Minnesota Duluth blueliner Perunovich chosen ’19-20 NCHC Player of the Year

6 Oct 18:  Scott Perunovich (Minnesota Duluth - 7). The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers play against the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs in a non-conference matchup at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, MN. (Jim Rosvold/University of Minnesota)
During the 2019-20 season, Minnesota Duluth’s Scott Perunovich became the first defenseman to win the NCHC scoring title (photo: Jim Rosvold/University of Minnesota).

The NCHC announced Thursday its final three award winners of the 2019-20 season.

Taking home NCHC Player of the Year honors is Minnesota Duluth junior defenseman Scott Perunovich, while North Dakota’s Brad Berry was selected the NCHC’s Herb Brooks Coach of the Year, and Miami senior forward Karch Bachman garnered the NCHC’s 2019-20 Senior Scholar-Athlete Award for his work on the ice and in the classroom.

Perunovich is the first Bulldog, but fifth defenseman, to win NCHC Player of the Year, while Berry becomes the NCHC’s second two-time coach of the year after also winning the award in 2016 (Bob Motzko is the other two-time winner).

Bachman becomes the first RedHawk to capture Senior Scholar-Athlete honors from the NCHC.

Perunovich, a St. Louis Blues draft pick, is the first defenseman to win the NCHC scoring title, racking up 32 points in 24 conference games in 2019-20, including an NCHC-best 28 assists.

Overall in 2019-20, Perunovich ranked second nationally in defenseman scoring with 40 points (six goals, 34 assists), while his 34 helpers were second in the NCAA among all skaters. He tied for the NCAA lead with 22 power-play points (three goals, 19 assists).

Berry guided North Dakota to a 26-5-4 record overall in the regular season before the postseason was cut short, an eight-win improvement from last season. In NCHC play, the fifth-year head coach led North Dakota to the Penrose Cup as outright NCHC regular-season champions, going 17-4-3-2, after being picked to finish fourth in the NCHC preseason media poll.

Nationally, Berry guided the Fighting Hawks to finish first in the Pairwise Rankings, which determine the NCAA tournament field, and would have been the overall No. 1 seed in the tournament had the event been held. U

Bachman compiled a 3.88 cumulative grade-point average while majoring in finance. The Florida Panthers draft pick is a four-time member of the NCHC’s Academic All-Conference Team and a four-time NCHC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete for having at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA after each season.

On schedule to graduate this spring, Bachman was also active in the Oxford community during his career, serving food to community members during Berge’s Bistro/Rico’s Restaurante, while volunteering at a local senior citizens center and elementary school, among other activities.

In addition to his work in the classroom and community, Bachman chipped in 19 points (four goals, 15 assists) while playing in all 24 NCHC games this season. He tied for second on the RedHawks and ninth in the NCHC in overall scoring in 2019-20 with 31 points in 34 games on 10 goals and 21 assists.