COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – One day after recognizing the outstanding freshmen in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), the NCHC has revealed its All-Conference Teams for 2015-16, as selected by NCHC coaches and student-athletes. Denver, North Dakota and St. Cloud State each placed two players on the NCHC All-Conference First Team while UND and SCSU also placed a pair on the Second Team. Minnesota Duluth and Omaha each had one representative on the All-Conference Second Team.
Making up the First-Team All-NCHC is Denver sophomore Danton Heinen, UND freshman Brock Boeser and UND senior Drake Caggiula at forward, SCSU senior Ethan Prow and DU junior Will Butcher on the blue line and SCSU junior Charlie Lindgren in goal. The All-NCHC Second Team includes SCSU’s Joey Benik and Kalle Kossila, along with Omaha junior Jake Guentzel at forward, UND junior Troy Stecher and Minnesota Duluth senior Andy Welinski on defense and UND sophomore Cam Johnson as the goaltender. Heinen, Caggiula and Welinski were all named to this year’s NCHC Preseason All-Conference Team, as well.
Heinen, who was both an NCHC All-Rookie Team and Second-Team All-Conference selection last season, was the top vote-getter at forward with 37 points and 12 of a possible 14 first-place votes while linemates Boeser (27 points) and Caggiula (26 points) each received seven first-place votes. Boeser was named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team Tuesday while Caggiula was also a Second-Team All-NCHC pick last season like Heinen. Prow was the top vote-getter overall with 40 points, including 13 of 14 first-place votes, while Butcher totaled 28 points (eight first-place votes). Lindgren, an NCHC Honorable Mention pick last season and an NCHC All-Rookie Team honoree in 2014, received 31 points with nine first-place votes.
Boeser won the NCHC scoring and goal-scoring titles with 35 points (1.46 ppg) and 20 goals in 24 conference games, setting NCHC records for both. He also logged a plus-23 rating and tallied four game-winning goals, both of which were second in the NCHC. Heinen finished tied for third in NCHC scoring with 30 points (1.25 ppg) on 11 goals and 19 assists, while posting a plus-15 rating. Caggiula totaled 22 points in 20 conference games (1.10 ppg) on 10 goals and 12 helpers and also had four game-winners with a plus-21 rating.
On the blue line, Prow led all defensemen with 24 points in 22 NCHC games, tallying six goals and adding 18 assists. He also blocked 39 shots and posted a plus-21 rating, which was second among defensemen. Butcher compiled 18 points in 23 games on four goals and 14 assists, while blocking 34 shots and logging a plus-14 rating. Each blue liner committed only one minor penalty in all of conference play. Lindgren was the only goaltender to start all 24 conference games, leading the NCHC with 17 wins (17-6-1). He posted a .927 save percentage and was third in the NCHC with a 2.11 goals-against average, while pitching one shutout.
Among Second-Team All-Conference selections, Benik received 24 points and six first-place votes, while Guentzel, an Honorable Mention recipient last season and All-Rookie Team honoree in 2014, had 23 points and six first-place votes and Kossila earned 15 points with four first-place votes. Stecher garnered 21 points and five first-place votes while Welinski, a repeat selection on the All-NCHC Second Team, collected 17 points with four first-place votes. Johnson totaled 25 points with six first-place votes.
Benik finished tied for third in NCHC scoring with 30 points in 24 games (1.25 ppg) with his 15 goals ranking second in the NCHC. He also led the NCHC with five game-winning goals and tied for second in the NCHC with a plus-23 rating. Guentzel compiled 26 points in 24 NCHC games (1.08 ppg), while scoring 13 goals, which was third behind Benik, and adding 13 assists. He also led the NCHC with three short-handed markers. Kossila was runner-up in the NCHC scoring race with 32 points in 24 games (1.33 ppg), including 10 goals, while his 22 assists were second in the NCHC and he posted a plus-18 rating.
Stecher anchored UND’s defense that ranks third nationally while tallying 16 points, including five goals, in 23 conference games. He also blocked 29 shots, posted a plus-11 rating and led all NCHC blue liners with 70 shots on goal. Welinski played in all 24 games, racking up 10 points, including nine assists, while blocking 30 shots and compiling a plus-9 rating. Johnson led all NCHC netminders with his .935 save percentage while his 1.80 goals-against average was second in the conference. He tied for the NCHC lead with four shutouts while posting a 13-3-0 record in 18 NCHC starts.
Six players also earned Honorable Mention, which is made up of the next three highest point totals at forward, next two at defensemen and the third overall point finisher at goaltender. Receiving Honorable Mention are Denver junior Trevor Moore, UND sophomore Nick Schmaltz and Miami senior Sean Kuraly at forward, MU sophomore Louie Belpedio and UND junior Paul LaDue on the blue line and UMD sophomore Kasimir Kaskisuo in goal. Moore was a First-Team All-NCHC selection last season, while Moore, LaDue, Schmaltz, Belpedio and Kaskisuo all collected NCHC All-Rookie Team honors in their freshman year.
Voting was conducted by the head coaches and one student-athlete at each institution. Coaches and student-athletes voted for six forwards, four defensemen and two goaltenders, awarding first-place votes for six players (three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender) and second-place votes for the other six selections. Three points were awarded for a first-place vote while one point was awarded for a second-place vote. Coaches and players were not allowed to vote for themselves or their players/teammates.
The NCHC will announce its individual award finalists on Thursday. Individual award winners will be announced at the NCHC Awards Celebration in Minneapolis, Minn. the following Thursday, March 17.
All-Conference First Team
F - %^ Danton Heinen, So., Denver – 37 points (12 first-place votes)
F - @ Brock Boeser, Fr., North Dakota – 27 (7)
F - % Drake Caggiula, Sr., North Dakota – 26 (7)
D - Ethan Prow, Sr., St. Cloud State – 40 (13)
D - Will Butcher, Jr., Denver – 28 (8)
G - $* Charlie Lindgren, Jr., St. Cloud State – 31 (9)
All-Conference Second Team
F - Joey Benik, Sr., St. Cloud State – 24 (6)
F - $* Jake Guentzel, Jr., Omaha – 23 (6)
F - Kalle Kossila, Sr., St. Cloud State – 15 (4)
D - Troy Stecher, Jr., North Dakota – 21 (5)
D - % Andy Welinski, Sr., Minnesota Duluth - 17 (4)
G - Cam Johnson, So., North Dakota – 25 (6)
Honorable Mention All-Conference
F - ^ Nick Schmaltz, So., North Dakota – 10 (2)
F - #* Trevor Moore, Jr., Denver – 10 (1)
F - Sean Kuraly, Sr., Miami – 5 (1)
D - ^ Louie Belpedio, So., Miami – 7 (0)
D - * Paul LaDue, Jr., North Dakota – 6 (1)
G - ^ Kasimir Kaskisuo, So., Minnesota Duluth – 5 (1)
# 2014-15 NCHC First-Team All-Conference
% 2014-15 NCHC Second-Team All-Conference
$ 2014-15 NCHC Honorable Mention All-Conference
@2015-16 NCHC All-Rookie Team
^ 2014-15 NCHC All-Rookie Team
* 2013-14 NCHC All-Rookie Team