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3 Stars of the Week: Motte ties NCAA lead in goals after five-point night

by Emerald Gao / Chicago Blackhawks

Each Monday, the Blackhawks Blog will highlight players who stood out for their minor-league, junior, college, or European teams in the previous week’s action. All prospect/system stats will be updated weekly throughout the 2015-16 season.

(Daryl Marshke/Michigan Photography)

1st Star: RW Tyler Motte, University of Michigan (BIG10)
The Line: 2GP, 4G, 3A

Motte and Michigan linemates Kyle Connor and J.T. Compher have lit up college hockey this season, helping the Wolverines become the top offensive team in the nation, and they continued their strong run over a weekend set against Ohio State. Motte netted a goal and an assist, then made his shootout attempt on Friday in an eventual 6-5 loss. Chicago’s 2013 fourth-round pick then exploded for five points—including his first collegiate hat trick—on Sunday in a wild 8-6 win, leading the team with eight shots on goal. With his four tallies last weekend, the junior now shares the NCAA lead with 18 goals in 21 games this season, while his 28 points rank third on the team and share 10th in college hockey.

(Photo courtesy Rockford IceHogs)

2nd Star: RW Mark McNeill, Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
The Line: 3GP, 2G, 2A

McNeill collected points in each of his outings for Rockford last week, helping the IceHogs win two of three games while centering the top line alongside Marko Dano and Ryan Hartman. The 22-year-old picked up a helper in Tuesday’s win over Chicago and Saturday’s win over Stockton, in addition to scoring both goals in a loss to San Jose on Friday. The 2011 first-round pick now ranks sixth on the team with 16 points (7G, 9A) in 26 games this season.

(Photo courtesy Rockford IceHogs)

3rd Star: G Michael Leighton, Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
The Line: 2-0-0, 1 SO

Michael Leighton won both of his starts for Rockford last week, making 24 stops on 26 saves against Chicago before stopping all 23 shots he faced to notch his 43rd career AHL shutout, moving within two of catching all-time leader Johnny Bower. Leighton now shares the league lead with 19 wins, and he ranks fourth with a .927 save percentage and 2.22 goals-against average.

Honorable mentions: LW Garret Ross, Rockford IceHogs (AHL); C Dylan Sikura, Northeastern University (H-EAST)

Garret Ross posted points in all three games for Rockford last week, including a goal and an assist in Tuesday’s win over Chicago and helpers against San Jose and Stockton. The 2012 fifth-round pick ranks seventh on the team with 15 points (6G, 9A) this season.

Dylan Sikura helped Northeastern win their weekend set against New Hampshire with three goals in two outings, including his first multi-goal effort of the campaign in a 4-2 win on Friday. The 2014 sixth-round pick now has five tallies and eight assists in 21 games during his sophomore season.

Around the system:

  • Anthony Louis led Miami of Ohio to a 2-1 win over Bowling Green on Saturday, their only tilt of the week. The 2012 sixth-round pick assisted on the opening goal before adding the game-winner with 2 seconds left in regulation, and now ranks second on the team with 15 points (4G, 11A) in 21 games this season... Defenseman Luc Snuggerud picked up an assist in both games for Nebraska–Omaha last weekend as the Mavericks split two games against North Dakota; the sophomore has eight helpers and 10 points in 21 games... UND forward Luke Johnson notched a goal and assist in Saturday’s 5-1 win over UNO and now has 11 points (5G, 6A) in 24 games this season.

  • Freshman forward Jack Ramsey collected his second point of the season with an assist in Minnesota’s 5-2 win over Michigan State on Friday... Goaltender Matt Tomkins was in net for Ohio State for both games against Michigan and withstood heavy pressure over that span, facing a total of 93 shots and allowing 13 goals. The 2013 sixth-round pick did stop seven of nine shootout attempts to pick up the win on Friday, although per BIG10 rules the game counts as a tie in the record books.

  • Vinnie Hinostroza notched his 12th assist of the season for Rockford last Tuesday, then tallied the game-winner on Sunday against Stockton; the first-year pro shares fourth on the team with 17 points in 32 games this season... Ryan Haggerty had a big outing against Chicago last Tuesday, opening the scoring with his fifth goal of the season and adding an assist on the game-winner. The 22-year-old has seven points in 15 games for the IceHogs this season.

  • Defenseman Viktor Svedberg had a big week offensively, scoring his first goal on Tuesday in a 5-2 win over Chicago while taking a team-high five shots on goal. He also contributed a pair of helpers in Saturday’s 3-0 shutout of Stockton, and now has nine points in 24 games this season.
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