Mike Reilly became the first Gophers hockey standout to earn back-to-back first-team All-America honors in more than a decade on Friday afternoon. The junior was one of six defensemen selected to the first team just days after saying he won't return for his senior year of college hockey.
He was the only All-America selection this season to win back-to-back honors. Jordan Leopold last achieved this feat for the Gophers in 2001 and 2002.
Three other Minnesotans earned All-America status. Yale goaltender Alex Lyon (Baudette, Minn.) was a first-team selection, and North Dakota goalie Zane McIntyre (Thief River Falls, Minn.) and Minnesota State Mankato defenseman Zach Palmquist (South St. Paul) were named to the second team. MSU Mankato's Matt Leitner (Los Alamitos, Calif.) was a first-team selection.
Reilly set career highs with 42 points and 36 assists to lead all college hockey defensemen in scoring this season. His 42 points are the most by a Gophers defenseman since Leopold scored 48 in 2001-2002, and he's the first defenseman to lead the team in scoring since Mike Crowley in 1996-1997. He led the nation in power-play assists (19) and had the nation's eighth-best rating, plus-25.
Reilly's standout season also earned him back-to-back Big Ten defensive player of the year honors and a spot among the Hobey Baker Award top 10 candidates. He's the seventh player in Gophers men's hockey history to earn multiple All-America honors.
The Big Ten took three other All-America spots. Michigan State goalie Jake Hildebrand and Michigan forward Zach Hyman were also on the first team and Michigan forward Dylan Larkin on the second team.
Top honor to Eichel
Boston University's Jack Eichel became just the second freshman to win the Hobey Baker Award on Friday. It honors college hockey's most outstanding player.
Eichel, of North Chelmsford, Mass., and NHL standout Paul Kariya (University of Maine) are the only freshmen to win in the award's 35-year history. Eichel beat out McIntyre and Harvard junior forward Jimmy Vesey, the other two finalists.
The 18-year-old center has 70 points (26 goals, 44 assists) and a plus-51 rating through 39 games. He had two goals and an assist in Thursday's Frozen Four semifinals to lead BU past North Dakota 5-3.
McIntyre did receive the 2015 Mike Richter Award given to college hockey's top goaltender. He led North Dakota to back-to-back Frozen Fours but lost in the national semifinals for a second consecutive year.
McIntyre was 29-10-3 with a 2.05 goals-against average. His 29 wins led the nation and are one shy of the North Dakota's single-season record. His save total (1,111) is second in the nation, and his save percentage (.929) 11th.
Lyon was another finalist.
Gopher Adam Wilcox was a finalist as a sophomore in 2014.