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CCM Players of the Week: Week 23

02/29/2016, 2:45pm CST

Fargo Force's Denis Smirnov earns weekly honor after record-tying performance along with Waterloo's Jake Ryczek and Bloomington's Hayden Lavigne.


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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