Berry earns Herb Brooks NCHC Coach of the Year for the second time
Following national coach of the year honors from both USCHO.com and College Hockey News, UND head coach Brad Berry was also selected by his peers as the top bench man Thursday, winning the National Collegiate Hockey Conference's Herb Brooks Coach of the Year award. Berry led UND to a resurgent 2019-20 campaign that saw the Fighting Hawks pile up an impressive 26-5-4 overall record, the NCHC's regular season title (17-4-3) and the top spot in both the national polls and the NCAA Pairwise for the bulk of the season.
Berry becomes a two-time honoree after winning the award in his rookie season, a 2015-16 team that will live in school infamy, becoming the first team to win an NCAA title in the coach's first season as a head coach. He had his current team set to hang a ninth green banner at the Ralph Engelstad Arena before the season was cut short just shy of the playoffs due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
This most-recent UND squad got contributions from up and down the roster and saw career seasons from a host of athletes. Junior Jordan Kawaguchi has been named a First Team All-American by multiple sources and is a Hobey Baker Award hopeful. He led UND with 45 points this season, doubling his career output to date. His entire junior class saw vast improvements with Collin Adams (career-best 28 points and team-leading +25), Peter Thome (NCHC statistical champion with a 1.37 GAA) and Matt Kiersted (2nd Team All-NCHC) all enjoying career years. Add in a rookie class that made an immediate impact, headlined by Shane Pinto's team-leading 16-goal output at the ingredients all came together to cook up a special season.
Included in the memories were a Thanksgiving weekend sweep of the rival Minnesota Gophers, the first series taken at Denver in over a decade, and an incredible 18-1 mark at home. His team was among the top scoring teams in the nation and was the best in fewest shots on goal allowed on the other end. The power play made a vast improvement from the previous season, going from 52nd in the country to 17th overall. The man-advantage was particularly good in the conference season, scoring on over 25 percent of its chances in league play, with the 25 power play goals pacing the conference.
Berry now owns a career record of 116-57-23 (.651) in his five seasons behind the bench at North Dakota. He has a pair of Penrose Cups (2016, 2020) to his credit and the 2016 NCAA championship.