GRAND FORKS, N.D. – University of North Dakota freshman forward Luke Johnson has been named the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Rookie of the Month after racking up six points in four December victories.
Johnson scored three goals and added three assists to tie for the NCHC scoring lead during the month while leading UND to a perfect 4-0-0 record. All three of Johnson’s goals came via the power play, tops among the nation’s freshmen, and he figured in on three of his team’s four game-winning goals.
The Grand Forks, N.D., native scored a pair of power-play goals and was the No. 2 star in UND’s 3-2 win at Western Michigan on Dec. 6, then set up Rocco Grimaldi’s game-winner the following night to complete UND’s first sweep of the season. Johnson scored the game-winning power-play goal in a 4-1 win over Northern Michigan on Dec. 13, then clinched a second straight sweep by assisting on Drake Caggiula’s game-winner the next night in a 3-1 victory.
Through 18 games this season, Johnson is tied for second on the team in scoring with 11 points (4G, 7A) and leads the squad with four power-play goals. A fifth-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks last June, Johnson is also tied for second in the NCHC rookie scoring race.
Western Michigan junior forward Justin Kovacs was named NCHC Player of the Month. Sophomore goalie Zane Gothberg was UND’s nominee after leading all NCHC goalies (min. 2 GP) in wins (4), goals against average (1.50) and save percentage (.941) during the month.
UND opens 2014 this weekend with a pair of exhibition games at the Great Northwest Showcase in Burnaby, British Columbia. UND faces the University of British Columbia on Friday and Simon Fraser University on Saturday.