Goaltender O’Brien earns player of the year nod

For leading his team to the 2011 Men’s Division III ice hockey championship, St. Norbert goalie B.J. O’Brien, of Lakeville, Minn., has been named USCHO’s Player of the Year. O’Brien beat out Hamline’s Chris Berenguer for the award.

In his senior year at St. Norbert, O’Brien led Division III in goals against average and winning percentage, and was tied for the lead in shutouts with four. O’Brien also lost an additional three possible shutouts in the waning minutes of games. O’Brien played in 25 games for the Green Knights, finishing with 1473 minutes played, 40 goals against (1.64 GAA) and 543 saves (.931 saves percentage) while compiling a record of 22-2-1.

 (Tim Brule)

In his final two seasons with St. Norbert, O’Brien displayed a knack for making the big save. In the 2010 loss against Norwich in the championship tilt, O’Brien made 70 saves in a double-overtime 2-1 loss. In this year’s Frozen Four, O’Brien was named Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four for the second consecutive year, the first time ever the same player earned that honor. O’Brien led the Green Knights to a 3-2 win over Norwich in the semifinal game and 4-3 win over Adrian in the championship. He made 17 stops against Adrian and 39 saves against defending champion Norwich in the semifinals, a season high for him.

O’Brien earned numerous accolades in his senior year, including NCHA Player of the Year and first team All-American.

USCHO’s awards were voted on by staff members. Still to come this week are the nation’s top coach and the All-USCHO first, second, and third teams.