COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Following the announcement of the NCHC All-Rookie Team on Tuesday, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) revealed its 2018-19 All-Conference First and Second Teams on Wednesday, with St. Cloud State setting a record with four players on the First Team and having six players honored overall, while Minnesota Duluth garnered three spots on the All-Conference Teams. Western Michigan, Omaha and Denver also placed members on the First or Second All-NCHC Teams.
Earning First-Team All-NCHC are a trio of St. Cloud State forwards up top in senior Patrick Newell, junior Ryan Poehling and sophomore Blake Lizotte. On the blue line are the same members from the 2017-18 All-NCHC First Team in SCSU senior Jimmy Schuldt and Minnesota Duluth sophomore Scott Perunovich, while UMD junior netminder Hunter Shepard moves up from last year’s Second Team to earn First-Team honors in goal this season. Prior to this year, no team had placed more than two players on the All-NCHC First Team in a single season, while Newell and Schuldt were the lone unanimous selections this year.
Landing on the All-NCHC Second Team at forward are Western Michigan junior Hugh McGing, UMD sophomore Justin Richards and Omaha senior Mason Morelli, while Denver sophomore Ian Mitchell and SCSU junior Jack Ahcan make up the Second-Team blue line. In goal on the Second team is SCSU sophomore Dávid Hrenák, who was on the 2017-18 All-Rookie Team last season with Lizotte, Perunovich and Mitchell.
Newell captured the NCHC scoring title, leading the conference with both 13 goals and 28 points in 24 conference games, while his 15 assists tied for fourth in the conference. A two-time NCHC Offensive Player of the Week and February Player of the Month, Newell posted an NCHC-best +18 plus/minus in conference play and fired 75 shots on goal, which was third in the conference. Poehling, a Montreal Canadiens draft pick, tied for fourth in conference scoring with 24 points to average a point per NCHC game, while his 18 assists were tops in the conference. The 2019 World Juniors MVP posted a +11 plus/minus, as well. Lizotte finished in a tie for second in NCHC scoring with 25 points, while his 11 goals in 24 games tied for third. He logged a +13 plus/minus and was the top faceoff man in NCHC play, winning 63.7 percent of his draws (318-181).
Schuldt and Perunovich both returned to the First-Team blue line after leading NCHC defensemen in scoring. Schuldt was the top-scoring blue liner in NCHC play with 23 points in 24 games, while his 17 assists and six goals also led defensemen. The three-time NCHC Defenseman of the Week this season blocked 53 shots and was second among NCHC blue liners with his +16 plus/minus. Perunovich was third in NCHC defenseman scoring with 16 points on two goals and 14 assists. The St. Louis Blues prospect posted a +2 plus/minus and blocked 20 shots to go with 39 shots on goal. In goal, Shepard led the NCHC with both a 1.92 goals-against average and five shutouts, while posting a 14-9-1 record with a .914 save percentage, as he was one of only three goalies to start all 24 conference games this season. Shepard was a two-time NCHC Goalie of the Month and three-time Goalie of the Week.
All three Second-Team forwards are newcomers to All-Conference honors. McGing, another Blues draft pick, compiled 20 points in 24 games, potting 11 goals, which tied for third in the NCHC, to go with nine helpers. Morelli and Richards both racked up 18 points in conference play and earned NCHC Offensive Player of the Week once, with Morelli scoring 10 goals and adding eight assists, while Richards was the opposite with eight goals and 10 assists. Morelli fired 65 shots on goal in 24 NCHC games, while Richards posted a +7 plus/minus, winning 50.7 percent of his draws (221-215). Morelli was also the November NCHC Player of the Month.
On the back end, Ahcan was behind only Schuldt in defenseman scoring with his 17 points in 24 games, tallying three goals and chipping in 14 assists. He also blocked 40 shots in conference play and led all skaters with a +18 plus/minus, tying with Newell. Mitchell, a Chicago Blackhawks prospect, notched 13 points in 24 games with three goals and 10 assists, while blocking 38 shots and finishing +1. Both were NCHC Defenseman of the Week once this season. Hrenák, an Honorable Mention selection last year, started 21 conference games, leading the NCHC with 16 wins (16-2-2) and an .850 win percentage. The L.A. Kings draft pick logged three shutouts, which was second behind Shepard, while posting a .913 save percentage and a 2.04 GAA, which also trailed only Shepard among NCHC netminders. Hrenák was a two-time Goaltender of the Week and February NCHC Goalie of the Month.
Among the voting, Newell and Schuldt were both unanimous selections, earning seven of a possible seven first-place votes for 21 points. Poehling and Perunovich each received five first-place votes and 17 points, while Lizotte took the final forward spot with 14 points and four first-place votes. Shepard garnered a trio of first-place votes and 12 points to round out the First Team.
On the Second Team, McGing led the way with 12 points and three-first place votes, while Mitchell was tops among Second-Team blue liners with 10 points and also a trio of first-place votes. Morelli and Richards each garnered seven points, while Ahcan picked up six points. Hrenák was just behind Shepard in voting with 11 points, also getting three first-place votes.
Six players also earned Honorable Mention All-NCHC, which is made up of the next six-highest point totals in voting after the First and Second Teams, regardless of position. Receiving Honorable Mention All-NCHC are Colorado College senior forward Trey Bradley, UMD sophomore forward Nick Swaney, North Dakota junior defenseman Colton Poolman and UMD sophomore blue liner Mikey Anderson as skaters, while Denver freshman Filip Larsson and CC junior Alex Leclerc were goaltenders earning Honorable Mention All-NCHC.
Voting was conducted by the eight head coaches at each institution. Coaches voted for six forwards, four defensemen and two goaltenders, awarding first-place votes for six players (three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender) and second-place votes for the other six selections. Three points were awarded for a first-place vote while one point was awarded for a second-place vote. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players.
The NCHC will announce its individual award finalists on Thursday, March 14. Individual award winners will be announced at the NCHC Awards Celebration in Saint Paul, Minn. on Thursday, March 21 on the eve of the 2019 NCHC Frozen Faceoff.
First-Team All-NCHC (first-place votes in parentheses)
F: Patrick Newell, Sr., St. Cloud State – 21 (7) (unanimous)
F: Ryan Poehling, Jr., St. Cloud State – 17 (5)
^F: Blake Lizotte, So., St. Cloud State – 14 (4)
*D: Jimmy Schuldt, Sr., St. Cloud State – 21 (7) (unanimous)
*^D: Scott Perunovich, So., Minnesota Duluth – 17 (5)
%G: Hunter Shepard, Jr., Minnesota Duluth – 12 (3)
F: Hugh McGing, Jr., Western Michigan – 12 (3)
F: Justin Richards, So., Minnesota Duluth – 7 (1)
F: Mason Morelli, Sr., Omaha – 7 (2)
^D: Ian Mitchell, So., Denver – 10 (3)
D: Jack Ahcan, Jr., St. Cloud State – 6 (0)
$^G: Dávid Hrenák, So., St. Cloud State – 11 (3)
Honorable Mention All-NCHC
F: Trey Bradley, Sr., Colorado College – 6 (1)
F: Nick Swaney, So., Minnesota Duluth – 3 (1)
$D: Colton Poolman, Jr., North Dakota – 4 (1)
D: Mikey Anderson, So., Minnesota Duluth – 4 (0)
G: Filip Larsson, Fr., Denver – 4 (1)
G: Alex Leclerc, Jr., Colorado College – 4 (1)
* 2017-18 NCHC First-Team All-Conference
^ 2017-18 NCHC All-Rookie Team
% 2017-18 NCHC Second-Team All-Conference
$ 2017-18 NCHC Honorable Mention All-Conference