Monday, January 9, 2017

Nelson receives WCHA honor

Minnesota State junior goaltender Aaron Nelson was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Mavericks' sweep over Alabama Huntsville over the weekend.

Making his long-awaited collegiate debut, Nelson had an 18-save shutout on Friday and stopped 29 of 31 shots on Saturday for a .959 save percentage. The Mavericks won 3-0 and 3-2, breaking a fourth-place tie in the league standings with UAH.

The Bismarck, N.D. native hoped hold the Chargers scoreless on eight power-play chances over the weekend, including a 5-minute major in the third period on Saturday with his team up by one goal.

With the wins, Minnesota State moved up to No. 18 in the latest USCHO poll.

Nelson's debut performance was another memorable one for a former third-string MSU goalie. 

Chris Clark famously came in to play in the Mavericks' 8-7 come-from-behind victory over Denver in 2003. Starter Jon Volp and backup Kyle Nixon were both yanked, and Clark, a freshman, came in with the score 7-1 in favor of the Pioneers. He got the win and the "Hollywood" legend was born.

In 2009, freshman Phil Cook seemed to be the third guy behind sophomore Austin Lee and freshman Kevin Murdock. Still, he got some mop-up duty time early in the season and then was given a surprising start at Bemidji State. He stopped 30 shots in a 5-1 win and ended up starting 15 more games that season. Murdock transferred, and Cook and Lee split time for the next two seasons. Cook ended up losing the No. 1 job as a senior, however, to Stephon Williams.

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