Elliott, Kessel Named CSTV/HCA National Players Of Month

Wisconsin goaltender Brian Elliott, who backstopped the No. 1 Badgers to an unbeaten month with a 7-0-1 record while surrendering a total of only 11 goals, was named the CSTV/Hockey Commissioners’ Association national Division I Player of the Month for November on Friday.

A 6-foot-3, 187-pound junior from Newmarket, Ont., Elliott started all eight games for Wisconsin last month, with a 1.36 goals against average and a .944 save percentage in 484:20 of playing time. He was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week three times during the month, and only six of the 11 goals he allowed were scored at even strength.

He led the Badgers, who currently sport the nation’s longest unbeaten streak at 12 games (10-0-2), to a 4-2, 4-1 road sweep at then No. 5-ranked North Dakota on Nov. 4-5; to a 2-2 tie and 3-0 win at home against then No. 1-ranked Colorado College on Nov. 11-12; to 2-1 and 3-2 victories over visiting Minnesota State on Nov. 19-20; and then to a 3-1 win at then No. 18-ranked Michigan State on Nov. 25 and a 3-2 victory at then No. 1-ranked Michigan on Nov. 26.

A ninth-round NHL draft choice of the Ottawa Senators in 2003, Elliott has played every minute in goal for Wisconsin (11-1-2) this season and had not allowed more than two goals in any of UW’s 14 games entering this weekend. In one stretch during November, he went 115:07 without allowing a goal, including five straight periods against Colorado College.

Meanwhile, Minnesota center Phil Kessel has been named the CSTV/HCA Division I Rookie of the Month. In eight games during November, he led the No. 4 Golden Gophers (7-3-4) to a 4-1-3 record while topping them in scoring with six goals, 10 assists and 16 points, in power-play goals with five, and in shots on goal with 44. He also scored a game-winning goal and posted a +4 plus-minus rating.

A 6-foot-0, 190-pound freshman from Madison, Wis., Kessel is projected to be one of the top picks in next year’s NHL Entry Draft. He was twice named WCHA Rookie of the Week during November and currently leads all rookies in the nation in both scoring with 8-13-21 and points-per game average at 1.50.

Kessel, who was named the preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year by the league’s 10 head coaches, is a veteran of the U.S. National Under-18 Team in Ann Arbor, Mich.