The WCHA announced five individual awards on Tuesday.
The league revealed its 2017-18 WCHA Offensive Player, Defenseman, Goaltender, Rookie and Coach of the Year.
The 2017-18 WCHA Offensive Player and Defenseman of the Year were chosen from the All-WCHA First Team forwards and blueliners, respectively. The Goaltender of the Year is the first-team All-WCHA netminder, while the Rookie of the Year was selected from the All-WCHA Rookie Team. WCHA head coaches vote for the All-WCHA Teams, and then again for these awards.
“On behalf of the WCHA, our sincere congratulations to our individual award winners,” said WCHA commissioner Bill Robertson in a statement. “We have had a tremendous season with four 20-win teams, a pair of schools bound for the NCAA tournament and numerous individual accomplishments. To be recognized by WCHA head coaches as the best-of-the-best from our league is a wonderful honor. We are proud to stand and applaud their fantastic seasons.”
The four players are now finalists for the overall 2017-18 WCHA Player of the Year, to be announced March 15.
2017-18 WCHA Offensive Player of the Year: C.J. Suess, Sr., Minnesota State
Suess was the top offensive threat on the league’s highest-scoring team, becoming the first Mavericks skater to capture the WCHA scoring title after tallying 36 points (league-high 19 goals, 17 assists) in 28 conference games.
2017-18 WCHA Defenseman of the Year: Alec Rauhauser, So., Bowling Green
Rauhauser, a WCHA All-Rookie Team selection in 2016-17, put together a standout sophomore campaign for Bowling Green. He ranked second among league blueliners with a plus-16 rating, while tallying six goals, 20 assists (tied for first) and 26 points (second) in 28 WCHA games.
2017-18 WCHA Goaltender of the Year: Atte Tolvanen, Jr., Northern Michigan
Despite missing six games due to injury, Tolvanen tied for the league lead with 17 WCHA wins and ranked second with a .773 winning percentage in his 22 starts (17-5-0). He also was second in the league with a .917 save percentage and two shutouts (tied), while finishing third with a 2.05 GAA. Tolvanen enters Saturday’s WCHA championship game tied for the NCAA lead with 23 wins (23-9-1).
2017-18 WCHA Rookie of the Year: Jake Jaremko, Fr., F, Minnesota State
Jaremko led the talented crop of WCHA freshmen in league play with 31 points, 11 goals, 0.39 goals-per-game, 1.11 points-per-game, six power-play goals (tied) and 12 power-play points (tied), while he was second with 20 assists and a plus-13 rating.
2017-18 WCHA Coach of the Year: Grant Potulny, Northern Michigan
In his first year as a NCAA Division I head coach, Potulny has engineered the finest Northern Michigan season in over a decade and its best league campaign in 26 years. The Wildcats enter Saturday’s WCHA championship tied for third nationally in victories with their first 25-win season (25-14-3) since the 2001-02 campaign (26-12-2), part of the program’s first 20-win effort since 2009-10 (20-13-8).
After Northern Michigan was picked by league coaches and media to finish seventh in the WCHA preseason polls, Potulny guided the Wildcats to a second-place conference finish with a 19-7-2-2 record. The 19 wins represented the school’s most league victories in any conference since the 1990-91 team captured the MacNaughton Cup as WCHA regular-season champions at 25-4-3, en route to NMU’s only NCAA national title.