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NU's Plouffe, Kovachis claim Atlantic Hockey weekly awards


WINTHROP, Mass. – Atlantic Hockey announced on Tuesday that Niagara senior forward Derian Plouffe was named the conference's Player of the Week, while junior defenseman Niko Kovachis was named Defensive Player of the Week for their efforts in Niagara's three-point weekend against the RIT Tigers. Plouffe's Player of the Week nod is his third this season, while Kovachis earned his second career Defensive Player of the Week honor, his first since Feb. 9, 2016.
Plouffe led Atlantic Hockey scorers last week with four points (2+2) in two games, adding 10 shots on goal and a .523 faceoff winning percentage as Niagara took three of four points at home against RIT. With Niagara trailing 3-0 late in the second period on Jan. 5, Plouffe scored Niagara's first goal with 1:10 left in the period, and after Niagara tied the game at 3-3, Plouffe scored the game-winning goal on the power play with 4:58 remaining to send Niagara to a 4-3 win. Plouffe then tallied assists on both of Niagara's goals in a 2-2 tie on Jan. 6, adding a game-high six shots on goal.
Through 21 games played, Plouffe is fourth in Atlantic Hockey with 25 points (13+12) and is tied for the conference lead in power-play points (11), shorthanded goals (two), and game-winning goals (four). Among players with at least 200 faceoff attempts, Plouffe is fifth in Atlantic Hockey with .545 win percentage (261-218).
Kovachis finished last week tied for the scoring lead among Atlantic Hockey defensemen with two points, scoring one goal and one assist while adding six shots on goal, three blocked shots, and an even rating as Niagara took three of four points in a weekend series at home against the RIT Tigers. Kovachis picked up the primary assist on Chris Harpur's game-tying goal on Jan. 5, as Niagara completed a comeback from a 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 win. Kovachis also gave Niagara a 2-0 lead early in the third period with a goal on Jan. 6 before RIT rallied to force a 2-2 tie.
Niagara hosts the Robert Morris Colonials at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 9 to close out the three-game home stand. Tickets are still available for Tuesday night's matchup. For ticket information, call (716) 286-TIXX (8499), email tickets@niagara.edu, or visit www.PurpleEagles.com/Tickets. Niagara students receive free admission to all games with a valid student ID. The week rolls on as the Purple Eagles head to Erie for a two-game series at Mercyhurst. Both games on Friday, Jan. 12 and Saturday, Jan. 13 are slated for 7:05 p.m. starts.