NMU’s Tolvanen, Payne take home WCHA weekly honors

Photos by Andrew Knapik/MiHockey

Photos by Andrew Knapik/MiHockey

By @StefanKubus –

Northern Michigan has been rolling lately, largely thanks to this week’s WCHA Defensive Player of the Week.

Sophomore goaltender Atte Tolvanen has posted five consecutive shutouts to tie a NCAA record, the most recent two coming against Alaska this past weekend. On Monday, he was named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts, as he turned aside all 87 shots he faced.

Tolvanen helped the Wildcats to a 3-o victory Friday, where he stopped 39 shots to tie the 63-year-old WCHA record with his fourth-straight shutout. That night, the Finnish netminder also set the WCHA record for consecutive scoreless minutes (currently sits at 335:39), surpassing the former record set by former Wisconsin netminder and current St. Louis Blue Brian Elliott (259:51) The next night, he made a career-high 48 saves in Saturday’s 2-0 win.

The run has helped lift NMU from tenth place in the league to a tie for sixth.

Elsewhere, the Wildcats certainly had the support for Tolvanen up front, as Gaylord native Robbie Payne was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week.

The NMU junior forward recorded back-to-back multi-goal outings for the first time in his career, with a pair on Friday before scoring both Wildcat goals on Saturday in a matter of just 3:03. Payne recorded all four goals on just nine shots.

Payne’s four goals tied Harvard’s Ryan Donato for the NCAA lead last week.