The season end Big Ten Hockey awards were announced on Tuesday and Minnesota Golden Gophers freshman Sammy Walker was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He becomes the first Gopher to win the award in seven seasons under the Big Ten umbrella. Additionally, Rem Pitlick was named to the All-Big Ten First Team, Tyler Sheehy was named to the All-Big Ten second team, and Mat Robson was named an All-Big Ten honorable mention.
Walker took the Big Ten by storm in his first year in the maroon and gold. A year after winning a state championships with Edina High School and being named Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey Walker scored 26 points to lead all Big Ten freshmen in points. He scored 10 goals and added 16 assists in being a focal member of the Gophers freshman line with Blake McLaughlin and Nathan Burke the second half of the season. Walker is the first Gopher to win the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award in the seven seasons it has been given out. Additionally, Walker was the only unanimous member of the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
Rem Pitlick was not up for any of the major year end conference awards but he was named to the All-Big Ten First Team. Pitlick led the Gophers in scoring with 45 points which also currently ranks him in a tie for sixth in the nation. His 45 points, 21 goals and 24 assists are all career highs. Pitlick is a complete player on the ice and is tied for the nation lead in both power play goals with ten, and shorthanded goals with three. His 21 goals are the most for a Gopher since Nick Bjugstad scored 21 in the 2012-13 season. Pitlick now has 108 career points in 112 games as a Gopher. He stands a very good chance at being a Hobey Baker Award Finalist when they are announced later Wednesday morning. Minnesota hopes that he will decide to return for his senior season instead of signing with the Nashville Predators this summer.
Senior captain Tyler Sheehy earned All-Big Ten Second Team honors after recording 41 points on 12 goals and 29 assists. His 149 career points as a Gopher ranks him 29th all-time in program history. Sheehy’s 24 power-play points this season currently tie him for the nation’s lead. Sheehy has now been honored by the conference three seasons in a row adding his Second team honors this season to honorable mention honors in 2017-18 and first team honors and the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2016-17. Sheehy will now sign a pro contract and has a few teams to choose between with one being the Minnesota Wild where he would be sent to their AHL affiliate in Iowa.
Mat Robson earned All-Big Ten honorable mention honors after being one of three finalists for the Big Ten Goalie of the Year. Robson went 14-12-4 for the Gophers this season in leading Minnesota to the Big Ten semifinals. Robson ended the year with a .921 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.78. Robson signed with the Minnesota Wild on Monday leaving after his junior season with the Gophers. With his Gopher career ended he officially set a new Gopher Hockey record with a .924 career save percentage.
Brent Gates, Jr. was named the Gophers Sportsmanship Nominee. The senior captain ended his senior season with 31 points and 13 goals, both new career highs. For his Minnesota career Gates recorded 85 points on 42 goals and 43 assists.