Every team gets to hand out all-WCHA ballots to two media members in their city. I had the privilege of voting last season and then was given the chance again. Maybe to get it right this time.
I submitted my team on Sunday morning and since have been checking it against other ballots. Seems like everyone -- sports reporters, bloggers, radio broadcasters -- want to share their picks with the world. Here are mine. If they are too similar to anybody else's, it's not intentional.
Jason Zucker, DU; Matt Frattin, UND, and Mike Connolly, UMD
Justin Schultz and Jake Gardiner, Wisconsin
Kent Patterson, Gophers
This team would score a few goals. ... Will comment only on goalie, Patterson, the player I know best and one of only two Gophers I voted for. He is the clear team MVP for the Gophers. Came out of near oblivion --- 15 games as a fr. and soph. -- to play in 28 games this season and start last 19. Was second in WCHA games in goals-against average (2.31) and first in save percentage (.926).
Lot of goals he gave up were on opponents' power plays (27 of 66), Gophers are 10th in conference on the penalty kill. In all games, he held opponents to one goal five times, two goals 10 times and three goals five times. Was 13-5-5 in WCHA. ... Steady goalie with calm demeanor.
Defense in front of him struggled sometimes early in season.
Tyler Johnson, CC; Jack Connolly, UMD, and Justin Fontaine, UMD
Chay Genoway, UND and Matt Donovan, DU
Matt Ambroz, UNO; Drew Shore, DU, and Jason Gregoire, UND
Eric Olimb, UNO and Gabe Guentzel, CC
Sam Brittain, DU
Jason Zucker, DU; Jaden Schwartz, CC, and Erik Haula, Gophers
Justin Faulk, UMD and David Makowski, DU
Sam Brittain, DU
Why Haula? He was on the Gophers' top line almost all season. He is tied for third on the team in scoring with six goals and 18 assists for 24 points. He has been on the ice for 46 of Gophers' 110 goals, and only 26 of the opponents' goals. Has taken only three minor penalties in last 23 games. Tied for second on team with a plus-10 rating.
Player of the Year: Frattin
Rookie of the Year: Zucker
Coach of the Year: Dean Blais, UNO
Other Gophers nominated for the all-WCHA team were forwards Jacob Cepis, Jay Barriball and Mike Hoeffel and defensemen Cade Fairchild and Aaron Ness. ... Barriball started out at an almost goal per game pace but cooled down. Fairchild has elevated his game in the last month or so.
All-rookie nominees for Gophers, besides Haula, were forward Nick Bjugstad and defenseman Mark Alt. Bjugstad struggled first half of season, but is playing extraordinary lately. Like Alt's promise a lot, too.
There are 96 voters this year on the WCHA awards. Besides two media members in each WCHA city, three coaches from each team vote plus two captains and the team's sports information director. So that's eight votes per team times 12.