COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – With the 2018-19 season complete, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) announced its final monthly honors for March and April, with all three award winners leading their team to the NCAA Frozen Four and two claiming a National Championship (again). Minnesota Duluth sophomore defenseman Mikey Anderson was selected the NCHC Player of the Month for the final two months of the season, while UMD junior Hunter Shepard gloved Goaltender of the Month honors and Denver freshman netminder Filip Larsson captured NCHC Rookie of the Month for March/April.
Shepard earned his third NCHC Goaltender of the Month honor this season (in six months) and fourth NCHC monthly accolade of his career, as he was also the NCHC Player of the Month for February of 2018. Anderson claimed his first career NCHC monthly award, while it is Larsson’s second as he was the NCHC Goaltender of the Month for December this season, as well.
Mikey Anderson, Minnesota Duluth
Anderson was stellar over the final month and a half of the season to help lead the Bulldogs to their second consecutive National Championship and the 2019 NCHC Frozen Faceoff title. The Los Angeles Kings draft pick tied for the NCHC and national scoring lead in March and April, racking up 14 points in 12 games from the blue line to average 1.17 points per game. He scored two goals, both coming in championship games, while dishing out an NCAA-best 12 assists over the final two months, including half coming on the power play and four setting up game-winning goals. Anderson blocked an NCHC-best 24 shots in March/April, while his +14 plus/minus was second in the conference behind only his defensive partner Dylan Samberg (+17). The Honorable Mention All-NCHC selection fired 28 shots on goal to close the season, tops among NCHC blue liners, while he tallied a point in eight of his 12 games in March and April, including five multi-point outings.
Anderson performed his best in the biggest moments, as he was selected to both the 2019 NCHC Frozen Faceoff All-Tournament Team and the NCAA Frozen Four All-Tournament Team. In the Frozen Faceoff championship game on March 23, he scored UMD’s first goal to tie the game and finished +3 in an eventual 3-2 double-overtime win over St. Cloud State to capture the NCHC Tournament title. His only other goal in March or April came in the National Championship game last Saturday, scoring the team’s second goal in a 3-0 shutout of UMass to win a second straight NCAA crown. Anderson had a hand in all three goals in the National Championship game, dishing out assists on the other two tallies, including the primary helper on the game-winner.
Anderson started March very strong as well, dishing out 10 assists during a six-game point streak to start the month. He handed out a pair of assists in both games of a sweep against Miami March 1-2 to earn NCHC Defenseman of the Week honors, including setting up the game-winning goal to open the month. Anderson then closed the regular season with three assists against St. Cloud State and doled out three more helpers in UMD’s NCHC Quarterfinal series sweep of Omaha March 15-16, with the sophomore handing out the assist on the game-winner in both games against the Mavericks. Anderson posted a positive plus/minus in 10 of his 12 games in March/April, while he was even in the other two, one of which he fired nine shots on goal (March 9 at SCSU).
Anderson is now eligible for Hockey Commissioners’ Association (HCA) National Player of the Month, which will be announced later this week. Other nominees for NCHC Player of the Month included St. Cloud State sophomore forward Blake Lizotte.
Hunter Shepard, Minnesota Duluth
Like Anderson, Shepard was spectacular down the stretch in backstopping the Bulldogs to their Frozen Faceoff and NCAA Tournament championships. The NCHC Goaltender of the Year started all 12 games for UMD in March and April, posting a 10-2-0 record for an .833 win percentage, with both the wins and win percentage tops in the NCHC during that time. Shepard racked up an NCHC-high 282 saves over the final month and a half of the season, compiling a .928 save percentage and a 1.71 goals-against average, both of which ranked second in the NCHC in March/April. He also recorded two shutouts.
Shepard garnered NCHC Frozen Faceoff, NCAA Midwest Region and NCAA Frozen Four All-Tournament Team accolades, while earning Most Outstanding Player at the Frozen Faceoff. He blanked Denver in the Frozen Faceoff semifinals on March 22 with a 25-save outing for his first shutout of March/April, while he made a season-high 37 saves the next night in UMD’s double-overtime win over SCSU in the championship game. In the Midwest Regional March 30-31, he made 30 saves in a 2-1 overtime win against Bowling Green to open the NCAA Tournament, while stopping 21 more shots the next night to win the Midwest Region over Quinnipiac, 3-1. In the Frozen Four, Shepard allowed only one goal, on the power play, in a 4-1 win over Providence when he had 28 saves. The Mike Richter Award finalist then logged an 18-save shutout in the National Championship win over UMass last Saturday becoming the first goalie since 2013 to record a whitewash in the NCAA championship game.
In eight postseason games, Shepard went 8-0-0, allowing only seven goals for a 0.79 GAA to go with a .967 save percentage, while winning two championships and recording his two clean sheets. He was named an AHCA West First-Team All-American on April 12, as well.
Shepard is now eligible for Hockey Commissioners’ Association (HCA) National Goaltender of the Month, which will be announced later this week.
Filip Larsson, Denver
Like Shepard, Larsson was nearly unbeatable in March and April, starting eight of DU’s 11 games, while posting a 5-3-0 record (.625) with an NCHC-best three shutouts. The newest member of the Detroit Red Wings, who signed on Monday, led the NCHC with both a 1.22 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage, which is tops nationally, during the final two months of the season. The NCHC All-Rookie Team selection compiled 223 saves, while allowing only 10 goals in March and April.
All three of Larsson’s whitewashes came in the postseason, after logging only one during the regular season. He opened the NCHC Tournament with a 32-save shutout of North Dakota in Game 1 of DU’s NCHC Quarterfinal series, and added 40 more saves in a 4-2 win the next night to complete the sweep of UND. His best showing came in the NCAA West Regional, where he didn’t allow a single goal, blanking both Ohio State and American International on back-to-back nights March 29-30. Larsson combined for 50 saves in the West Regional en route to All-West Region Team and regional Most Outstanding Player honors.
Larsson is now eligible for Hockey Commissioners’ Association (HCA) National Rookie of the Month, which will be announced later this week. Other nominees for NCHC Rookie of the Month included Colorado College defenseman Bryan Yoon and Denver forward Cole Guttman.
|Month||Player of the Month||Goaltender of the Month||Rookie of the Month|
|October||Ryan Larkin, Jr., G, Miami||Ryan Larkin, Jr., G, Miami||Emilio Pettersen, Fr., F, Denver|
|November||Mason Morelli, Sr., F, Omaha||Hunter Shepard, Jr., G, UMD||Taylor Ward, Fr., F, Omaha|
|December||Trevor Gooch, Sr., F, CC||Filip Larsson, Fr., G, Denver||Ben Copeland, Fr., F, CC|
|January||Nick Swaney, So., F, UMD||Hunter Shepard, Jr., G, UMD||Tyler Ward, Fr., F, Denver|
|February||Patrick Newell, Sr., F, SCSU||Dávid Hrenák, So., G, SCSU||Ben Copeland, Fr., F, CC|
|March/April||Mikey Anderson, So., D, UMD||Hunter Shepard, Jr., G, UMD||Filip Larsson, Fr., G, Denver|