After stellar sophomore season with North Dakota, Pinto leaves Fighting Hawks, inks NHL deal with Senators

Shane Pinto was an offensive sparkplug this season for North Dakota (photo: Mark Kuhlmann).

North Dakota sophomore forward Shane Pinto will pursue his professional career, signing with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators.

Pinto, a second-round pick (32nd overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft, signs a three-year entry-level contract and will report to Ottawa follow a quarantine period.

In signing with the Senators, Pinto gives up his junior and senior seasons at UND.

In his two seasons at North Dakota, Pinto led the team in goals in both years and was recently named a Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalist. He scored 31 goals and added 29 assists for 60 points in 61 games played for the Fighting Hawks.

His 15 goals as a sophomore paced the conference and ranked seventh in the NCAA. He recorded a dozen multi-point games this season, including assisting on both extra-attacker goals late in the Midwest Regional final to send the game to extra sessions. His .619 faceoff win percentage also led the league and was in the top five nationally. He owns the second- and third-best season faceoff win percentages in school history and his 61.2 career win percentage is a new school record.

Pinto was the NCHC rookie of the year as a freshman, scoring a team-high-tying 16 goals, including an overtime winner on Feb. 29 to clinch the league’s regular-season title.

There wasn’t a sophomore slump as the Franklin Square, N.Y., native made history by picking up the NCHC player of the year unanimously (the first to do so) as well as forward of the year and defensive forward of the year, the first to win both of those awards in the same season.

This season, Pinto won the league’s scoring title with 28 points and 15 goals in the regular season. He also paced the conference in power-play goals (7), faceoff win percentage (.620), multi-point games (11) and multi-goal games.

A kinesiology major, Pinto was an NCHC distinguished scholar-athlete each of his two seasons, adding all-academic honors as well.