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Minnesota Duluth's Perunovich Named 2019-20 CHN Player of the Year

By NCHC, 03/24/20, 7:30PM EDT


UND’s Kawaguchi, DU’s Mitchell and WMU’s Attard also earn honors from College Hockey News

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After being tabbed NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year for the third straight season earlier Tuesday, Minnesota Duluth junior blue liner Scott Perunovich was also named 2019-20 CHN Player of the Year by College Hockey News on Tuesday. In addition, he and three other National Collegiate Hockey Conference players picked up All-CHN Honors.

Perunovich and North Dakota junior forward Jordan Kawaguchi each garnered All-CHN First Team accolades, while Denver junior defenseman Ian Mitchell landed on the All-CHN Second Team. Western Michigan freshman blue liner Ronnie Attard was selected to the CHN All-Rookie Team. Six players nationally were named to both the All-CHN First and Second Teams, as well as one All-Rookie Team.

Perunovich (Hibbing, Minn.) becomes the first NCHC player to earn Player of the Year honors from College Hockey News. He was also bestowed CHN’s Rookie of the Year in 2018. Earlier this month, the St. Louis Blues prospect became the first player to earn First-Team All-NCHC honors three times in their career, while he shared the NCHC’s Three Stars Award on Monday with Kawaguchi and is also a finalist for NCHC Player of the Year (announced Thursday) and a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, along with Kawaguchi. By becoming the three-time NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year, he’s the first player to win an NCHC year-end award three times.

Perunovich ranked second nationally in defenseman scoring with 40 points this season, including six goals and 34 assists, with the 34 helpers second nationally among all players and first among blue liners. He also tied for the NCAA lead with 22 power play points (3g, 19a). Perunovich posted a +18 plus/minus and blocked 58 shots on the season. He became the first defenseman to win the NCHC scoring title, totaling 32 points (4g, 28a) in conference play. A five-time NCHC Defenseman of the Week and NCHC February Player of the Month, Perunovich tallied a point in 22 of 34 games, playing in every game this season. That includes 12 multi-point games, which ranked second NCAA among blue liners.

A First-Team All-NCHC recipient like Perunovich, Kawaguchi (Abbotsford, B.C.) was selected the Player of the Year by USCHO. Also a finalist for NCHC Forward of the Year along with NCHC Player and the Hobey Baker, Kawaguchi finished second nationally in scoring with 45 points, including 30 assists, which tied for sixth in the country. Five of his 15 goals were game-winners, which tied for fifth nationally. The undrafted free agent recorded a point in 24 of 33 games played, including 15 multi-point games, which were second nationally. Kawaguchi was a three-time NCHC Player of the Week and two-time NCHC Player of the Month, including National Player of the Month in November. The UND assistant captain finished with a +21 plus/minus, tying for 12th in the NCAA, while averaging 1.36 points per game on the year.

Mitchell (Calahoo, Alta.) also received First-Team All-NCHC accolades this, after being named Second-Team All-NCHC last year. The Chicago Blackhawks draft pick was a finalist for NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year and was a three-time NCHC Defenseman of the Week this season. Mitchell compiled 32 points on the year, playing in all 36 games, on 10 goals and 22 assists. The 10 goals tied for fifth among NCAA blue liners. The Denver captain finished with a +7 plus/minus, fired 100 shots on goal and blocked 43 shots.

Attard (White Lake, Mich.) was a unanimous NCHC All-Rookie Team selection, appearing in 30 games for the Broncos. The Philadelphia Flyers draft pick totaled 14 points from the blue line on six goals and eight assists. Two of his goals were game-winners. His +21 plus/minus was second nationally among freshman defensemen, while he blocked 25 shots and put 53 shots on goal. During the season, Attard was named NCHC Defenseman and Rookie of the Week once each.

Last Friday, North Dakota head coach Brad Berry was named CHN’s Coach of the Year (he was also USCHO’s Coach of the Year). Boston College’s Alex Newhook was named CHN Rookie of the Year on Friday, as well. The All-CHN Teams and CHN award winners are selected by the College Hockey News staff.