Top-Ranked Sioux Claim Honors, Load Up WCHA All-Star Squads

Members of the North Dakota Fighting Sioux, the WCHA regular-season champions and the nation’s No. 1 team, took home three major individual awards, and the Sioux placed six players on the first two all-WCHA teams in awards announced Thursday.

UND senior Jason Blake, who led the conference in scoring with 20 goals and 49 points, was named Player of the Year, and head coach Dean Blais was recognized as Coach of the Year. Senior blueliner Brad Williamson was also honored, as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Rookie of the Year went to Alaska-Anchorage netminder Gregg Naumenko, who became the first Seawolf ever to lead a major WCHA statistical category, topping the conference in goals-against average (2.23) and save percentage (.924).

St. Cloud captain Kyle McLaughlin and Colorado College blueliner Scott Swanson were named co-Student Athlete of the Year.

In all-star balloting, CC’s Brian Swanson led all forwards with 301 points. He was joined by Blake, appearing on his third all-WCHA first team, Paul Comrie of Denver, Scott Swanson, Williamson, and Naumenko on the first team.

The second team consisted entirely of Sioux and Tiger players: forwards Jay Panzer and Jeff Panzer, defenseman Trevor Hammer and goaltender Karl Goehring of North Dakota, and forward Darren Clark and defenseman Dan Peters of Colorado College. The third team featured Wyatt Smith of Minnesota, James Patterson of Denver and Lee Goren of North Dakota at the forward spots; Jordan Leopold of Minnesota and Jeff Dessner of Wisconsin on defense; and Graham Melanson of Wisconsin in goal.

Naumenko led the league’s all-rookie team, along with forwards Tyler Arnason of St. Cloud, Jesse Heerema of Colorado College and Steve Cygan of Alaska-Anchorage, and defenders Leopold and Dave Tanabe of Wisconsin.