UND likely to make major haul of NCHC awards

UND likely to make major haul of NCHC awards


When the National Collegiate Hockey Conference announces its award winners next week UND might make a major haul.

The University of North Dakota has finalists in eight of the nine award categories, including Jordan Kawaguchi as Player of the Year and Forward of the year.

Kawaguchi, an undrafted junior from Abbotsford, B.C., led the NCHC in points per game, netting seven goals and 23 assists in 22 games. Other finalists for the Player of the Year are Jack Achan from St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth's Scott Perunovich.

Brad Berry is up for Coach of the Year after leading the Fighting Hawks to a  17-4-3 record in conference play. Overall, UND finished the season with a record of 26-5-4 and No. 1 PairWise ranking. The college hockey season ended last week when the NCAA canceled all winter and spring postseason tournaments due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Colton Poolman, a senior from East Grand Forks, is one of three finalists for the Defensive Defenseman of the Year and Senior Scholar-Athlete Award. Poolman, who carries a 3.85 grade point average majoring in biology, had 26 blocks and owned a plus-9 rating.

Poolman's fellow D-man Matt Kiersted finished second among blue-liners with 23 points (5 goals, 18 assists) in 22 games.

Freshman Shane Pinto is up for Newcomer of the Year after leading the NCHC with 19 points among all newcomers. Pinto netted 11 goals. 

Cole Smith (Defensive Forward of the Year) also made the finalist list.

The only category UND did not have a representative in was Goalie of the Year. Former Bismarck Bobcat Hunter Shepard is up for the award again. Shepard, who won the award last season, started every NCHC game for Minnesota-Duluth, posting a goals-against-average of 2.13, save percentage of .923 and 17-5-2 record.


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