Tonight, the NCHC handed out their individual awards for the leagues most outstanding players and a coach of the year. There were a couple of surprising choices and I would have chosen some others different, but hey they can't make everyone happy.
First lets start with the NCHC Player of the Year, Josh Archibald. Archibald would lead the NCHC in goals with 23 and win the league scoring title with 32 points in 24 league games. The Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick also would record two hat tricks this season, one coming against North Dakota at the Ralph in UNO's 6-3 Saturday night victory over North Dakota. Along with Player of the Year, Archibald would also be named Forward of the Year for these same reasons. It's a shame UNO will not make the NCAA tournament because Archibald would be a lot of fun to watch leading his team towards the Frozen Four in Philly come April.
Also taking home two individual awards in this inaugural NCHC season would be Nic Dowd of St. Cloud State. The senior, and LA Kings prospect, would land him the Scholar Athlete of the Year and the league's top defensive forward honors. Dowd would finish sixth in league scoring with 25 points in 24 league games played. The SCSU forward would also finish at a +12 this season and block 19 shots during conference play.
Another player with double the fun for awards this year would be Denver defenseman Joey LaLeggia. He would earn himself Offensive Defenseman of the year and Defenseman of the year. He finished tied for the conference lead in goals scored by a defenseman with six and started off his season with a three game goal scoring streak. LaLeggia would finish the season with 13 points in conference play and would block 23 shots in 19 league games played out of 24 possible.
The Goalie of the Year honors went to Denver's Sam Brittain. He would lead the NCHC with an outstanding .931 save percentage and would claim two of his four shutouts in NCHC play, which would also lead all league goalies. Brittain was named goalie of the week a record six times this season and his 686 saves in league play would be an amazing 81 more saves then any other NCHC goalie would make.
This year's Rookie of the Year, and much deserving Rookie of the Year, was awarded to Colorado College defenseman Jacob Slavin. The Freshman would tie the league best in defenseman scoring with 19 points, and would rank third in all freshman scoring. He would also lead all defenseman with 14 assists, and that would also be good for second among all league freshman. A 2014 World Junior representative, Slavin would show that he is going to be a top blue liner in this conference in his next few years at CC.
Finally, the last major award was the Herb Brooks Coach of the Year. SCSU's Bob Motzko would win the award, leading St. Cloud to the very first Penrose Cup this year. The Huskies would earn 15 conference wins,six non conference wins, and were scoring just under four goals a game this season. Although the Huskies would have a slumpish run towards the end of the regular season, and get swept by Miami in the first round of playoffs, this SCSU team could very well see play in the Frozen Four once again this season, especially with the week off to rest, get healthy, and have some good practice time before the NCAA tournament begins next weekend.
Now for who missed out. The only big one in my mind that missed out is North Dakota defenseman Dillon Simpson. Simpson was a lot of peoples choice for defenseman of the year, especially since he rarely made a defensive error that would cost North Dakota. In last weekend's series, Simpson and his d partner Jordan Schmaltz would combine for 21 blocked shots in the three games. If there was anyone left out it is for sure the North Dakota senior captain.