Thursday, March 09, 2017

NCHC Award Winners Include Three Bulldogs

After announcing the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) All-Rookie Team on Tuesday, the NCHC has announced its all-conference teams for the 2016-17 season, as voted on by coaches and student-athletes. Denver led the way with two representatives on both the First and Second All-NCHC teams, while Minnesota Duluth placed three on the all-conference teams and Omaha had one player land on each All-NCHC squad. Miami and North Dakota each had one player earn First-Team All-Conference as five teams are represented, while Western Michigan had a Bronco land on the Second Team.

Garnering First-Team All-NCHC is UMD senior forward Alex Iafallo, Miami senior forward Anthony Louis, Omaha senior forward Austin Ortega, Denver senior defenseman Will Butcher, North Dakota senior defenseman Tucker Poolman and DU junior netminder Tanner Jaillet. A pair of Pioneers took two forward spots on the All-Conference Second Team in freshman Henrik Borgström and sophomore Dylan Gambrell, while Western Michigan senior Sheldon Dries nabbed the third forward spot. On the Second Team blue line is UMD sophomore Neal Pionk and Omaha junior Luc Snuggerud, while another Bulldog takes the goaltender spot in freshman Hunter Miska.

Butcher, the only repeat selection on the All-NCHC First Team, led all voting with 35 points, including 11 (of a possible 14) first-place votes. Iafallo, who was on the inaugural NCHC All-Rookie Team, also received 11 first-place votes and 34 points as the top forward vote-getter. Louis totaled 30 points and nine first-place votes while Ortega had 23 points and six first-place votes. Poolman took the other blue line spot with 26 points and seven first-place votes, while Jaillet nabbed 10 first-place votes for 32 points.

Iafallo captured the NCHC scoring title with 30 points (his 1.25 ppg was also tops in the NCHC) while playing in all 24 conference games, scoring 11 goals and adding 19 assists, which ranked second in NCHC play. He also logged a plus-13 rating in those 24 games, while scoring two game-winners, leading the NCHC with two short-handed goals and tallying a hat trick. Ortega was second in NCHC scoring with 28 points on 10 goals and 18 assists in 23 games, with his 1.22 ppg also second. Louis, a Chicago Blackhawks draft pick, took third in NCHC scoring with 27 points in 24 conference games, tying Iafallo for second with 19 assists while chipping in eight goals.

On the back end, Butcher finished fifth in NCHC scoring and led all blue liners with 25 points in 24 games, including an NCHC-best 22 assists in conference play. The Colorado Avalanche draft pick also led the NCHC with a plus-18 rating while blocking 46 shots, which tied for fourth in conference play. Poolman tied for third among defenseman scoring in NCHC play with 18 points while appearing in all 24 conference games. The Winnipeg Jets prospect scored four goals and added 14 assists, while logging a plus-6 rating and blocking 28 shots. In goal, Jaillet led the NCHC with 16 wins and an .833 win percentage, posting a 16-2-3 mark in his 22 conference starts. He also led NCHC netminders with a 1.65 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage.

Among Second-Team selections, the blue liners were the top vote-getters with six first-place votes each as Pionk earned 25 points and Snuggerud 21, while Borgström, who was also named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team this year, also received six first-place votes and had 20 points. Gambrell, an NCHC All-Rookie Team pick last year, picked up 19 points and five first-place votes, while Dries and Miska each garnered three first-place votes with 14 and 16 points, respectively.

Gambrell, a San Jose Sharks prospect, tied for fifth in NCHC scoring with 25 points in 24 games, scoring 10 goals and adding 15 assists with a plus-15 rating. His teammate, Borgström, a pick of the Florida Panthers, totaled 19 points and a plus-9 rating in only 20 NCHC games with his 12 goals tying for third in conference play. Dries also tallied 12 goals in NCHC play, compiling 22 points in 24 games, scoring two game-winning goals and adding a hat trick, while also blocking 46 shots.

On the blue line, Snuggerud was second among defensemen with 22 points in 24 games, notching nine goals and 13 assists, including an NCHC-best six power play goals. The Chicago Blackhawks prospect also blocked 20 shots in NCHC play. Pionk tallied 18 points in 24 games, including 14 assists and four goals, while compiling a plus-12 rating and blocking 38 shots. In net, Miska led the NCHC with four shutouts in conference play as he was the lone goalie to start all 24 NCHC games, posting a 15-4-4 record (.739). His .919 save percentage was second in the NCHC, as was his 2.24 goals-against average in conference play.

Six players also earned Honorable Mention All-NCHC, which is made up of the next three highest point totals at forward, next two at defensemen and the third overall point finisher at goaltender. Receiving Honorable Mention are Denver sophomore forward Troy Terry, UND sophomore forward Shane Gersich, SCSU sophomore forward Mikey Eyssimont, Miami junior defenseman Louie Belpedio, SCSU sophomore defenseman Jimmy Schuldt and WMU freshman netminder Ben Blacker, who also earned NCHC All-Rookie Team honors on Tuesday. Along with Blacker, Belpedio and Schuldt were named NCHC All-Rookie in previous seasons.

Voting was conducted by the head coaches and one student-athlete at each institution. Coaches and student-athletes voted for six forwards, four defensemen and two goaltenders, awarding first-place votes for six players (three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender) and second-place votes for the other six selections. Three points were awarded for a first-place vote while one point was awarded for a second-place vote. Coaches and players were not allowed to vote for themselves or their players/teammates.

The NCHC will announce its individual award finalists on Thursday. Individual award winners will be announced at the NCHC Awards Celebration in Minneapolis, Minn. on Thursday, March 16.

All-Conference First Team
F: *Alex Iafallo, Sr., UMD – 34 points (11 first-place votes)
F: Anthony Louis, Sr., Miami – 30 (9)
F: $Austin Ortega, Sr., Omaha – 23 (6)
D: #Will Butcher, Sr., Denver – 35 (11)
D: Tucker Poolman, Jr., UND – 26 (7)
G: Tanner Jaillet, Jr., Denver – 32 (10)

All-Conference Second Team
F: %Henrik Borgström, Fr., Denver – 20 (6)
F: @Dylan Gambrell, So., Denver – 19 (5)
F: Sheldon Dries, Sr., WMU – 14 (3)
D: Neal Pionk, So., UMD – 25 (6)
D: ^Luc Snuggerud, Jr., Omaha – 21 (6)
G: Hunter Miska, Fr., UMD – 16 (3)

Honorable Mention All-Conference
F: Troy Terry, So., Denver – 10 (3)
F: Shane Gersich, So., UND – 9 (1)
F: Mikey Eyssimont, So., SCSU – 8 (0)
D: ^+Louie Belpedio, Jr., Miami – 14 (2)
D: @Jimmy Schuldt, So., SCSU – 4 (0)
G: %Ben Blacker, Fr., WMU – 15 (3)

# 2015-16 NCHC First-Team All-Conference
+ 2015-16 NCHC Honorable Mention All-Conference
$ 2014-15 NCHC Honorable Mention All-Conference
% 2016-17 NCHC All-Rookie Team
@2015-16 NCHC All-Rookie Team
^ 2014-15 NCHC All-Rookie Team
* 2013-14 NCHC All-Rookie Team

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