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Grant Opperman and Charles Grant Earn ECAC Hockey Weekly Awards

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By Dartmouth

ALBANY, N.Y. – It was announced Wednesday morning by the league office that Dartmouth’s Grant Opperman and Charles Grant have been named the ECAC Hockey Rookie and Goaltender of the Week.

The awards come on the heels of the Big Green’s sweep of the North Country teams this weekend, the only four-point performance by any program in ECAC Hockey.

For Grant, this marks the second time this season his performance has garnered Goaltender of the Week honors after also earning the distinction in early December. The Rookie honors were the first for Opperman and the first by a Dartmouth player since Nick Bligh was named the recipient on Dec. 4, 2012.

Grant picked up wins at St. Lawrence (3-1) and Clarkson (6-1) this past weekend, posting a 1.00 goals-against average and a .969 save percentage in the process as he turned aside 63-of-65 shots faced. Against the Saints, Grant finished the night with 32 saves, including stopping all 17 shots in the third period. The second-year netminder also stopped eight shots from the nation’s best power-play unit to help the Big Green earn their seventh straight win at Appleton Arena in Canton.

The following night, Grant posted another 30-plus save performance, this time turning aside 31 at Clarkson. He and the rest of his Dartmouth teammates withstood an early offensive onslaught from the Golden Knights before a four-goal outburst at the end of the period gave the Green and White some breathing room. The Berwick, Nova Scotia, native would continue to shine as the game moved on, stopping all 10 shots he faced in the third to give Dartmouth its first road sweep in nearly two seasons.

If Grant was the rock in the defensive zone all weekend, Opperman was one of the numerous bright spots in the attacking zone. Playing on the top line all weekend with junior Brandon McNally and Eric Neiley, Opperman scored two goals and finished with three points and a plus-4 rating.

Opperman’s breakaway goal at St. Lawrence on Friday night broke the 1-1 tie and proved to be the game winner, the first of his career. Against Clarkson, the Wayzata, Minn., native assisted on Neiley’s first of the night, stealing the puck from starting goalie Steve Perry behind the net and feeding his linemate in the slot for the team’s third goal of the opening frame, chasing the Golden Knights’ netminder from the contest.

The freshman winger would add a goal of his own just 3:25 into the third to give the Big Green a 5-1 advantage. Falling down at the side of the net, Opperman was able to knock a loose puck in the crease into an open netmouth for his seventh tally of the season, the most among first-year players in Hanover. His 13 points are tied for third in Dartmouth scoring to this point.

Neiley was the runner-up for the Player of the Week honor after scoring twice and finishing the two-game slate with five points and a plus-4 rating.

Opperman and Grant, along with the rest of the Big Green, return to Thompson Arena this weekend for the final homestand of the regular season. Brown will make the trip for Friday night’s game, while defending national champion Yale is in the Upper Valley on Saturday. Both games are 7 p.m. starts.