Gopher Hockey has Four Players Earn WCHA Awards for 2012-13 Season

Minnesota Gopher defenseman Nate Schmidt was named first team All-WCHA for 2012-13. - University of Minnesota Athletics

Four Golden Gophers were named to either the 1st, 2nd or 3rd all-WCHA teams, but the co-MacNaughton Cup champs were shut out of the major awards. I suppose they had to give JBSU something to stop their whining, right?

The WCHA awards for the 2012-13 season were announced last night, and four Gophers were honored: junior defenseman Nate Schmidt was named to the first team, junior center and Minnesota's leading scorer Erik Haula to the second, and junior center Nick Bjugstad and freshman goalie Adam Wilcox were named to the third team. Schmidt, Haula and Bjugstad were all named to the all-WCHA academic team as well. Schmidt was named to the second team last season and Bjugstad to the first. Let's call it "interesting" that Haula was the second leading scorer in the league despite missing two conference games and was arguably the best player for the WCHA's best team, and for all of that...he's second team? Sure he is. Makes perfect sense- if UND and SCSU are the only ones voting.

The Gophers were shut out of the major awards, as St Cloud senior Drew LeBlanc won Player of the Year and Outstanding Student-Athlete (probably tough to get good grades at JBSU, am I right?) while his teammate Nick Jensen was named the Defensive Player of the Year. Good for them. Mike Hastings of Mankato won Coach of the Year, and his freshman sensation Stephon Williams won Freshman of the Year and was the league's goaltending champion.

The all-WCHA teams are as follows:

First Team

F - Ryan Walters, Jr., Nebraska Omaha (28 gp, 16-24=40)

F - Drew LeBlanc, Sr., St. Cloud State (28 gp, 10-25=35)

F - Danny Kristo, Sr., North Dakota (28 gp, 17-20=37)

D - Nate Schmidt, Jr., Minnesota (28 gp, 7-19=26)

D - Nick Jensen, Jr., St. Cloud State (28 gp, 4-19=23)

G - Stephon Williams, Fr., Minnesota State (15-9-1, 1.93 GAA, .927 Sv%)

Second Team

F - Corban Knight, Sr., North Dakota (28 gp, 12-23=35)

F - Erik Haula, Jr., Minnesota (26 gp, 13-24=37)

F - Rylan Schwartz, Sr., Colorado College (27 gp, 12-23=35)

D - Joey LaLeggia, So., Denver (28 gp, 10-13=23)

D - Mike Boivin, Sr., Colorado College (28 gp, 13-10=23)

G - Juho Olkinuora, So., Denver (9-3-5, 2.44 GAA, .924 Sv%

Third Team

F - Matt Leitner, So., Minnesota State (28 gp, 13-19=32)

F - Nick Bjugstad, Jr., Minnesota (28 gp, 15-8=23)

F - Eriah Hayes, Sr., Minnesota State (28 gp, 15-13=28)

D - Andrej Sustr, Jr., Nebraska Omaha (28 gp, 7-11=18)

D - Jake McCabe, So., Wisconsin (24 gp, 3-12=15)

G - Adam Wilcox, Fr., Minnesota (16-6-5, 2.13 GAA, .914 Sv%)

Rookie Team

F - Tony Cameranesi, Fr., Minnesota Duluth (28 gp, 11-17=28)

F - Alex Petan, Fr., Michigan Tech (28 gp, 11-18=29)

F - Rocco Grimaldi, So., North Dakota (28 gp, 10-16=26)

D - Nolan Zajac, Fr., Denver (26 gp, 4-10=14)

D - Andy Welinski, Fr., Minnesota Duluth (28 gp, 3-12=15)

G - Stephon Williams, Fr., Minnesota State (15-9-1, 1.93 GAA, .927 Sv%)

The WCHA playoffs begin tonight, as the Gophers play Bemidji for the second straight weekend, but this time at Mariucci. The best of three series goes, tonight, tomorrow night and Sunday night- if necessary- with all three games at 7pm. Tonight and Saturday are on FSN while Sunday night's game will be on FSN+.

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