The United States Hockey League announced the CCM Forward, Defenseman and Goaltender of the Week for Week 23 of the 2015-16 season. Denis Smirnov earned weekly honors after tying an individual USHL scoring record, while Jake Ryczek won honors after a five-point weekend. Goaltender Hayden Lavigne won Goaltender of the Week after going 3-0-0-0 with a shutout to help Bloomington reach a playoff spot. CCM Hockey is the official equipment partner of the USHL.
Forward: Denis Smirnov – Fargo Force
2 GP: 5 goals, 2 assists, +4 rating
Smirnov matched a USHL individual scoring record with four goals Friday night. 22 other players have reached the four-goal mark since 2002 including most recently Team USA defenseman Quinn Hughes. Smirnov added an assist in the game for a career high five-point night. The Moscow, RUS native added a goal and assist Saturday night for his 15th multi-point game this season. Smirnov, a second year NHL Draft eligible forward is tied for fourth in USHL scoring with 48 points in 45 games, and has scored a career best 21 goals this season. The Penn State University commit is skating in his third USHL season after being tendered by the Indiana Ice in 2013. Smirnov won a Clark Cup with the Ice in 2014 and previously played for the Wilkes-Barre Knights (AYHL).
Defenseman: Jake Ryczek – Waterloo Black Hawks
3 GP: 2 goals, 3 assists, +2 rating
Ryczek scored five points in three games over the weekend, including a two-goal night on Friday. The Ludlow, MA native has scored seven points in five games with the Waterloo Black Hawks since being acquired last week in a trade. Ryczek extended his point streak to five games with two assists Saturday night. The Providence College commit played in the 2016 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game and earned a game-best 747 Player Skating Assessment score measured by HockeyTech. Ryczek is skating in his second USHL season after being selected by the Sioux City Musketeers in the 2014 USHL Phase I Draft in the 1st round, 14th overall. Ryczek previously played for the Selects Hockey Academy (USHS).
Goaltender: Hayden Lavigne – Bloomington Thunder
3-0-0-0, 0.66 GAA, .971 SV%
Lavigne won three consecutive starts, including a 24-save shutout in overtime Thursday night. The three wins were a crucial point in the Thunder season, as they entered the week one point out of a playoff position and now have a five-point lead in fourth, and are two points back of third place. Lavigne’s three wins also gave the University of Michigan commit a career best 20 wins on the year. Lavigne has a total of three shutouts on the year and a 2.45 GAA. The Brampton, ON native was selected in the 2013 USHL Phase II Draft in the 3rd round, 32nd overall, and has previously played for the Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL), Tri-City Storm (USHL), Wellington Dukes (OJHL) and Toronto Nationals AAA (GTMMHL).
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16. A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
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