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Finalists Revealed for 2015-16 NCHC Individual Awards

By NCHC, 03/10/16, 3:00PM EST

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UND’s Caggiula, Denver’s Heinen and SCSU’s Prow up for Player of the Year

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – One day after unveiling its all-conference teams, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) announced the finalists for 10 of its individual specialty awards for 2015-16 on Thursday. The winners of the awards will be announced Thursday, March 17 at the NCHC Awards Celebration at Muse Event Center in Minneapolis on the eve of the third annual NCHC Frozen Faceoff.

The three finalists for NCHC Player of the Year are North Dakota senior forward Drake Caggiula, Denver sophomore forward Danton Heinen and St. Cloud State senior defenseman Ethan Prow, all three of which were First-Team All-NCHC selections this year. Caggiula totaled 22 points in 20 conference games (1.10 ppg) on 10 goals and 12 helpers and also had four game-winners with a plus-21 rating. Heinen finished tied for third in NCHC scoring with 30 points (1.25 ppg) on 11 goals and 19 assists, while posting a plus-15 rating. Prow led all defensemen with 24 points in 22 NCHC games, tallying six goals and adding 18 assists. All three players are finalists for other awards as well.

Up for Herb Brooks Coach of the Year are North Dakota’s Brad Berry, Denver’s Jim Montgomery and SCSU’s Bob Motzko. In his first year as UND’s bench boss, Berry led the Fighting Hawks to a second straight Penrose Cup as NCHC regular-season champions, setting NCHC records for conference wins (19) and conference points (59). Montgomery guided the Pioneers to a tie for second place in the NCHC with 17 wins and 53 points, including a second-half surge that has the Pioneers 14-1-1 in their last 16 games. Motzko led the Huskies, who were picked sixth in the NCHC Preseason Poll, to a tie with DU for second place in the NCHC and a top-five national ranking much of the season, despite being unranked in the preseason. Motzko won the inaugural award in 2014.

A pair of student-athletes are the only finalists for the NCHC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in St. Cloud State senior forward Kalle Kossila and Denver senior forward Gabe Levin. Kossila leads all NCHC players in overall scoring with 46 points this season and has 145 points in his career, while compiling a 3.68 cumulative grade-point average and majoring in international business. Levin has 12 points, including five goals, in 33 games this season and 61 points in his career, while majoring in finance and compiling a 3.96 GPA.

The finalists for NCHC Rookie of the Year include UND forward Brock Boeser, Denver forward Dylan Gambrell and Miami forward Jack Roslovic, all three of which were selected to the NCHC All-Rookie Team. Boeser won the NCHC scoring and goal-scoring titles with 35 points (1.46 ppg) and 20 goals in 24 conference games, setting NCHC records for both. Gambrell was second in NCHC rookie scoring with 30 points in 24 games, including leading all NCHC freshmen with 18 assists in conference play. Roslovic finished tied for fourth in NCHC rookie scoring with 16 points in 24 games, including five goals, four of which came on the power play and one of which was a game-winner.

A trio of netminders are finalists for NCHC Goaltender of the Year. North Dakota sophomore Cam Johnson, a Second-Team All-NCHC pick, led all NCHC netminders with his .935 save percentage in NCHC play while his 1.80 goals-against average was second in the conference. He tied for the NCHC lead with four shutouts while posting a 13-3-0 record in 18 NCHC starts. Minnesota Duluth sophomore Kasimir Kaskisuo also pitched four shutouts, starting 23 NCHC games (11-9-3) while leading the conference with a 1.69 GAA in conference play only and ranking second with a .932 save percentage. SCSU junior Charlie Lindgren was the only goaltender to start all 24 conference games, leading the NCHC with 17 wins (17-6-1). The First-Team All-NCHC selection posted a .927 save percentage and was third in the NCHC with a 2.11 goals-against average, while pitching one shutout.

Caggiula and Heinen are also finalists for NCHC Forward of the Year, along with Omaha junior Jake Guentzel. Caggiula averaged 1.10 points per game in conference play with five multi-point games, including a hat trick, while Heinen’s 1.25 points per game tied for fourth in the NCHC as he closed conference play on a 12-game point streak and was a three-time NCHC Offensive Player of the Week. Guentzel, a Second-Team All-NCHC selection, was seventh in NCHC scoring with 26 points in 24 games on 13 goals and assists each, while he led the NCHC with three short-handed goals.

The four finalists for NCHC Defenseman of the Year make up the blue lines on both the First and Second All-Conference Teams. Denver junior Will Butcher compiled 18 points in 23 conference games on four goals and 14 assists, while blocking 34 shots and logging a plus-14 rating. Along with his 24 points, Prow blocked 39 shots and posted a plus-21 rating, which was second among defensemen. Both were named First-Team All-Conference and each blue liner committed only one minor penalty in all of conference play. North Dakota junior Troy Stecher anchored UND’s defense that ranks third nationally while tallying 16 points, including five goals, in 23 conference games. He also blocked 29 shots, posted a plus-11 rating and led all NCHC blue liners with 70 shots on goal. UMD senior Andy Welinski played in all 24 NCHC games, racking up 10 points, including nine assists, while blocking 30 shots and compiling a plus-9 rating. Stecher and Welinski were Second-Team All-NCHC picks.

Butcher, Prow and Stecher are also finalists for NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year. All three earned multiple NCHC Defenseman of the Week awards, as well, this season.

The three finalists for NCHC Defensive Forward of the Year are Kossila, Miami senior Sean Kuraly and Denver senior Quentin Shore. In addition to his 32 points in conference play, Kossila, a Second-Team All-NCHC honoree, blocked 13 shots and logged a plus-18 rating in 24 games. Kuraly, an All-NCHC Honorable Mention selection this season, played in all 24 NCHC games as well, blocking 20 shots with a plus-5 rating and 18 points. Shore blocked 15 shots with a plus-7 rating and totaled 14 points in 24 games.

A new award for this season is the Three Stars Award, which is presented to the player that accumulates the most Star of the Game points in conference games only throughout the season. For each conference game during the season, the media selects the Three Stars of the Game with a first star nod earning five points, a second star earning three points and a third star earning one point. The four-highest point totals, and hence the finalists, are Boeser, Heinen, Lindgren and Denver sophomore goalie Tanner Jaillet.

For most of the awards, finalists were determined based on voting by the conference’s head coaches and one student-athlete from each team with the top three vote-getters (plus ties) being finalists. The Scholar-Athlete of the Year finalists were determined in a vote by the conference’s Faculty Athletics Representatives (FARs) while the Three Stars Award finalists are the players with the highest Three Stars of the Game point totals from the season. Athletic Directors at each NCHC institution had a vote on Herb Brooks Coach of the Year, rather than the student-athletes.

In addition to these 10 award winners being announced at the NCHC Awards Celebration next Thursday, the NCHC will also announce its Sportsmanship Award and Postgraduate Scholarship winners. The NCHC announced its All-Rookie Team on Tuesday and its all-academic teams in February.

AWARD FINALISTS

Herb Brooks Coach of the Year Finalists
Brad Berry, UND
Jim Montgomery, Denver
Bob Motzko, SCSU

Player of the Year Finalists
Drake Caggiula, Sr., F, UND
Danton Heinen, So., F, Denver
Ethan Prow, Sr., D, SCSU

Scholar-Athlete of the Year Finalists
Kalle Kossila, Sr., F, SCSU
Gabe Levin, Sr., F, Denver

Rookie of the Year Finalists
Brock Boeser, F, UND
Dylan Gambrell, F, Denver
Jack Roslovic, F, Miami

Goaltender of the Year Finalists
Cam Johnson, So., UND
Kasimir Kaskisuo, So., UMD
Charlie Lindgren, Jr., SCSU

Forward of the Year Finalists
Drake Caggiula, Sr., UND
Jake Guentzel, Jr., Omaha
Danton Heinen, So., Denver

Defenseman of the Year Finalists
Will Butcher, Jr., Denver
Ethan Prow, Sr., SCSU
Troy Stecher, Jr., UND
Andy Welinski, Sr., UMD

Offensive Defenseman of the Year Finalists
Will Butcher, Jr., Denver
Ethan Prow, Sr., SCSU
Troy Stecher, Jr., UND

Defensive Forward of the Year Finalists
Kalle Kossila, Sr., SCSU
Sean Kuraly, Sr., Miami
Quentin Shore, Sr., Denver

Three Stars Award Finalists
Brock Boeser, Fr., F, UND
Danton Heinen, So., F, Denver
Tanner Jaillet, So., G, Denver
Charlie Lindgren, Jr., G, SCSU

--#NCHCHockey--

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