Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.
Senior center Corban Knight was named the University of North Dakota’s MVP on Thursday night for the 2012-13 season.
He was a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist and a second-team All-America. He had 16 goals and 33 assists for 49 points.
Knight led the nation with 623 faceoff wins, 120 more than any other player and second-most in UND single-season history. He had a 19-game point streak that was UND’s longest in 25 years.
Other award winners:
Cliff "Fido" Purpur Award: Danny Kristo, sr., forward, Eden Prairie ... Given to the player who exemplifies hard work, determination and being a creator of excitement on the ice ... Hobey Baker Award finalist, first-team All-America, College Hockey News Player of the Year ... Tied for second nationally with career-high 52 points and led WCHA with career-high 26 goals
Archie Krum Memorial Athletic Scholarship: Andrew MacWilliam, sr., defenseman, Calgary, Alberta ... Given to the player who demonstrates leadership qualities, high academic standards, athletic excellence ... Captain was named to third straight academic all-WCHA team
Tom Hoghaug Memorial Scholarship: Colten St. Clair, fr., forward, Gilbert, Ariz. ... Given to the freshman who demonstrates initiative, character and a sense of responsibility
Rookie of the Year: Rocco Grimaldi, fr., forward, Rossmoor, Calif. ... Led WCHA rookies and ranked third nationally with 36 points in 40 games ... Led the nation’s freshmen with 147 shots on goal
Most Improved Player: Dillon Simpson, jr., defenseman, Edmonton, Alberta ... Led UND defensemen with career-high 24 points, also had career highs with five goals and 19 assists
Coaches' Unsung Hero Award: Joe Gleason, sr. , defenseman, Edina ... Set career highs with five goals ands 13 assists for 18 points
Virg Foss 3-Star Award: Kristo ... Given to the player who receives the most 3-star voting points from the print media following home games
North Dakota (22-13-7, 14-7-7 WCHA) qualified for the NCAA postseason tournament for the 11th consecutive season, the longest active streak in Division I men’s hockey. UND won its first game, but lost to eventual-NCAA champion Yale in West Regional final.
Defenseman Troy Stecher, a future UND player, was named the MVP of the Penticton Vees who play in the British Columbia Hockey League. He is 5-11, 180 and was the team captain.
He also receieved the Courage Award and the Best Defenseman Award.
Vees forward Louie Nanne, a Gophers recruit, was named the Most Improved Player and the Humanitarian Award winner. He had 25 goals and 28 assists for 53 points in 60 games. He was sixth in team scoring in the regular season wirth 41 points and tied for second in the postseason with 12 points in 15 games.
Junior forward Michael Mersch of Park Ridge, Ill., was named Wisconsin's MVP for this past season after a vote by his teammates.
He led the Badgers in goals with 23 and points with 36.
Named captain of the Badgers for the 2013-14 season was junior defenseman Frankie Simonelli of Bensenville, Ill. The assistant captains will be junior forward Jefferson Dahl and sophomore defenseman Jake McCabe. Both are from Eau Claire, Wis.
Other award winners:
Scholastic Award: senior forward Ryan Little of Fond du Lac, Wis. ... He was a repeat winner/
Most Consistent Player: freshman defenseman Kevin Schulze of White Bear Lake ... He had a team-high plus-21 rating.
Most Improved Player: junior forward Jefferson Dahl of Eau Claire, Wis. ... He more than doubled his career goal total with seven goals, while his 14 points doubled his career totals from his first two seasons.
Most Competitive Player: Little. He led the team with 230 hits. ... Repeat winner.
7th-Man Award: Dahl
Blocked shots leader: defenseman John Ramage, 121
Best faceoff man: Brendan Woods, won 61.6 percent
Wisconsin will have 10 seniors and six juniors next season. The Badgers will, officially open practice on Oct. 5. Their first game will be against Northern Michigan on Friday, Oct. 11 at the Kohl Center.
In the heat of the college hockey playoffs, the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference released its 2013-14 composite schedule.
In case you missed it or didn't pay much attention to it, there is a link to it below.
Four NCHC teams -- Denver, Miami, North Dakota and St Cloud State -- were among the 16 teams in the NCAA tournament. The Huskies reached the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh.
The conference regular season will lead into the inaugural NCHC post season tournament, with all eight teams competing in the quarterfinals, March 14-16. The top four seeds will host the bottom four seeds in best-of-three series.
The winners of the quarterfinal series will advance to the Target Center for NCHC semifinals on March 21.
The two semifinal winners will meet in the NCHC Championship game while the losers will play for third place, on March 22. Semifinal and championship games will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
The NCHC tournament champion will receive the conference automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament.
"We are very excited to begin play in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, as this begins a new chapter in Miami Hockey,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. “The CCHA produced many great memories and rivalries for us and I am confident the NCHC will do the same.
"We look forward to creating those rivalries and welcoming new teams to our building that our fans have not typically seen in the past. This league provides a very challenging schedule for us every weekend that will prepare our student-athletes for postseason play and give them new experiences."
Said Trev Alberts, AD for Nebraska Omaha: “The upcoming season brings almost the same anticipation as Omaha’s first season of conference play back in 1999-2000. As expected, we have a very challenging schedule in the NCHC, and our staff has worked very hard to put together an outstanding non-conference schedule to complement it."
St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko, in his last weekly radio show, said during the WCHA season he did not talk much about the NCHC with other coaches: "It is like cheating on your wife ... Now it is over. It is still hard to talk about it ... I don't how to start.
But Motzko know what to expect. "At christmas, there will be eight teams that are 8-8," he said. "We are going to beat the tar out of each other. We all better get used to .500 records ... We have find ways to survive it to get into the NCAA tournament."
The eight NCHC teams are:
From the WCHA: Colorado College, Denver, Minnesota Duluth, Nebraska Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State
From the CCHA: Miami and Western Michigan
For a composite Natonal Collegiate Hockey Conference schedule -- albeit without game times -- go here.
To go to the NCHC home page on the web, click here.
A look at the three or four games the Gophers will play against NCHC teams:
Nov. 22-23: UMD at Mariucci Arena
Jan. 24: vs. St. Cloud State in Minnesota Hockey Tournament (no official name yet) at Xcel Energy Center
Bemidji State -- one of the WCHA teams staying in the WCHA -- has announced it has signed three defensmen for next season.
One is from Minnesota, from Plymouth. He is 5-8, 170 D.J. Jones of the Victoria Grizzlies of the British Columbia Hockey League. He had four goals, 29 assists and 33 points. He played high school hockey for Wayzata.
BSU also singed a Canadian, 6-5, 197 Carter Struthers of Weyburn, Saskatchewan. He played for the Weyburn Red Wings of the SJHL (6-17--23).
The Beavers also signed their first Russian, 6-1, 175 Ruslan Pedan of Moscow. His numbers were 11-22-33 in 44 games with the Janesville Jets of the NAHL.
BSU coach Tom Serratore has always said he has to recruit a certain type of player for his program. Someone who likes playing for a team in a small city, likes the outdoors, etc.
Bemidji also has a new arena, the Sanford Center, which is as nice as any for its size.
The Beavers have signed eight players in all for next season. They open the season with a nonconference series against St. Cloud State on Oct. 11-12.
A third of the 18 players on the all-USCHO teams are Minnesotans.
USCHO.com is the web site for U.S. College Hockey Online.
On the first team are goalie Eric Hartzell of Quinnipiac from White Bear Lake and forward Danny Kristo of North Dakota from Eden Prairie. Both are seniors.
Two St. Cloud State teammates are on the second team. They are defenseman Nick Jensen of Rogers and Drew LeBlanc of Hermantown. Jensen is a junior, LeBlanc a senior.
On the third team are goalie Brady Hjelle of Ohio State from International Falls and forward Anders Lee of Notre Dame from Edina. Hjelle is a senior, Lee a junior.
The three complete teams:
Goaltender Eric Hartzell, a senior from Quinnipiac
Defenseman Chad Ruhwedel, a junior from Massachusetts-Lowell
Defenseman Jacob Trouba, a freshman from Michigan
Forward Kyle Flanagan, a senior from St. Lawrence
Forward Johnny Gaudreau, a sophomore from Boston College
Forward Danny Kristo, a senior from North Dakota
Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, a freshman from Massachusetts-Lowell
Defenseman Nick Bailen, a senior from Rensselaer
Defenseman Nick Jensen, a junior from St. Cloud State
Forward Greg Carey, a junior from St. Lawrence
Forward Drew LeBlanc, a senior from St. Cloud State
Forward Steven Whitney, a senior from Boston College
Goaltender Brady Hjelle, a senior from Ohio State
Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, a sophomore from Union
Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, a sophomore from New Hampshire
Forward Corban Knight, a senior from North Dakota
Forward Anders Lee, a junior from Notre Dame
Forward Andrew Miller, a senior from Yale
The Gophers tied St. Cloud State for the MacNaughton Cup but they were shut out from any USCHO honors. Why? The general perception, I have to believe, is that they underachieved.
After going 8-0-0 in nonconference games -- they were the only unbeaten, untied team in the country outside their league -- the Gophers managed to sweep just two series in the WCHA this season and those sweeps came against bottom feeders Alaska Anchorage and, in the last series of the regular season, Bemidji State.
They went into conference play as the overwhelming favorite to win the Cup, but played down to the level of their competition too often. This was a team with six of their top seven scorers returning from a Frozen Four team and their top six defensemen coming back.
The question was in the nets and freshman goalie Adam Wilcox broke the program's single-season record for the lowest goals-against average. Obviously, he had a great year.
The Gophers led the nation in scoring, were always high up in the national polls, but until late in the season were unsure if they had home ice for the first round of the WCHA playoffs because a top six finish in the conference was in doubt.
Then in postseason, they beat Bemidji State twice, but on the bigger stage, did little, losing to Colorado College 2-0 in the Final Five semifinals and to eventual NCAA champion Yale 3-2 in overtime in the West Regional semifinals.
In their last three NCAA appearances, the Gophers have lost to the eventual national champion.
Last year, they fell to Boston College 6-1 in the Frozen Four semifinals in Tampa.
Then, you have to go back four years, to 2008 for their next most recent NCAA trip. They trekked to Worchester, Mass., and lost 5-2 to BC in a regional semifinal. Maybe there is a little solace there. Being taken out by the champs.
But it has been 10 years now since Don Lucia has won a national title. His Gophers were back-to-back champions in 2002 and '03.
This was a veteran, junior-stacked team with the talent to do it.
The American Hockey Coaches Association picks the annual All-America teams, which are listed here.
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