Quintet of Fighting Hawks up for individual NCHC awards

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (UND Athletics) – Five University of North Dakota players have been named finalists for National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) individual awards, the conference office announced on Thursday afternoon.

Defense partners Christian Wolanin and Colton Poolman, both of whom earned all-conference accolades on Wednesday, were both named finalists for individual hardware on Thursday. Wolanin is a finalist for NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year while Poolman is up for the NCHC Defensive Defenseman of the Year award.

A junior from Detroit, Mich., Wolanin tied for second among NCHC defensemen in scoring with 23 points (6 goals, 17 assists) in 24 conference games, including a league-leading 13 power-play points. Poolman, a sophomore from East Grand Forks, Minn., tied for seventh among NCHC defensemen in scoring with 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) and ranked second on the team in blocked shots (34).

Junior center Rhett Gardner was named a finalist for Defensive Forward of the Year. The Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, native won 57.8 percent of his faceoffs during conference play and ranked third in faceoff wins (253) despite missing six NCHC games due to injury. The Dallas Stars draft pick also contributed five goals and 13 points with a plus-3 rating during his 18 conference games.

Additionally, senior captain Austin Poganski (St. Cloud, Minn.) was named one of four nominees for the NCHC Sportsmanship Award, while classmate Johnny Simonson (Grand Forks, N.D.) was named one of three finalists for the Senior Scholar-Athlete Award.

The NCHC award winners will be announced next Thursday night at the league’s annual awards celebration during the NCHC Frozen Faceoff in Saint Paul.

UND’s Previous NCHC Award Winners
Coach of the Year: Brad Berry (2015-16), Dave Hakstol (2014-15)
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Nick Mattson (2014-15)
Goaltender of the Year: Zane McIntyre (2014-15)
Defensive Defenseman of the Year: Tucker Poolman (2016-17)
Defensive Forward of the Year: Mark MacMillan (2014-15)
Rookie of the Year: Brock Boeser (2015-16)
Three Stars Award: Brock Boeser (2015-16)
Sportsmanship Award: Matt Hrynkiw (2016-17, co-recipient)

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