Pair of Black Hawks and Tri-City's Cameron Korpi take home USHL Player of the Week honors
Waterloo's Gavin O'Connell and Ben Robertson were named the USHL Forward and Defenseman of the Week after recording six and five-point weekends
The United States Hockey League announced its Players of the Week Monday evening. Waterloo forward Gavin O’Connell, Waterloo defenseman Ben Robertson and Tri-City goaltender Cameron Korpi took home the respective honors for Week 19.
It was the first weekly honor for all three and the third time this season a team has had multiple players selected in the same week.
Two from Waterloo! Here are the USHL Players of the Week ⭐️#StarsRise | https://t.co/BDV0m34VdY pic.twitter.com/wgJ16T1sCs— USHL (@USHL) February 6, 2023
O’Connell had quite the weekend with five goals and an assist, including a pair of goals on both Thursday and Saturday. Waterloo took four of six possible points on the weekend, highlighted by a 4-3 overtime win over conference-leading Fargo Saturday night.
Both of O’Connell’s goals came in the third period Saturday and he also assisted Sam Rinzel’s overtime winner. The UMD commit has 13 goals and 25 points in 35 games this season.
“Gavin has really started to round out his game lately,” Waterloo head coach Matt Smaby told The Rink Live. “He’s at his best when he’s skating and aggressive. He was outstanding for us last weekend, playing gritty and relentless.”
Waterloo is 8-2-0-0 in its last 10 games and trails Fargo by just four points in the Western Conference.
While O’Connell did most of the damage Saturday night, it was Robertson who stole the show Thursday in Waterloo’s 7-3 win at Dubuque. The Cornell commit registered a five-point night (1-4-5), bringing his season total to 29 points (2-27-29) in 38 games.
His 29 points rank third amongst USHL defensemen.
“Ben has been one of our most consistent players on both ends of the ice all season,” Smaby said. “It’s been awesome to watch him grow into an impact player in the league. He was a game-changer for us in Dubuque.”
Rounding out the group is Korpi, who continues his strong between the pipes. Korpi won both of his starts this weekend and turned aside 68 of the 71 shots fired his way, good for a 1.50 goals-against average and a .958 save percentage.
Korpi recorded a season-high 35 saves on Sunday in Tri-City’s 3-2 win at Sioux Falls. The other 33 saves came Saturday night in a 4-1 win in Omaha.
The Western Michigan commit is now 6-1-1 in the USHL this season with a 2.12 GAA and .929 save percentage. Tri-City acquired him in a trade with Oklahoma (NAHL) on Jan. 24.
Korpi was also 12-3-0-0 with a .923 save percentage in the NAHL this season.
"I think the recognition is well-earned and very well-deserved for Cam," Tri-City head coach Anthony Noreen said. "He did exactly what he's done every single game he's been in the net for us and that's give us a chance to win.
"We feel like every time he's been in there he's given us a chance and this weekend was no different. He made some big saves on Saturday against Omaha to keep it close early and then he made some huge saves late on Sunday against Sioux Falls."