BUFFALO, N.Y. – For the second straight season, six National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) players were recognized as 2018-19 CCM/AHCA Division I All-Americans, the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) announced Friday night in a ceremony at HarborCenter. The six All-Americans hail from only two teams – four from St. Cloud State and two from Minnesota Duluth.
Three NCHC players landed on the AHCA West All-America First Team, while a trio also garnered Second-Team honors. For the second straight season, SCSU senior defenseman Jimmy Schuldt was tabbed First-Team All-America, while he was joined by teammate and classmate forward Patrick Newell and UMD junior goaltender Hunter Shepard on the First Team. On the Second Team are UMD sophomore defenseman Scott Perunovich, who joins Schuldt as a two-time All-American after garnering First-Team honors as a freshman last season, along with SCSU sophomore forward Blake Lizotte and junior defenseman Jack Ahcan.
The NCHC’s six All-America selections tie with Hockey East for the most from one conference and were the most on the West teams. St. Cloud State and UMass are the only teams to produce two First-Team All-Americans this season, while the Huskies’ four All-Americans overall are a program record and the most by one team this season in the NCAA. Minnesota Duluth, Massachusetts and Northeastern are the only other teams to produce multiple All-Americans with two each.
Schuldt (Minnetonka, Minn.), who signed with the Vegas Golden Knights after his career ended, was a Hobey Baker Award Hat Trick finalist, the 2018-19 NCHC Player of the Year and NCHC Defensive Defenseman of the Year, while also earning All-CHN First Team honors for the second straight season from College Hockey News. A two-time First-Team All-NCHC selection, including unanimously this season, Schuldt was voted to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff All-Tournament Team and was a three-time NCHC Defenseman of the Week. Schuldt led all NCHC blue liners with 35 points this season, which tie for seventh nationally, while scoring 10 goals, tying for eighth among NCAA defensemen, and chipping in 25 assists. The three-time team captain played in all 39 games this season, never missing a single game in his career (156 straight games), while posting a +24 plus/minus, which ties for seventh nationally among blue liners. Schuldt blocked 77 shots on the season, while firing 79 shots on goal.
Newell (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) was a Hobey Baker Award top-10 finalist and the unanimous NCHC Forward of the Year, while also landing on the All-NCHC First Team and All-CHN First Team along with Schuldt. Now a member of the New York Rangers, Newell also won the NCHC’s Sportsmanship Award, while capturing the NCHC scoring title with 28 points in 24 conference games, including tallying a league-best 13 goals in NCHC play. Newell finished the season with 47 points in 39 games, which ties for fifth nationally in scoring. His 21 goals tie for eighth in the country, including six game-winning goals, which are second in the NCAA, while handing out 26 assists. Newell led the entire country with his +35 plus/minus, while firing 124 shots on goal. He was the NCHC February Player of the Month and was also voted to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff All-Tournament Team along with Schuldt.
Shepard (Cohasset, Minn.) was one of five finalists for the Mike Richter Award and earned NCHC Goaltender of the Year, along with First-Team All-NCHC honors. In addition, he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCHC Frozen Faceoff this year after leading the Bulldogs to the NCHC Tournament title, while also claiming the NCHC’s Three Stars Award for being a First Star of the Game five times in conference play. Shepard has started all 41 games in net for UMD this season, tied for the most starts in the country, while posting a 28-11-2 record with the 28 wins tops in the NCAA and his .707 win percentage seventh nationally. His six shutouts this year tie for third nationally, while his 1.80 goals-against average ranks fifth in the NCAA and his .922 save percentage sits 16th. The two-time NCHC Goaltender of the Month backstopped the Bulldogs to the National Championship game for the second straight season as Shepard will play for another national title Saturday night.
Also playing for a National Championship Saturday night is Perunovich (Hibbing, Minn.), who garnered NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year and First-Team All-NCHC honors, both for the second-straight season after earning the Tim Taylor Award as National Rookie of the Year last season. The St. Louis Blues draft pick compiled 29 points in 38 games as a sophomore, including three goals and 26 assists, with the 26 helpers tying for eighth nationally among blue liners. Perunovich posted a +8 plus/minus, while firing 64 shots on goal and blocking 35 shots.
Another Second-Team All-America defenseman, Ahcan (Savage, Minn.) was the lone All-American to be named to the All-NCHC Second Team. The junior racked up 34 points in 39 games to tie for 10th nationally in defenseman scoring, while potting six goals and adding 28 assists, which tie for fifth in the NCAA among blue liners. His +30 plus/minus is fourth among defensemen nationally, while he fired 79 shots on goal and blocked 55 shots on the season.
Lizotte (Lindstrom, Minn.) is the fourth Husky to earn All-America honors this year, while he was also tabbed First-Team All-NCHC. A two-time NCHC Offensive Player of the Week, Lizotte signed with the Los Angeles Kings as a free agent after SCSU’s season ended and was also a member of the Frozen Faceoff All-Tournament Team. Lizotte racked up 42 points in 37 games in 2018-19 to tie for 15th nationally in scoring, potting 14 goals to go with 28 assists, which tie for 12th in the NCAA. Lizotte’s +28 plus/minus ranks sixth in the country, while his .620 faceoff win percentage (446-273) is fifth in the NCAA. He fired 69 shots on goal on the season, with one game-winning goal.
The NCHC has now produced 35 AHCA All-Americans in its six-year history.
The AHCA All-America teams are sponsored by CCM Hockey and chosen by members of the American Hockey Coaches Association. To see the complete AHCA All-America Teams, click here.
In addition to the AHCA All-Americans, Schuldt and Colorado College senior forward Mason Bergh were named to the Senior CLASS Award All-America Second Team on Friday, after being selected among the 10 finalists up for the Senior CLASS Award back in February.