WCHA Awards Announced, North Dakota’s Duncan Is POTY

A dominating second half of the season put Ryan Duncan at the top of the WCHA scoring charts, and on Thursday it also netted the North Dakota sophomore the league’s player of the year award.

Duncan scored 22 goals and 39 points in the 28-game WCHA schedule, and he captured attention with a four-goal, seven-point weekend at Minnesota in January.

Thirteen of his league goals and 24 of his league points came after the holiday break.

“I’m not sure if I’m the most deserving player on my team or line for this award,” said Duncan, referencing linemates T.J. Oshie and Jonathan Toews. “There’s no doubt that they share this award with me.”

Duncan headed the All-WCHA first team, which also included Minnesota-Duluth sophomore forward Mason Raymond, St. Cloud State junior forward Andrew Gordon, Minnesota junior defenseman Alex Goligoski, Minnesota-Duluth sophomore defenseman Matt Niskanen and St. Cloud State senior goaltender Bobby Goepfert.

St. Cloud State forward Andreas Nodl, who scored 11 goals and 31 points in league games, was named the rookie of the year, a first for the school. He got that award despite being a third-team pick and Minnesota freshman forward Kyle Okposo being a second-team selection.

The league’s Huskies leaders shared the coach of the year award. St. Cloud State’s Bob Motzko, whose team finished second in the league after being picked for fifth, and Michigan Tech’s Jamie Russell, who led his team’s transformation, tied for the honor.

“This going to be a team award, a staff award,” Motzko said, “because we survived this year.”

Said Russell: “This is truly humbling considering the talent of the coaches in this room.”

Goligoski was honored as the league’s defensive player of the year, an award for which only league coaches vote. Colorado College senior defenseman Lee Sweatt was honored for being the outstanding student-athlete of the year, as picked by institutional representatives.

The rest of the awards are chosen by league coaches, players, sports information directors and media.

Duncan also picked up his award as the league’s scoring champion, and Wisconsin senior Brian Elliott was honored as the goaltending champion.

The All-WCHA second team included: Toews; Minnesota State senior forward Travis Morin; Okposo; Minnesota senior defenseman Mike Vannelli; North Dakota sophomore defenseman Taylor Chorney; and Elliott.

The third team included: Nodl; Oshie; Denver junior forward Ryan Dingle; Sweatt; Minnesota State junior defenseman Steve Wagner; and Michigan Tech sophomore goaltender Michael-Lee Teslak.

The all-rookie team included: Nodl; Okposo; St. Cloud State forward Ryan Lasch; Minnesota defenseman Erik Johnson; Wisconsin defenseman Jamie McBain; and Minnesota-Duluth goaltender Alex Stalock.