COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – While the winners won’t be announced until next week, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) unveiled the finalists for nine of its individual awards for the 2019-20 season on Monday. The winners will then be revealed throughout next week on Twitter with a few awards being announced each day, starting on Monday, March 23.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
- Jack Ahcan, Sr., D, St. Cloud State – An undrafted free agent, Ahcan was a two-time NCHC Defenseman of the Week, who finished fourth in NCHC scoring among defensemen with 17 points (5g, 12a) in 23 games. A Second-Team All-NCHC pick, Ahcan blocked 41 shots and put 54 shots on goal in NCHC play.
- Jordan Kawaguchi, Jr., F, North Dakota – Also an undrafted free agent, Kawaguchi finished second in NCHC scoring with 30 points (7g, 23a) in 22 games and was named First-Team All-NCHC. He was a three-time NCHC Forward of the Week and two-time Forward of the Month, leading the NCHC with 1.36 points per game.
- Scott Perunovich, Jr., D, Minnesota Duluth – A St. Louis Blues draft pick, Perunovich became the first defensemen to win the NCHC scoring title with 32 points and a league-best 28 assists in 24 games. A three-time First-Team All-NCHC selection, he blocked 43 shots and posted a +12 plus/minus, and was a five-time NCHC Defenseman of the Week.
HERB BROOKS COACH OF THE YEAR
- Brad Berry, North Dakota – Berry led North Dakota to its third Penrose Cup as NCHC regular-season champion, going 17-4-3-2 in conference play, after being picked to finish fourth in the NCHC Preseason Poll. Berry won the award in 2016.
- Andy Murray, Western Michigan – Murray guided the Broncos to a fourth-place finish in the NCHC with a 12-9-3-2 record, including a 9-4-1 record in NCHC play down the stretch. Murray won the award in 2017.
- Scott Sandelin, Minnesota Duluth – Sandelin led UMD to a runner-up finish in the NCHC with a 17-5-2-0 mark, coming just three points shy of the program’s first Penrose Cup.
SENIOR SCHOLAR-ATHLETE AWARD
- Karch Bachman, F, Miami – Bachman carries a 3.88 GPA while majoring in finance and is a four-time NCHC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete. In 24 NCHC games, the Florida Panthers prospect tallied 19 points on four goals and 15 assists.
- Zach Jordan, F, Omaha – Jordan boasts a 3.71 GPA while majoring in business administration and is a three-time NCHC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete. In 23 NCHC games he scored six goals and totaled nine points.
- Colton Poolman, D, UND – Poolman, the North Dakota two-time captain, owns a 3.85 GPA while majoring in biology and is a four-time NCHC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete. In 21 NCHC games, the undrafted free agent chipped in 10 points (2g, 8a) and a +9 plus/minus.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
- Bobby Brink, F, Denver – Brink was second in NCHC rookie scoring with 16 points, including a rookie-best 10 assists, in only 17 conference games. His 0.94 points per game led all NCHC freshmen, while the Philadelphia Flyers prospect unanimously earned NCHC All-Rookie Team honors.
- Shane Pinto, F, UND – Pinto led all NCHC rookies with both 11 goals and 19 points in 23 conference games, while he also fired a freshman-best 65 shots on goal and scored two game-winners. The Ottawa Senators draft pick was named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team, as well.
- Nolan Sullivan, F, Omaha – Sullivan tied for seventh in rookie scoring with five goals and five assists for 10 points, while posting a .588 win percentage in the faceoff circle (220-154) in 24 NCHC games.
GOALTENDER OF THE YEAR
- Magnus Chrona, Fr., Denver – Chrona, a Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, earned NCHC All-Rookie Team honors, while ranking third in the NCHC with both a .920 save percentage and 2.17 goals-against average in conference play. He posted a 7-5-4 record in 16 NCHC starts and 17 games.
- David Hrenak, Jr., SCSU – Hrenak, a Second-Team All-NCHC selection, was fourth in the NCHC with a .915 save percentage in conference play and posted a 2.60 GAA. The L.A. Kings draft pick started 22 games, appearing in 23, with two shutouts and a 10-9-2 record.
- Hunter Shepard, Sr., UMD – Shepard was the lone NCHC goalie to start every conference game, going 17-5-2, while ranking second in the NCHC with both a .923 save percentage and a 2.13 GAA. The two-time First-Team All-NCHC pick also recorded one shutout in NCHC play, and won this award last season.
FORWARD OF THE YEAR
- Noah Cates, So., UMD – Cates was third in NCHC scoring and second among forwards with 27 points, while his 11 goals tied for third in conference play. The Philadelphia Flyers draft pick earned First-Team All-NCHC while putting 70 shots on goal and posting a +10 plus/minus.
- Jordan Kawaguchi, Jr., UND – Kawaguchi led all NCHC forwards with his 30 points in 22 NCHC games, while firing 44 shots on goal and leading the NCHC with 1.36 points per game. He is also up for NCHC Player of the Year.
- Emilio Pettersen, So., Denver – Pettersen also tied for third in goals in conference play with 11, compiling 23 points in 24 games. The Calgary Flames draft pick was Second-Team All-NCHC this year and led the league with five power play goals.
DEFENSIVE DEFENSEMAN OF THE YEAR
- Colton Poolman, Sr., UND – Poolman, who is also up for the NCHC’s Senior Scholar-Athlete Award, blocked 26 shots in conference play, while posting a +9 plus/minus. He earned Honorable Mention All-NCHC for a third straight year.
- Mattias Samuelsson, So., WMU – Samuelsson, a Buffalo Sabres draft pick, blocked 37 shots in 24 NCHC games, while logging a +13 plus/minus, tying for sixth in the NCHC. He earned Honorable Mention All-NCHC this season.
- Nick Wolff, Sr., UMD – Wolff, a UMD co-captain, ranked second in the NCHC with a +17 plus/minus in 24 conference games, while he led the NCHC with 58 blocked shots.
OFFENSIVE DEFENSEMAN OF THE YEAR
- Matt Kiersted, Jr., UND – A Second-Team All-NCHC selection, Kiersted was second among blue liners with 23 points in 22 games, scoring five goals and adding 18 assists.
- Ian Mitchell, Jr., Denver – A First-Team All-NCHC pick, Mitchell was third in NCHC defenseman scoring with 20 points, while his seven goals were second among blue-liners. The Chicago Blackhawks prospect led NCHC defensemen with 63 shots on goal, as well.
- Scott Perunovich, Jr., UMD – Perunovich led all NCHC skaters with 32 points to win the scoring title, while his 28 assists were also tops in conference play. A three-time First-Team All-NCHC selection, the Blues prospect is also up for NCHC Player of the Year and is a two-time winner of the NCHC’s Offensive Defenseman Award.
DEFENSIVE FORWARD OF THE YEAR
- Justin Richards, Jr., UMD – Richards led the NCHC with 307 faceoff wins in conference play, posting a .580 win percentage in the center circle. Last year’s winner of this award also scored two short-handed goals (only player to do so in NCHC play), blocked 14 shots and posted a +9 plus/minus playing in all 24 NCHC games.
- Cole Smith, Sr., UND – Smith helped lead UND to the Penrose Cup, posting a +2 plus/minus and blocking nine shots in 23 games, while often facing the opposing team’s top line. He also went 15-12 on faceoffs in limited center action.
- Paul Washe, Jr., WMU – Washe was excellent in the faceoff circle, going 262-150 for a .636 win percentage, which was second in conference play. He also posted a +3 plus/minus and blocked 18 shots in 22 games.
For most of the awards, finalists were determined based on voting by the conference’s eight head coaches and one media member from each school with the top three vote-getters for each award being finalists. The Senior Scholar-Athlete Award finalists were voted upon by the conference’s Faculty Athletics Representatives (FARs). Athletic Directors at each NCHC institution had a vote on Herb Brooks Coach of the Year, as well, along with the coaches and media.
In addition to these nine award winners, the NCHC will also announce its Three-Stars Award winner, based on Three Stars of the Game honors during the season, Sportsmanship Award winner, and third annual Media Excellence Award winner next week. The NCHC’s Postgraduate Scholarship winner will be announced this Thursday. The conference recognized its All-Conference and All-Rookie Teams last week, while the NCHC announced its all-academic teams in February.
2019-20 NCHC AWARD FINALISTS
Player of the Year
Jack Ahcan, Sr., D, SCSU
Jordan Kawaguchi, Jr., F, UND
Scott Perunovich, Jr., D, UMD
Herb Brooks Coach of the Year
Brad Berry, North Dakota
Andy Murray, Western Michigan
Scott Sandelin, Minnesota Duluth
Senior Scholar-Athlete Award
Karch Bachman, F, Miami
Zach Jordan, F, Omaha
Colton Poolman, D, UND
Rookie of the Year
Bobby Brink, F, Denver
Shane Pinto, F, UND
Nolan Sullivan, F, Omaha
Goaltender of the Year
Magnus Chrona, Fr., Denver
David Hrenak, Jr., SCSU
Hunter Shepard, Sr., UMD
Forward of the Year
Noah Cates, So., UMD
Jordan Kawaguchi, Jr., UND
Emilio Pettersen, So., Denver
Defensive Defenseman of the Year
Colton Poolman, Sr., UND
Mattias Samuelsson, So., WMU
Nick Wolff, Sr., UMD
Offensive Defenseman of the Year
Matt Kiersted, Jr., UND
Ian Mitchell, Jr., Denver
Scott Perunovich, Jr., UMD
Defensive Forward of the Year
Justin Richards, Jr., UMD
Cole Smith, Sr., UND
Paul Washe, Jr., WMU