Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

NAHL

Notes from the Rink: Welsh honored for five-point weekend

Kirsten Welsh heads to the corner in a game against Mercyhurst on Dec. 2, 2017. -- JENN HOFFMAN

Robert Morris defender Kirsten Welsh is the College Hockey America Player of the Week after a three-goal, five-point weekend as the helped the Colonials take three of four points from conference rivals Penn State.

Welsh scored both of the team’s goals in a 2-2 tie on Friday night and then had a goal and two assists in a 4-2 victory on Saturday.

The junior defender from Blackstock, Ontario was the conference’s highest-scoring player over the weekend. It was Welsh’s second CHA Player of the Week award. She also collected the honor in late October, again after a weekend series with the Nittany Lions. That time, she scored two game-tying goals as the teams tied both games.

Welsh’s big weekend gave her 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points on the season. She’s the highest-scoring defender in CHA conference play with 18 points.

#FERGY4HOBEY

Robert Morris senior forward Brady Ferguson’s Hobey Baker candidacy continues. Ferguson is currently12th with 1.4 percent of the vote. Robert Morris fans can vote for Ferguson here.

Brady Ferguson skates in the 2017 Three Rivers Classic. — JENN HOFFMAN

RANKED AGAIN

The Robert Morris women are ranked No. 10 in this week’s USCHO.com poll and the USA Today/USA Hockey coaches poll. The Colonials were unranked last week, but have been ranked in 25 of the last 28 USCHO polls. They’ve received votes in 32 straight polls, dating back to November of 2016.

Robert Morris received 19 vote points, just three behind No. 9 Providence. The Colonials are off this weekend while the Friars play unranked Merrimack and Connecticut.

HAWK HONORED

Johnstown Tomahawks goaltender Kade Phipps was named the NAHL East Division Star of the Week. Phillips stopped 61 of 63 shots in a weekend sweet at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

In 13 games with the Tomahawks, Phipps has a .927 save percentage and a 2.15 goals-against average.

“Kade was a big part of our weekend sweep on the road against a really good Wilkes-Barre team,” head coach Mike Letizia said in a press release. “Both scores were 2-1 and in each night the only goal he allowed came with the Knights having a man advantage — one with an extra attacker late on Friday and a PP goal on Saturday. … He has continued to provide us with solid, consistent goaltending and we will look to him to be a major contributor of more success for our team moving forward.”

The Tomahawks finished January with a 6-3 record and are now just three points behind the New Jersey Titans for the fourth and final postseason spot in the East Division. The Tomahawks are off this weekend and then will make a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska on Feb. 9 and 10.

Kade Phipps plays the puck in warmups for Johnstown on Oct. 15, 2017. — BRIAN MITCHELL

PIPELINE CONTINUES

Greater Latrobe and Esmark Stars defenseman Blake Rossi has signed a tender to play the 2018-19 season in the NAHL with the Amarillo Bulls. Rossi, a 6-foot, 154-pound, right-handed shot currently has four goals and six assists in 14 games with the Stars in the NAPHL and eight goals and 13 assists in 16 games with the Wildcats, who are in first place in the PIHL Double-AA South/East Conference.

The Bulls have had a number of players from Western Pennsylvania over the past few years. Former Peters Township and Pittsburgh Penguins Elite forward Stephen Rex is currently playing in Amarillo. Eric Cooley, Jonathan Dagnal (Peters Twp.), Luke Edgerton (Wheeling Central Catholic), Kyle Madore (Peters Twp.), Tanner Paloscik (Beaver) and Brendan Walkom (Moon) all played there last year.

Balke Rossi battles for position against Upper St. Clair on Jan. 4. — BRIAN MITCHELL

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