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Brian Smith | HCA | November 1, 2018

College hockey: Bowling Green's Max Johnson named HCA national player of the month

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WAKEFIELD, Mass. — The first HCA National Player of the Month of the 2018-19 season is Max Johnson (Lakeville, Minn.) from Bowling Green State University. The 5-10, 183-pound forward tied for the NCAA scoring lead with 13 points in October, helping the Falcons go from unranked in preseason polls to No. 9 nationally following a 5-1-1 opening month.

A facilitator as well as a scorer, the sophomore lit the lamp six times on 18 shots and handed out seven assists. Johnson also led a potent BGSU power play and paced the country with 10 man-advantage points and tying for tops with five power-play goals.

While playing a challenging opening-month schedule that featured four games against nationally ranked opponents, Johnson tallied at least one point in six of his seven contests. He opened with a four-point contest (2g, 2a) in an 8-2 road win at Mercyhurst on Oct. 6, tallied four assists in a home-and-home against Robert Morris (Oct. 12-14), and earned WCHA Forward of the Week honors after a five-point week against then-No. 19 Western Michigan and then-No. 4 Ohio State (Oct. 23-27). Johnson scored the game-winning goal in a 4-1 home victory over WMU (Oct. 23), recorded his first career hat trick in an 8-2 road win at OSU (Oct. 26), and picked up an assist in a 2-2 home draw with the Buckeyes (Oct. 27).

Among NCAA skaters with at least four games played in October, Johnson ranked third with 1.86 points per game and fifth with 0.86 goals per contest.

The HCA National Rookie of the Month for October is Wisconsin's K'Andre Miller (Minnetonka, Minn.). The defenseman finished the month of October tied for third in points among all freshmen in the nation with seven (2g, 5a), two more points than any other freshman defenseman.

Miller scored the Badgers' first goal of the season, the game-winning score in a 3-0 win over Boston College on Oct. 12. He went on to add an assist the following night as the Badgers completed the series sweep in Madison. The following weekend, Miller recorded the first multi-point game of his career with a goal and two assists in a win at St. Lawrence on Oct. 20.

Returning to Madison the next weekend, Miller notched another multi-point effort with a pair of assists in a victory over Michigan Tech on Oct. 27. Miller finished the month with a plus-minus rating of plus-nine, earning a share of the national lead among all players. Miller leads all freshmen in the Big Ten in points and assists, while sharing the lead in goals.

Miami junior netminder Ryan Larkin (Clarkston, Mich.) was chosen as the inaugural HCA National Goaltender of the Month after posting a 5-1-0 record in six October starts, including three shutouts, which led the NCAA. He allowed only five goals all month, including only three even strength, as he posted a 0.83 goals-against average and a .966 save percentage, both of which led all NCAA netminders in October with at least three games played.

Larkin opened 2018-19 with an 11-save shutout on Oct. 7 against Alabama-Huntsville, which earned him NCHC Goaltender of the Week honors. He then recorded his second shutout of the season a week later with a 21-save effort at Mercyhurst. Following a 25-save win over UMass Lowell on Oct. 20, Larkin completed his month by allowing only a power play goal in a sweep of Colgate, Oct. 26-27, again garnering the nod for NCHC Goaltender of the Week. After turning aside 28 shots in the 4-1 series-opening win, Larkin stopped a season-high 30 shots in the series finale with the Raiders for his third shutout of the opening month.

Larkin totaled 144 saves in October on 149 shots faced, while he allowed one goal or less in all five of his victories. With his three whitewashes in October, Larkin now has five shutouts in his collegiate career.

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