COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State each placed two players on the six-man 2018-19 National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Preseason All-Conference Team, as selected by media, the conference revealed Tuesday in advance of 2018 NCHC Media Day. Colorado College and Western Michigan were also represented on the Preseason All-NCHC Team.
Juniors make up half of the preseason all-conference squad, while two seniors and a sophomore were also chosen to the team. Colorado College junior forward Nick Halloran and Minnesota Duluth sophomore defenseman Scott Perunovich led all honorees in voting, receiving 24 votes each. Twenty-six (26) ballots were submitted by local media members from each school, as well as select national media. Western Michigan junior Wade Allison and St. Cloud State senior Robby Jackson rounded out the forward group, earning 22 and 13 votes, respectively. Fellow SCSU senior Jimmy Schuldt, who was also tabbed to the 2017-18 Preseason All-NCHC Team, picked up 20 votes to join Perunovich on the blueline. UMD junior goaltender Hunter Shepard completed the team, garnering 21 votes.
Last season, Halloran (Draper, Utah) ranked third in the NCHC with 45 points on 19 goals and 26 assists in 37 games, en route to First-Team All-NCHC and Second-Team All-America honors. In conference play, Halloran finished second in scoring with 31 points (13g, 18a) and is the top returning scorer in the NCHC. Allison (Myrtle, Manitoba) garnered Honorable Mention All-NCHC honors a season ago, despite missing half the season due to injury. The Philadelphia Flyers draft pick totaled 30 points in only 22 games, while still leading the Broncos with 15 goals on the season. Jackson (Alameda, Calif.) was also an Honorable Mention All-NCHC pick in 2017-18 after finishing fifth in the conference in scoring with 42 points (15g, 27a) in 40 games. He was also fifth in conference scoring with 27 points (11g, 16a) and ranks second behind Halloran among returning NCHC scorers.
Perunovich (Hibbing, Minn.) was the NCHC Rookie of the Year and Offensive Defenseman of the Year last season, while also picking up the AHCA’s Tim Taylor Award as the National Rookie of the Year, First-Team All-NCHC and First-Team All-America honors. The St. Louis Blues draft pick helped lead UMD to the national title last year, tallying 36 points (11g, 25a) in 42 games to rank second among NCHC defensemen in scoring. Perunovich led all NCHC blue liners in conference scoring with 24 points (8g 16a). Schuldt (Minnetonka, Minn.) was the top-scoring defenseman in the NCHC last year with 38 points (10g, 28a) in 40 games, joining Perunovich on the 2017-18 All-NCHC and All-America First Teams. The 2018 Hobey Baker Award finalist chipped in 23 points (3g, 20a) in conference play last season, tying for second among blue liners.
In goal, Shepard (Cohasset, Minn.) was a Second-Team All-NCHC selection last season after posting a 25-14-1 record overall, while ranking second in the NCHC with both a .925 save percentage and a 1.91 goals-against average. He also set the NCHC and UMD single-season shutouts record with eight, which tied for second nationally. In conference play, the Mike Richter Award semifinalist went 13-10-0 with a .915 save percentage and a 2.23 GAA, both of which ranked third, while pitching four shutouts.
Media members voted for three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender on their ballot with each vote worth one point. The top three vote-getters at forward, top two defensemen and highest vote-getting goaltender made up the preseason all-conference team.
On Monday, the 2018-19 NCHC Preseason Poll was released, with Minnesota Duluth being picked to win the Penrose Cup. Last year’s Penrose Cup winners, St. Cloud State, were picked second, followed by North Dakota and Western Michigan, respectively.
NCHC Media Day will take place later today (Tuesday) at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn., the home of the NCHC Frozen Facoeff. Fans can take part in 2018 NCHC Media Day by asking questions during the Twitter Takeovers, watching Facebook LIVE interviews, and following along on NCHC.tv and the NCHC’s Media Day Blog.
While Media Day serves as the unofficial start of the 2018-19 season, the NCHC officially drops the puck on season six on Saturday, Oct. 6 with three non-conference contests and a trio of exhibition games. On Sunday, Oct. 7, the three non-conference series conclude, while the remaining two NCHC teams host exhibitions. Fans can watch all the exciting NCHC action on NCHC.tv, where more than 145 games will be streamed live during the season. To subscribe to NCHC.tv, click here.
2018-19 NCHC Preseason All-Conference Team
F: Nick Halloran, Jr., Colorado College – 24 votes
F: Wade Allison, Jr., Western Michigan - 22
F: Robby Jackson, Sr., St. Cloud State - 13
D: Scott Perunovich, So., Minnesota Duluth - 24
D: *Jimmy Schuldt, Sr., St. Cloud State - 20
G: Hunter Shepard, Jr., Minnesota Duluth - 21
* 2017-18 Preseason All-Conference Team selection