Fort Collins’ Thompson, Aspen’s Mbereko pick up weekly NCHC accolades
The NCHC announced today that a pair of Colorado-born freshmen have claimed weekly honors.
Fort Collins native and Denver forward Aidan Thompson is the NCHC Rookie of the Week, while Aspen native and Colorado College goalie Kaidan Mbereko is the NCHC Goaltender of the Week.
Playing in only his second series of the season due to injury, Thompson continued his strong start, tallying three points to help Denver sweep North Dakota on the road.
In Friday’s 3-2 victory, the Chicago Blackhawks draft pick notched his first collegiate multi-point game. He scored his first career goal in the second period to break a 1-1 tie, before assisting on Jared Wright’s game-winner to break a 2-2 tie. The next night in a 6-3 victory, Thompson again broke a deadlock, scoring a power-play goal to put the Pioneers in front 3-2 in the second period.
Thompson finished the series with the first two goals of his college career and an assist, stretching his point streak to three games in the process. He fired five shots on goal in the series, including four Saturday, and finished with a plus-1 plus/minus rating. Thompson also went 15 for 24 (.625) in the faceoff circle against the Fighting Hawks.
On the season, Thompson now has four points (two goals, two assists) in four games, all of which have come in his last three games.
Back home, Thompson skated for the NCYH Jr. Eagles, Rocky Mountain RoughRiders and Colorado Thunderbirds.
Mbereko continued his strong play of late, allowing only two goals all weekend at Miami, to repeat as NCHC Goaltender of the Week.
On Friday, he compiled 22 saves, including seven while the Tigers were short-handed, to backstop CC to a 1-1 overtime tie. Mbereko also denied Miami on all three shootout attempts to help the Tigers earn the extra point in the standings. The next night, the draft-eligible freshman tied his career high with 34 saves in a 2-1 victory to earn First Star of the Game.
Mbereko completed the weekend unbeaten (1-0-1) with a 0.96 goals-against average and a .966 save percentage, totaling 56 saves on 58 shots faced. Nine of his 56 saves came short-handed as he helped CC finish a perfect 9 for 9 on the penalty kill in the series.
On the season, Mbereko improved his record to 3-3-1, while upping his save percentage to .929 and lowering his GAA to 2.11. He now ranks third in the NCHC this year in both save percentage and GAA.
During his youth hockey days, Mbereko played for the Aspen Leafs and Rocky Mountain Snow Kings.
Photos/Denver Athletics (Thompson), Casey B. Gibson (Mbereko)
(November 14, 2022)