Harvard’s Donato, Northeastern’s Primeau pick up monthly HCA awards

 (Tim Brule)
Harvard forward Ryan Donato finished December averaging 2.50 points per game (photo: Melissa Wade).

Harvard junior forward Ryan Donato, who has started the season with a career-high 12-game point streak, was named the Hockey Commissioners’ Association National Division I Player of the Month for December, while Northeastern freshman netminder Cayden Primeau has been named the HCA National Division I Rookie of the Month for December.

Donato finished the month as Division I leader in points per game (2.50), goals per game (2.00), hat tricks (2), shots on goal (5.75) and tied for first in both goals (8) and game-winning goals (2), while finishing second in points with ten on eight goals and two assists.

The Boston Bruins draftee bookended the month of December with a pair of hat tricks, first recording three goals on Dec. 1 in a 6-2 conference win at Quinnipiac and then closing the month netting three goals and adding an assist in a Crimson win over host Vermont in the 21st annual TD Bank Catamount Cup at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The hat tricks were the third and fourth of his career. He was selected to the All-Tournament Team, finishing the two games with four goals and one assist and also earned ECAC Hockey Player of the Week honors in the last week of December. He was named the ECAC Hockey Player of the Month for December as well. Donato currently leads the nation averaging 1.00 goals per game and 1.67 points per game.

Donato was recently one of four players currently playing college hockey selected to the U.S. Olympic team competing in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games between Feb. 14-25, 2018, an honor previously bestowed on his father, Harvard head coach Ted Donato, who represented the U.S. at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.

Cayden Primeau (31 - Northeastern) makes a third period save (2017 Omar Phillips)
Cayden Primeau has stepped in as Northeastern’s No. 1 goalie and went undefeated in December with a 4-0-1 record between the pipes (photo: Omar Phillips).

Primeau went undefeated in the month of December, backstopping Northeastern to a 4-0-1 record and helping to lift his team into second place in the Hockey East table.

He stopped 135 shots in 302:57 of work, good for the nation’s third-best goals against average (1.19) and sixth-best save percentage (.957). He allowed just one goal in four of his five starts and two goals or fewer in each game in which he appeared. He currently sits at 7-3-2 on the year with a 1.89 overall GAA, the best among all league netminders, while his .927 save percentage is second-best.

Primeau made at least 24 stops in each of his five starts, including back-to-back 28-save outings against Merrimack to start the month of December, allowing just two goals on the weekend. For his efforts, he was named Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week on Dec. 4 by Hockey East.

Drafted by the Montreal Canadiens 199th overall in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL Draft, Primeau currently sits atop the league standings in GAA (1.63) and save percentage (.942) in conference play.

Primeau is 5-1-1 in his last seven decisions dating back to Nov. 17, posting a 1.56 GAA and .941 save percentage in that span.