MINNEAPOLIS – University of North Dakota junior defenseman Tucker Poolman has been named the first-ever recipient of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s (NCHC) Defensive Defenseman of the Year Award and teammate Matt Hrynkiw was the co-recipient of the NCHC Sportsmanship Award, it was announced on Thursday night at the league’s annual awards banquet.
Poolman, a junior from East Grand Forks, Minn., was named to the All-NCHC First Team earlier this month after the two-time NCHC Defenseman of the Week collected four goals and 18 points in 24 conference games. In 36 games overall this season, Poolman has a team-leading 23 points and ranks third among NCHC defensemen with a career-high 30 points. He also boasts a plus-17 rating, second-best on the team.
Poolman is UND’s first defenseman to reach the 30-point plateau since former All-American Chay Genoway had 37 in 2010-11.
Other finalists for the award included St. Cloud State sophomore Will Borgen and Minnesota Duluth sophomore Neal Pionk.
Hrynkiw, UND’s first-ever winner of the NCHC Sportsmanship Award, was named co-recipient along with Omaha junior forward Tyler Vesel. A former walk-on, Hrynkiw did not see any regular season playing time during his first two years but emerged last year to go 10-2-2 in 14 appearances, 11 of which were starts. His 2.13 goals against average last season ranked ninth in UND single-season history.
In 18 career appearances (13 starts), the senior from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is 11-5-2 with a 2.09 goals against average, .911 save percentage and two shutouts. He is a three-time selection to the All-NCHC Academic Team and was the co-recipient of UND’s Coaches Unsung Hero Award last season.
Other finalists for the NCHC Sportsmanship Award included Minnesota Duluth junior forward Karson Kuhlman and St. Cloud State junior forward Judd Peterson.
Poolman, Hrynkiw and the Fighting Hawks will face top-ranked and top-seeded Denver on Friday night in second of two NCHC Frozen Faceoff semifinals at Target Center. The puck drops at 7:38 p.m. Central and will be telecast live on CBS Sports Network. The 4:38 p.m. semifinal, also on CBSSN, features No. 2 Minnesota Duluth against No. 3 seed Western Michigan.
2016-17 NCHC Award Winners:
Coach of the Year – Andy Murray, Western Michigan
Player of the Year – Will Butcher, Denver
Rookie of the Year – Henrik Borgström, Denver
Goalie of the Year – Tanner Jaillet, Denver
Forward of the Year – Anthony Louis, Miami
Defensive Defenseman of the Year – Tucker Poolman, North Dakota
Offensive Defenseman of the Year – Will Butcher, Denver
Defensive Forward of the Year – Dominic Toninato, Minnesota Duluth
Senior Scholar-Athlete Award – Justin Parizek, Omaha
Sportsmanship Award – Matt Hrynkiw, North Dakota & Tyler Vesel, Omaha
Postgraduate Scholarship – Aaron Hadley, Western Michigan & Kirk Thompson, Omaha
Three Stars Award – Ben Blacker, Western Michigan