Led by 2020 Hobey Baker Award Hat Trick finalist Jordan Kawaguchi, North Dakota landed three of the six players on the NCHC preseason all-conference team announced Tuesday.
Kawaguchi, a senior forward from Abbotsford, British Columbia, received 27 of 28 votes by media members. Joining him on the first team are two Fighting Hawks defensemen: senior Matt Kiersted and junior Jacob Bernard-Docker. Minnesota Duluth landed two forward on the team: juniors Noah Cates and Cole Koepke. The other member is Denver sophomore goaltender Magnus Chrona.
A first-team All-America selection and the NCHC’s forward of the year in 2019-20, Kawaguchi finished second nationally last season with 45 points on 15 goals and 30 assists. Cates, of Stillwater, and Koepke, of Hermantown, were second-team All-America selections last season and both had 33 points in 34 games.
On defense, Kiersted, of Elk River, ranked compiled 29 points and was an NCHC-best plus-22 plus/minus rating among defensemen. Bernard-Docker, of Canmore, Alberta, had 25 points in 32 games last season and was a plus-22. Chrona, of Skelleftea, Sweden, compiled a 16-6-4 record last season with a 2.15 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.
On Monday, media members picked North Dakota to win the conference, followed by Denver, Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State, Western Michigan, Nebraska Omaha, Colorado College and Miami (Ohio).
The NCHC begins play Dec. 1 with all eight teams traveling to a pod in Omaha for 40 games over three weeks. The conference will split into East (Miami, Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan) and West (Colorado College, Denver, Nebraska Omaha and North Dakota) and complete all cross-division play before returning to campus sites starting Dec. 31 to finish the remainder of their schedules.
MSU Mankato hits pause, postpones Bemidji State series
Minnesota State Mankato has paused all team activities because of positive COVID-19 test results and announced that its Friday-Saturday WCHA men's series against Bemidji State in Mankato has been postponed.
This comes a day after the Mavericks' nonconference game at Bemidji State was postponed because of a positive COVID-19 test in the Minnesota State program. Following contract tracing, it was decided student-athletes, along support and coaching staff, would need to be quarantined or isolated.