Puck honors roll in for Gophers

Three Gopher hockey players earned WCHA player of the week honors after a pair of weekend sweeps for Minnesota's red-hot puck teams.

On the men's side, sophomore forward Thomas Vanek was named Co-Offensive Player of the Week after he scored four goals and chipped in three assists as the Gophers swept Minnesota State-Mankato last weekend.

Vanek scored the first shorthanded goal of his career in Friday night's 6-0 victory, then netted a hat trick in Saturday's 10-3 shellacking of the Mavericks. Vanek leads the Gophers with 17 goals and 30 points.

Briggs posted two victories in the net as he earned WCHA Rookie of the Week honors. He stopped 40 of 42 shots and moved his record to 11-5-3 on the season, including a 5-0-2 mark in his last seven decisions.

His fourth shutout of the season Friday set a record for Minnesota rookie goaltenders. One more shutout would tie him with goaltender coach Robb Stauber for the single-season record.

Meanwhile, Krissy Wendell has been forced to shoulder the offensive burden for the women's team after the season-ending elbow injury suffered by her Olympic teammate Natalie Darwitz. Wendell's first series minus Darwitz could be a good omen, as she earned WCHA Offensive Player of the Week honors with six points as the top-ranked Gophers swept No. 7 Mercyhurst.

Wendell had a hat trick and one assist in Friday's 5-1 victory, then added a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win Saturday. For the season, Wendell has a team-high 16 goals and ranks third on the squad with 17 assists.

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