Mercyhurst’s Duszak, Niagara’s Stenlund, Minnesota Duluth’s Shepard garner HCA monthly player awards

Joseph Duszak (21 - Mercyhurst) (2018 Omar Phillips)
Joseph Duszak compiled nine goals and 17 points last month for Mercyhurst (photo: Omar Phillips).

Mercyhurst defenseman Joseph Duszak has been named the Hockey Commissioners Association Player of the Month for January, while Niagara forward Ludwig Stenlund is the HCA Rookie of the Month and Minnesota Duluth’s Hunter Shepard garners HCA Goaltender of the Month laurels.

Duszak led the country in two offensive categories, tallying 17 points and netting nine goals in eight games played. He also registered eight assists, which tied for seventh.

The junior had a point in each of the eight games in which he appeared, which pushed his scoring streak to 10 straight games entering February. The Franklin Square, N.Y., native also added in six blocks and a plus-four rating while moving Mercyhurst into position for a first-round bye in the AHA playoffs. He was on the ice for 17 of his teams’ goals, the most of any player in the month of January.

Ludwig Stenlund (photo: Niagara Athletics)
Ludwig Stenlund scored in five of Niagara’s six games last month (photo: Niagara Athletics)

Stenlund tied for the lead in scoring amongst rookie skaters in January. He had 10 points on five goals and five assists, leading Niagara to a 2-2-2 record against conference opponents.

The Sweden native finished January as the only freshman in Atlantic Hockey’s top 10 in scoring, tying for fifth. He scored in five of the team’s six games, with multi-point games in three of those outings. Stenlund was the only player in the conference to tally two shorthanded goals this month.

Shepard, a native of Cohasset, Minn., backstopped the Bulldogs to a 5-1-0 record in January, with his .833 win percentage tops in the NCHC. He ranked third nationally with a 1.34 GAA and fifth in the NCAA with a .944 save percentage during the first month of 2019. Shepard totaled 136 saves in January, allowing more than two goals only once in six games.

Shepard blanked Miami on back-to-back nights Jan. 18-19, with his two shutouts during the month tying for the NCAA lead.

6 Oct 18: Hunter Shepard (Minnesota Duluth - 32). The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers play against the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs in a non-conference matchup at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, MN. (Jim Rosvold/University of Minnesota)
UMD’s Hunter Shepard is among the national leaders in all major goaltending categories (photo: Jim Rosvold/University of Minnesota).

After his strong January, Shepard now ranks third in the country with a 1.75 GAA and is tied for second in the NCAA with five shutouts. His 17 wins (17-7-2) also rank third nationally, while his .924 save percentage is second in the NCHC and 14th nationally.