MINNEAPOLIS – After announcing the finalists for its major awards last Thursday, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) announced its award winners Thursday evening, March 20 at its inaugural NCHC Awards Celebration at Muse Event Center with Omaha junior forward Josh Archibald, St. Cloud State senior forward Nic Dowd and Denver junior defenseman Joey LaLeggia each taking home two awards, including Archibald earning NCHC Player of the Year. St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko earned the Herb Brooks Coach of the Year.
In addition to winning NCHC Player of the Year, Archibald was also the NCHC Forward of the Year. The Brainerd, Minn., native captured the NCHC scoring title with 32 points in 24 conference games. His 21 goals were eight more than the nearest competitor, while adding 11 assists. His 29 overall goals ranked second in the nation heading into the playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins prospect had 10 multi-point conference games, while Archibald led the conference with five game-winning goals in NCHC play. He scored seven of his 21 goals on the power play, as well. Archibald was named the NCHC Offensive Player of the Week three times and was the National Player of the Month for February. He recorded a five-game conference goal streak and tallied five multi-goal games in NCHC play, including being the only player to record two hat tricks.
Dowd took home both NCHC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Defensive Forward of the Year. The Los Angeles Kings prospect finished sixth in conference scoring in NCHC play with 25 points in 24 games. His 13 goals were good for second in the conference. Dowd finished the conference slate with a +12 rating, ranking third among forwards. He also blocked 19 shots during NCHC play, which was seventh among forwards. The bio-medical science major captained the Huskies to the inaugural Penrose Cup this year, while carrying a GPA north of 3.6. Dowd was also an NCHC Academic All-Conference recipient, a Senior CLASS Award candidate and a Hockey Humanitarian Award nominee after donating his hair to Locks of Love and being active on SCSU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council.
LaLeggia captured both Defenseman of the Year and Offensive Defenseman of the Year. The Edmonton Oilers prospect finished tied for the conference lead in goals by a defenseman with six in just 19 conference games. He kicked off the NCHC regular season with a goal in each of his first three games and was named NCHC Defenseman of the Week Nov. 4 after a three-point weekend. LaLeggia finished with 13 points in NCHC play, including seven assists, while blocking 23 shots. In conference action he recorded three multi-point games and tallied at least one point in 11 of his 19 games. LaLeggia fired 60 shots on goal in NCHC play, which was fifth among blue liners, despite missing five conference games.
Motzko, the Herb Brooks Coach of the Year, led the Huskies to the Penrose Cup and the first NCHC regular-season championship with a 15-6-3 conference record. The Huskies also went 6-2-2 in non-conference play. St Cloud State led the league in team offense with 3.62 goals per game. They also were the top power play team in the league, clicking at 23 percent. Motzko’s Huskies were very disciplined in conference play, as the least penalized team by a wide margin with just eight and a half penalty minutes per game. SCSU ranks in the top four in the nation in all three of those categories.
Colorado College freshman defenseman Jaccob Slavin took home NCHC Rookie of the Year. The Carolina Hurricanes prospect tied for the lead in scoring by a defenseman with 19 points in conference play, while ranking third in rookie scoring. His 14 assists were the most of any blue liner and second among freshmen in the conference, while tallying five goals in conference play. The two-time NCHC Rookie of the Week compiled 46 blocked shots to lead all rookies in NCHC action. Slavin represented the U.S. at the 2014 World Junior Championship in Sweden, as well.
Denver senior goaltender Sam Brittain claimed NCHC Goaltender of the Year. The Florida Panthers prospect led the NCHC in save percentage with a .931 clip in conference play and in shutouts with two, while totaling four shutouts during the regular season, also tops among NCHC netminders. The senior posted a 2.30 goals-against average in conference play, good for third in the NCHC. His 686 saves in conference play were 81 more than any other goalie in the league. Brittain was named the NCHC Goaltender of the Week an NCHC-best six times this season.
Capturing the NCHC Sportsmanship Award was Colorado College senior defenseman Eamonn McDermott. He captained the Tigers during the season, helping them capture the Gold Pan over rival Denver for the first time since 2011-12. McDermott chipped in five assists on the year while playing in all 34 regular-season games. He was second on the team with 60 blocked shots, while committing just 13 penalties. The economics major was an assistant captain last year for CC while serving on their Student-Athlete Advisory Council throughout his career. He has taken part in several community service activities and was also named NCHC Academic All-Conference this season.
The NCHC Scholar-Athlete Team, All-Conference First Team, All-Conference Second Team and All-Rookie Team were all recognized as well at the Awards Celebration and received their awards after those teams were announced last week.
NCHC Award Winners
Herb Brooks Coach of the Year – Bob Motzko, St. Cloud State
Player of the Year – Josh Archibald, Omaha
Rookie of the Year – Jaccob Slavin, Colorado College
Goaltender of the Year – Sam Brittain, Denver
Forward of the Year - Josh Archibald, Omaha
Defenseman of the Year – Joey LaLeggia, Denver
Offensive Defenseman of the Year – Joey LaLeggia, Denver
Defensive Forward of the Year – Nic Dowd, St. Cloud State
Scholar-Athlete of the Year – Nic Dowd, St. Cloud State
Sportsmanship Award – Eamonn McDermott, Colorado College