SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Duluth junior defenseman Scott Perunovich has been named the winner of the 2020 Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the most outstanding player in Division I men’s college hockey, it was announced Saturday night on ESPN’s SportsCenter.
Perunovich (Hibbing, Minn.) becomes the sixth Bulldog in program history to win the Hobey Baker Award, the most by any NCAA hockey team, while he is the second National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) player to earn college hockey’s top honor in the conference’s seven-year history. It was also a defenseman who won the NCHC’s first Hobey Baker Award in 2017 -- former Denver standout and current New Jersey Devil Will Butcher. Perunovich is only the ninth defenseman to win the Hobey Baker Award in its 40-year history, but second straight and third in four years.
Named an All-American again on Saturday as well, Perunovich was also tabbed 2019-20 NCHC Player of the Year and Player of the Year by College Hockey News this season. One of the newest members of the St. Louis Blues, he also won NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year for the third-straight season, the first player to do so, and shared the NCHC’s Three Stars Award with fellow Hobey Hat Trick finalist Jordan Kawaguchi of North Dakota. Perunovich is a three-time First-Team All-NCHC selection, again earning the honor in March, becoming the first NCHC player to earn three First-Team selections. He was also named First-Team All-USCHO this season.
Perunovich ranked second nationally in defenseman scoring and 10th overall 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 averaged 1.18 points per game, also second among NCAA rearguards. The three-time All-American and two-time national champion also tied for the NCAA lead with 22 power play points (3g, 19a). He posted a +18 plus/minus and blocked 58 shots on the season.
Perunovich became the first defenseman to win the NCHC scoring title, totaling 32 points (4g, 28a) in conference play, helping UMD to a runner-up finish. 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 among NCAA blue liners.
Perunovich was selected the winner from the initial list of Top Ten finalists, which also included Kawaguchi, by the 30-member Selection Committee and online fan voting. Criteria for the award includes: displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.
Perunovich signed a two-year entry level contract with the St. Louis Blues, who drafted him in the second round in 2018, on March 27.