The last time winger Chris Higgins ’05 had five points in a weekend, he earned Player of the Week honors. With a playoff berth on the line this past weekend against Harvard and Brown, Higgins’s second five-point performance of the season earned him his second Player of the Week title Mar. 3.
The award marks the third time this year that Higgins has topped the list of weekend performers. Against Harvard, Higgins had the game-tying and game-winning goal, both of which came in the final three minutes of the third period. With the wins last weekend, the Bulldogs edged out Union College by one point for the 10th and final spot in the ECAC playoffs.
Higgins’s game-tying score Friday night against the Cantabs snapped his seven-game scoring drought during which the Elis went 5-2.
“When I scored the first goal against Harvard, it was just relief,” Higgins said. “That’s been my role all year. To get back to that point feels great.”
Higgins last received distinction in the ECAC when he was named Player of the Week Jan. 13 for a five-point performance on the road against Harvard and Brown. Higgins, who is currently the only rookie in the ECAC to be named Player of the Week twice, was also named ECAC Rookie of the Week on Dec. 3.
“[Getting ECAC Player of the Week] was best for him personally,” winger Spencer Rodgers ’02 said. “To get him going again gets his spirits up. He couldn’t have timed those two goals any better.”
Indeed, with the Bulldogs’ playoff stretch opening this weekend against No. 9 Cornell and the NHL entry draft scheduled for June 22-23, Higgins needs all the points he can get to boost the Bulldogs, as well as his standing in the draft. Higgins has been rated as high as fifth among American college prospects for the draft.
“Chris is one of those guys you rely on and that you need to chip in with the big goals in order for a team to win,” Rodgers said. “Not only does it help us on the scoreboard, it opens up the ice for the rest of the players.”
Despite the pressure to perform, Higgins uses the attention in his favor.
“I don’t think [the draft] had any effect on my game,” Higgins said of his seven-game scoreless stretch. “I think of all the draft talk and all the hype, and I just turn it into motivation.”
Higgins will get another chance to turn the heat of the ECAC spotlight into his own offensive spark when the Bulldogs travel to Ithaca, N.Y., this weekend for the first two games of the ECAC playoffs.
“[Cornell is] going to be all over me,” Higgins said. “If I start playing better than I [have been], so much the better.”