Wilcox, Raty and Brandt Grab National Monthly, Weekly Honors.

The WCHA, the Hockey Commissioners Association and the American Hockey Coaches Association are all handing down honors to Gopher hockey players this week, both men and women alike.

To no one’s surprise and everyone’s delight, the Lady Gopher’s net-minder Noora Raty was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week after her dominating performance against Wisconsin.  Raty made 41 saves and allowed only one goal against the Badgers, tallying her 7th shutout of the season.  The record national record for most career shutouts currently sits at 39; the win counts as Raty’s 33rd and her 92nds career victory, eight away from tying that record. But, just in case the numbers don’t do it for you, with a player in the box, Raty was stretched out on the ice after denying a UW shot when the rebound came back and looked to be a sure-fire goal. Proving she is the best goaltender in the league, Raty tossed her arm up in the air – while still lying on the ice – and made the save no one saw coming.

The men’s team also grabbed some spotlight this week in goaltender Adam Wilcox, who was honored as the Hockey Commissioners Association National Rookie of the Month.  When the season started, Wilcox and fellow goalie Mike Shibrowski were competing for the top spot until Shibby was injured in practice, solidifying the deal for Wilcox. That’s not to say the freshman didn’t deserve to be the starter; he’d been playing exceptionally well either way and was poised to take over. Wilcox leads the WCHA with the best goals-against average with 1.61 (1.75 in November) and victories (9-2-2). Additionally, he is third in the WCHA third for save percentage at .925. Wilcox started 8 of 9 games in November and stopped 198 of 214 shots.

Back on the women’s side of things, freshman forward Hannah Brandt was named WCHA Player of the Month by American Hockey Coaches Association. Brandt, who has been playing first-rate hockey all season, posted six goals and eight assists in the month of November. She leads the nation’s freshman with 18 goals and 27 assists. That’s 45 points – only three behind the nation’s leader, teammate Amanda Kessel. I’ve said it before, but I’ll re-iterate here: having our freshman play this well is incredible. It sets the stage for the next three seasons.

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