WCHA women’s awards

For pretty much all of their careers, WCHA coaches have seemingly enjoyed root canals more than voting for the Lamoureux twins on all-conference teams. So, maybe Thursday’s vote announcements shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Even so, I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that the coaches voted Jocelyne Lamoureux, the all-time leading scorer in the history of the WCHA, second team all-conference.

Jocelyne has 24 more points (16 in conference play) more than one of the first-teamers. She leads the nation in faceoff wins, is second in the nation in points and goals.

Regardless, chalk up another bizarre voting job by the women’s coaches in the WCHA.

I think this is why it’s good to have media voters. As I’ve written many times in the past, there are obviously some coaches in the league that have some grudges, and that’s all it takes when you have only votes from head coaches, assistant coaches and captains.

There are 24 media ballots for the men’s awards and they probably help balance things out in case someone completely leaves a player of the year type off their ballot.

Jocelyne did win the WCHA’s outstanding student-athlete of the year award for the second straight year and a few other UND players were honored. Full awards are below.

First team

F — Amanda Kessel, Minnesota
F — Hannah Brandt, Minnesota
F — Brianna Decker, Wisconsin
D — Monique Lamoureux, North Dakota
D — Megan Bozek, Minnesota
G — Noora Raty, Minnesota

Second team

F — Jocelyne Lamoureux, North Dakota
F — Michelle Karvinen, North Dakota
F — Jenna McParland, Duluth
D — Bridgette Lacquette, Duluth
D — Jessica Wong, Duluth
G — Alex Rigsby, Wisconsin

Third team

F — Lauren Smith, Minnesota State
F — Josefine Jakobsen, North Dakota
F — Kelly Terry, Minnesota
D — Rachel Ramsey, Minnesota
D — Mira Jalosuo, Minnesota
G — Kayla Black, Duluth

Rookie team

F — Hannah Brandt, Minnesota
F — Meghan Dufault, North Dakota
F — Maryanne Menefee, Minnesota
D — Courtney Burke, Wisconsin
D — Milica McMillen, Minnesota
G — Kayla Black, Duluth

MVP: Kessel
ROY: Brandt
Student-athlete of the year: J. Lamoureux
Defensive player of the year: Bozek
Coach of the year: Brad Frost, Minnesota

The coach of the year vote

Did you know: Zero of the last nine WCHA coach of the year winners have won a game in the NCAA tournament (including co-winners).

The last time a coach won the award, then went on to win an NCAA tournament game, it was George Gwozdecky and Denver in 2005.

Did you know: Troy Jutting + Jamie Russell, both of whom were fired in the last two years, have combined for more WCHA coach of the year awards than Dave Hakstol + Don Lucia (at Minn) + Mike Eaves + Scott Owens?

Indeed, Jutting won two, Russell has one, while both Hakstol and Lucia (at Minnesota) have just one.

Did you know: During Michigan Tech’s current 31-year NCAA tournament drought, Tech has more coach of the year awards than Minnesota (3-2).

Did you know: In three of the last six years, a coach of the year did not even make the NCAA tournament in that season.

Did you know: If Minnesota State’s Mike Hastings wins coach of the year this year, which I think he probably will, it will be the fourth coach of the year award for the Mavericks in the last 14 years — more than any WCHA team.

So, what exactly does this tell us?

That if you want to be considered the best coach in the league, you better make sure to have some bad years mixed in?

I think that people examine which team overachieves the most. And that’s a fine approach to take. I agree that factors like jumping in the standings and overcoming adversity should be part of the consideration.

But so should coaches who assemble great rosters and produce with those great rosters. Isn’t that part of a coach’s job?

Is Hastings a legit choice this year? Yes. MSU will almost surely be a home ice and an NCAA tournament team. Depending on how everything shakes out the final week, he may end up getting my vote.

My question is: How is Bob Motzko being so overlooked? Nobody’s really talking about him as a candidate, but he’s got all the elements.

First in the standings? Check. It’s not a guarantee they finish there, but there’s definitely a good chance, and that’s enough to warrant a vote right there.

If you want more factors, St. Cloud State will have jumped five spots in the WCHA standings from sixth to first. That’s the same jump MSU will have made if they finish sixth (of course MSU could still win the league, which would make this a no-brainer).

Motzko also had to deal with losses of Mike Lee, Cam Reid and David Eddy — all of whom would have been key players on this team.

I’ll be holding my vote until Sunday, when we can see how everything finished up. But I think it’s OK to vote for the coach of the league champion team, even if they were expected to win it.

I realize that circumstances are different in different places (it’s harder to win a MacNaughton Cup in Mankato or Bemidji than Minneapolis). But should Jutting have more coach of the years than Lucia, Hakstol, Eaves and Owens? Should Mel Pearson, who finished eighth and likely 10th or 11th in two years, have the same number as those guys?

I’m not sure.

What say you?

WCHA announces men’s awards

The WCHA has released its awards. Brad Eidsness is the only major award winner as he was named the league’s student-athlete of the year. Brock Nelson and Ben Blood made the all-WCHA third team. Full awards are below:

WCHA player of the year: Jack Connolly, Duluth
WCHA rookie of the year: Joey LaLeggia, Denver
WCHA coach of the year: Mel Pearson, Michigan Tech
WCHA defensive player of the year: Justin Schultz, Wisconsin
WCHA student-athlete of the year: Brad Eidsness, UND

First team

F — Jack Connolly, Duluth
F — Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota
F — J.T. Brown, Duluth
D — Justin Schultz, Wisconsin
D — Joey LaLeggia, Denver
G — Kent Patterson, Minnesota

Second team

F — Jaden Schwartz, Colorado College
F — Drew Shore, Denver
F — Jason Zucker, Denver
D — Gabe Guentzel, Colorado College
D — Nate Schmidt, Minnesota
G — Kenny Reiter, Duluth

Third team

F — Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin
F — Brock Nelson, UND
F — Travis Oleksuk, Duluth
D — Nick Jensen, St. Cloud State
D — Ben Blood, UND
G — Josh Thorimbert, Colorado College

Rookie team

F — Kyle Rau, Minnesota
F — J.P. Lafontaine, MSU-Mankato
F — Jayson Megna, Omaha
D — Joey LaLeggia, Denver
D — Andrew Prochno, St. Cloud State
G — Juho Olkinuora, Denver

The all-WCHA ballot

It was another very difficult year of voting, especially for all-conference forwards. I switched guys around on the first, second and third teams so often while trying to compile my final list that if you asked me to do it again tomorrow, it might not end up exactly like this. Alas, my ballot is below.

First team

F Jack Connolly, UMD
F Jaden Schwartz, CC
F J.T. Brown, UMD
D Justin Schultz, UW
D Ben Blood, UND
G Kent Patterson, Minn

Comments: The forwards finished 1-2-3 in league ppg. Connolly easily won scoring title. Jaden would have given him a run if he didn’t play in WJC – I didn’t penalize him for that. I actually thought Brown was more explosive than Connolly in UND series. The D-men are the best offensive and defensive guys in the league — both regularly log 30+ minutes a game and should contend for NHL spots next year. Patterson an easy choice in goal.

Second team

F Danny Kristo, UND
F Drew Shore, DU
F Nick Bjugstad, Minn
D Brad Hunt, BSU
D Joey LaLeggia, DU
G Josh Thorimbert, CC

Comments: Nelson has the stats on Kristo, but I had to go with Kristo because I thought he made a bigger impact on games and was able to take them over at times. He’s the energy guy. Bjugstad was the dominant forward on the MacNaughton team and Shore is DU’s best all-around guy. BSU ranks 11th in scoring, but somehow Hunt piled up enough points to break the school’s all-time defensive-scoring record, while leading the league’s best PK. LaLeggia tied Schultz for D points. Thorimbert had the best save percent in the league.

Third team

F Brock Nelson, UND
F Jason Zucker, DU
F Mark Zengerle, UW
D Nate Schmidt, Minn
D Andrew MacWilliam, UND
G Dan Bakala, BSU

Comments: Could have put Nelson on the first team as he led the league in goals. Hard to drop him to third team. Won’t happen next year. Zucker is a marvelous scorer, but not as good as Shore in all areas. Zengerle had a great season for the Badgers. Schmidt was Minnesota’s top defenseman. MacWilliam may be a controversial pick but he’s the most physical defenseman in the league and rarely makes mistakes. Bakala had another strong year for the Beavers.

Rookie team

F Kyle Rau, Minn
F J.P. Lafontaine, MSU
F Matt Leitner, MSU
D Joey LaLeggia, DU
D Andrew Prochno, SCSU
G Ryan Faragher, SCSU

Comments: Rau was an easy pick. Went with Lafontaine and Leitner over Herbert as they led their team in scoring. I also thought they were better in the games I saw, though Herbert is very deserving as well (went back-and-forth on that one about 10 times). Would have liked to put Nick Mattson on this list because he had a great freshman season. And the truth is that 95 percent of years, he’d be on it (so would Zach Palmquist), but this is an outstanding group of rookie defensemen. Juho Olkinuora and Ryan Massa have claims to all-rookie goal spot, but Faragher was outstanding against UND and really played well in the absence of Lee.

Player of the year: Justin Schultz, UW.

Comments: Connolly may win it, but I opted for Schultz. Some say it’s hard to vote for a guy on the 10th-place team. But it’s not Schultz’s fault that the third and fourth lines struggled to score at times this season. Schultz has led the nation in defenseman scoring two straight years.

Rookie of the year: Joey LaLeggia, DU.

Comments: LaLeggia had one of the best seasons ever for a rookie D. No freshman defenseman in at least 12 years has piled up as many league points as he did.

Coach of the year: Dave Hakstol, UND.

Comments: The coach of the league champ (Lucia) always is a great option, but I ended up going with Hakstol. The Sioux have one of the best records in the nation since Nov. 4, and they’re doing it with 17 bodies and a group of forwards that’s half made up of defensemen or walk-ons or both. In the last year, they’ve lost Matt Frattin, Brad Malone, Evan Trupp, Jason Gregoire, Brett Hextall, Brent Davidson, Chay Genoway, Jake Marto, Derrick LaPoint, J.T. Miller, Colten St. Clair, Rocco Grimaldi, Ryan Hill, Michael DiPuma, Brett Bruneteau, Mike Cichy, Derek Rodwell and Brendan O’Donnell (18 players). They had Corban Knight, Mario Lamoureux, Derek Forbort, Taylor Dickin and Aaron Dell miss games due to injuries, yet still clinched home ice, a top-four finish and have a shot at NCAAs heading to the playoffs. Rather improbable.

Frattin is WCHA player of the year

Matt Frattin is the WCHA player of the year, Chay Genoway is the student-athlete of the year and UND has three first-team all-league players for the first time since 2000-01.

Genoway is only the fifth player in WCHA history to be a four-time all-conference selection. Frattin is UND’s eighth player of the year.

Player of the year: Matt Frattin, UND.
Rookie of the year: Jason Zucker, Denver.
Student-athlete of the year: Chay Genoway, UND.
Defensive player of the year: Justin Schultz, Wisconsin.
Coach of the year: Dean Blais, Omaha.
Scoring champion: Frattin.
Goaltending champion: Aaron Dell, UND.

First team all-WCHA

F — Matt Frattin, UND
F — Mike Connolly, Minnesota Duluth
F — Jack Connolly, Minnesota Duluth
D — Justin Schultz, Wisconsin
D — Chay Genoway, UND
G — Aaron Dell, UND

Second team all-WCHA

F — Justin Fontaine, Minnesota Duluth
F — Drew Shore, Denver
F — Jason Zucker, Denver
D — Jake Gardiner, Wisconsin
D — Matt Donovan, Denver
G –Kent Patterson, Minnesota

Third team all-WCHA

F — Jason Gregoire, UND
F — Jaden Schwartz, Colorado College
F — Drew LeBlanc, St. Cloud State
D — Kurt Davis, MSU-Mankato
D — Justin Faulk, Minnesota Duluth
G –John Faulkner, Nebraska-Omaha

All rookie team

F — Jason Zucker, Denver.
F — Jaden Schwartz, Colorado College
F — J.T. Brown, Minnesota Duluth
D — Justin Faulk, Minnesota Duluth
D — David Makowski, Denver
G — Sam Brittain, Denver

WCHA’s four-time all-league players

Bill Abbott, F, Denver, 1952-55
John Mayasich, F, Minnesota, 1952-55
Brian Swanson, F, Colorado College, 1996-99
Jordan Leopold, D, Minnesota, 1999-02
Chay Genoway, D, UND, 2008-11

UND’s players of the year

1965 — Gerry Kell, F
1982 — Phil Sykes, F
1987 — Tony Hrkac, F
1998 — Curtis Murphy, D
1999 — Jason Blake, F
2001 — Jeff Panzer, F
2007 — Ryan Duncan, F
2011 — Matt Frattin, F

UND’s student-athletes of the year

1988 — Steve Johnson, F
1998 — Mitch Vig, D
2001 — Karl Goehring, G
2011 — Chay Genoway, D