Connolly and Nelson Receive CCHA Player of the Week Recognition

Senior left wing Brendan Connolly (Canmore, Alberta) and freshman goaltender Taylor Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan) of the 2008-09 Ferris State University men's ice hockey team have been selected as this week's (Feb. 2) Central Collegiate Hockey Association's (CCHA) Offensive Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week, respectively. The announcement was made today (Feb. 2) by the league office.

Brendan Connolly
Brendan Connolly
The pair helped Ferris State earn four league points in this past weekend's home series against Nebraska-Omaha at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich. The Bulldogs recorded a 7-1 victory over the Mavericks in last Friday's (Jan. 30) weekend series opener and then won 2-1 in a shootout in Saturday's (Jan. 31) finale after the two teams skated to a 1-1 overtime tie.

Connolly concluded the series with four points (2-2=4) in the two outings, which included a three-point (1-2=3) performance in Friday's win. He received the game's first star and posted a plus two efficiency rating. In Saturday's tilt, Connolly scored the Bulldogs' only regulation goal with a second-period power-play lamplighter and then tallied FSU's initial shootout goal en route to garnering the second star of the game recognition.

In 25 games this season, Connolly has registered a team-high 22 points with seven goals and 15 assists to go with a plus five efficiency rating. He also has generated three power-play markers, one short-handed goal, one game-tying tally, and eight blocked shots this campaign. Connolly has notched at least a point in 14 games this season to date with five resulting in multiple-point efforts, which includes a four-point (2-2=4) showing at Northern Michigan (Nov. 28).

For his career, Connolly has currently accumulated 75 points on 32 goals and 43 assists in 137 contests while generating a plus three efficiency rating. The 5-8, 168-pound forward has produced 12 power-play goals, three short-handed markers, and one game-winning tally in his three-plus year Bulldog career.

Taylor Nelson
Taylor Nelson
Nelson stopped 64-of-66 shots for a .970 save percentage in two appearances versus Nebraska-Omaha. The 6-1, 171-pound netminder also compiled a 0.96 goals-against average (two goals allowed) in 125 minutes of action. Nelson turned away 30 shots in the series opener and then made 34 saves in game two of the weekend league series. Nelson currently sports a 5-3-4 record this campaign with a 2.38 goals-against average (29 goals allowed) and a .914 save percentage (308 saves) in 13 outings. Nelson, who was rated fourth among the top 10 incoming collegiate goaltenders by Inside College Hockey.com (INCH), has totaled 25 or more saves in a game on six occasions this season, which includes a career-best 35 stops versus nationally-ranked Ohio State (Jan. 17).

The CCHA weekly recognition for Connolly and Nelson marks the fourth and fifth times this season in which a Ferris State players has received such accolades. Sophomore left wing Mike Embach (Orland Park, Ill.) was named the CCHA's Offensive Player of the Week (Jan. 12) while sophomore Zach Redmond (Traverse City) was tabbed the CCHA's Defenseman of the Week (Oct. 27). Freshman defenseman Chad Billins (Marysville) earned league Rookie of the Week plaudits (Dec. 15).

Ferris State, which is presently 11-11-6 overall with a seventh-place 8-8-4-1 CCHA mark this season, squares off against the Michigan State Spartans this weekend (Feb. 6-7) in a home-and-home CCHA series. The Bulldogs visit MSU this Friday (Feb. 6) in a 7:35 p.m. (EST) matchup which will be televised live by FSN Detroit at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, Mich. Following that tilt, the two teams will face off again this Saturday (Feb. 7) in Big Rapids, Mich. The puck will drop for the series finale at 7:05 p.m. (EST) inside FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in what represents the final 2008-09 regular-season meeting between the schools.

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