COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Two incoming freshmen who will play in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) this upcoming season were honored by USA Hockey on Wednesday for their 2018-19 season in junior hockey. Western Michigan incoming freshman defenseman Ronnie Attard was named the Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year, while incoming Omaha goaltender Isaiah Saville was tabbed the Dave Peterson Goaltender of the Year.
Attard wrapped up his career in the United States Hockey League (USHL) with the Tri-City Storm and was named both the USHL Player and Defenseman of the Year this past season. The White Lake, Mich., native set a league record for goals by a defenseman in a single season after lighting the lamp 30 times. Attard added 35 assists to set another single-season USHL record for points by a blueliner with 65 points in 48 games. He also posted a league-best +47 plus/minus, while captaining the Storm to an Anderson Cup as USHL regular-season champions. Internationally, Attard helped the United States to a title at the World Junior A Challenge, serving as captain and tallying three points in the six-game tournament in Alberta.
Saville was teammates with Attard in Tri-City, helping the Storm capture the Anderson Cup in 2018-19. He was named the USHL Goaltender of the Year and was a three-time USHL Goaltender of the Week. The Anchorage, Alaska, native led the USHL with a 1.90 goals-against average and was second with a .925 save percentage in 34 regular-season games. Saville recorded four shutouts, while collecting 25 wins in his 34 starts. In five playoff games for Tri-City, Saville posted a .920 save percentage and a 2.03 GAA with one whitewash. Internationally, he also played with Attard on Team USA, helping them capture the World Junior A Challenge title. Saville played in three games at the World Junior A Challenge, compiling a .944 save percentage and a 1.30 GAA with one shutout.
Both Attard and Saville are eligible for the upcoming 2019 NHL Draft in June. Prior to the Draft, the duo will be presented with their 2019 awards in person at the USA Hockey Congress in Colorado Springs on June 5.
Former North Dakota and current Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tucker Poolman was the last NCHC player to claim the Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year Award in 2014, while former Minnesota Duluth and current Arizona Coyotes netminder Hunter Miska was the last NCHC goaltender to claim the Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year Award in 2016.