Jase Weslosky, who has a career save percentage of .921 in 59 games, was benched following the second period. Sophomore keeper Dan Dunn came out in the third to replace the New York Islanders prospect and actually posted the best statistical performance of the night by stopping five of the six shots he faced (.833). However, DunnâÄôs lone slipup âÄî a blue-line, wrist shot from Hoeffel âÄî proved to be the game winner. Gophers junior forward Ryan Stoa tapped in an empty-netter for MinnesotaâÄôs eighth and final goal. MinnesotaâÄôs Alex Kangas, a sophomore, didnâÄôt fare much better than his counterparts âÄî giving up 6 goals on 31 shots (.806). After giving up 11 goals and being pulled twice two weeks ago in Grand Forks, Kangas bounced back by stopping 24-of-25 shots in FridayâÄôs 5-1 win before SaturdayâÄôs offensive outpouring. None of the netminders impressed former Gophers assistant and current Huskies head coach Bob Motzko . âÄúThatâÄôs the least thing you saw tonight was great goaltending âĦ The goalies needed to make a save somewhere, just mix in one save in there.âÄù