The Big Ten announced the 2016-17 Season Awards on Monday and the Gophers dominated the list. Tyler Sheehy was named the Big Ten Player of the Year, Jake Bischoff was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and Eric Schierhorn was named the Big Ten Goaltender of the Year. Those three players were all named to the All-Big Ten First Team along with Justin Kloos. Additionally Vinni Letteri and Ryan Lindgren were named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten. Lindgren and Rem Pitlick were also both named to the Big Ten All-Rookie Team.
Tyler Sheehy was the Big Ten Co-Scoring Champion with Mason Jobst of Ohio State with 34 points in Big Ten play. His 52 total points on the season rank seventh in the nation. His point total is the most for a Gopher since Ryan Potulny in 2005-06. Sheehy is the second Gopher to win the Big Ten Player of the Year Award after Adam Wilcox in 2014.
Jake Bischoff leads all Big Ten defensemen and is tied for sixth in the nation with 32 points. He has 85 blocked shots on the season which is tied for eighth nationally. He is the second Gopher to win the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year after Mike Reilly won the award in 2014 and 2015.
Eric Schierhorn won the Big Ten Goaltender of the Year for the second consecutive season. Schierhorn leads the Big Ten with 23 wins, which is tied for third in the NCAA, five shutouts which is tied for fourth in the NCAA and 899 saves. He is the second Gopher goalie to win the award after Wilcox in 2014.
Justin Kloos built upon his Second Team All-Big Ten Award in 2015 to become a First Team All-Big Ten honoree. Kloos ranks 28th all time with 149 career points. he has 42 points on the season good enough for fifth in the Big Ten.
Vinni Letteri has set career highs with 35 points and 18 goals this season, while Lindgrenhas seven points on the season and fifty blocked shots. Rem Pitlick has added 30 points this year in his freshman campaign.
Other winners of major Big Ten Awards include Wisconsin’s Trent Frederick winning Big Ten Rookie of the Year and the Badgers Tony Granato winning Big Ten Coach of the Year. Mason Jobst of Ohio State and Vince Pedrie of Penn State joined Sheehy, Kloos, Bischoff and Schierhorn on the All-Big Ten First Team.
The Gophers did get some bad news on Monday when Minnesota coach Don Lucia announced that Lindgren would miss the remainder of the season. Lindgren was racing for a puck to touch up for an icing when he was tripped up by Michigan State’s Taro Hirose and went feet first at full speed into the boards. He cried out in pain immediately and was helped off the ice.
Lindgren suffered a “lower body injury” which is reportedly a broken fibula. He will have surgery this week and should be 100% by the time the Gophers start the 2017-18 season.
Minnesota will miss Lindgren on the blue line as they enter the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments. Lindgren had been the Gophers second best defenseman behind Bischoff this season. His injury now puts junior Jack Glover back into the lineup. Glover has only played 11 games this season for Minnesota as he got off to a bit of a slow start due to double shoulder surgery last offseason. The good news for the Gophers is that Glover has lots of previous experience with Minnesota and should slide right back into the lineup. But, he will be a significant step down from Lindgren.
The Gophers will get back into action Friday night in the Big Ten Tournament Semifinals. They will play the winner of Michigan and Penn State who will face-off Thursday night. Minnesota will be playing for a chance to earn a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They will not drop below a #2 seed should things go poorly this weekend however. The NCAA Selection Show will be Sunday morning and we will find out what seed Minnesota will have and which regional site they will play at—Fargo, Cincinnati, Manchester or Providence.
We will have a full preview of the Gophers Big Ten Tournament Semifinal Friday.