St. Cloud State’s Fitzgerald (sportsmanship), Miami’s Persson (three stars) pick up yearly honors from NCHC

Kevin Fitzgerald (left) and Ludvig Persson have claimed NCHC honors for the 2020-21 season (photos: Mark Kuhlmann).

The NCHC announced its first two individual award winners for the 2020-21 season on Tuesday.

St. Cloud State senior forward Kevin Fitzgerald is the NCHC’s Sportsmanship Award winner, while Miami freshman goaltender Ludvig Persson earned the NCHC’s Three Stars Award.

Fitzgerald is the third Husky to win the sportsmanship award and second in three years after Patrick Newell garnered the honor in 2018-19.

Persson becomes the first RedHawk to win the three stars award, while he’s the third goaltender and third freshman to claim the honor.

Fitzgerald arrived on SCSU’s campus as a walk-on and is now a staple on St. Cloud State’s top line as a senior. The Huskies’ alternate captain has committed only nine minor penalties this season and no major penalties. He has played in all 24 games for SCSU this season, recording 13 points on eight goals and five assists, including three game-winning goals. In 119 career games for the Huskies, Fitzgerald has amassed 62 points (28 goals, 34 assists).

Fitzgerald is one of 10 finalists for the Men’s Hockey Senior CLASS Award and is a Hockey Humanitarian Award nominee. The accounting major has maintained a cumulative grade-point average of 3.42 and is set to graduate in May of 2021. Fitzgerald is a four-time Academic All-NCHC selection and a two-time recipient of St. Cloud State’s Herberger Business School Scholarship.

Additionally, Fitzgerald volunteers with the St. Cloud Frostbite Special Olympics floor hockey program and has participated in several Huskies outreach community programs, including the Polar Plunge, Skate with the Huskies and Huskies Haulers.

Persson was named Second-Team All-NCHC and to the NCHC All-Rookie Team on Monday. The Swede finished the season with 34 ‘three stars’ points and was selected First Star of the Game five times in his 17 starts in net, backstopping Miami to all five of its wins in 2020-21. Persson led all NCHC goalies with a .930 save percentage this season and finished third with a 2.40 goals-against average. His two shutouts tied for second in the conference. Persson was a three-time NCHC Goalie of the Week and the NCHC’s December Goaltender of the Month.

The Three Stars Award goes to the player who accumulates the most ‘three stars of the game’ points during conference play. Five points are awarded for a first star, three points for a second star and one for a third star of the game, with first stars serving as a tiebreaker, if needed.