Four Gophers Named All-WCHA; Patterson, Bjugstad First Team

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Go Gophers! Kent Patterson
Go Gophers!
Kent Patterson (pictured) and Nick Bjugstad were named to the All-WCHA First Team.
Go Gophers!
Minnesota had four players named to an All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association team this afternoon. Senior Kent Patterson and sophomore Nick Bjugstad were named to the All-WCHA First Team, while sophomore defenseman Nate Schmidt was named to All-WCHA Second Team. Freshman Kyle Rau was named to the All-WCHA Rookie Team.

It is the first time since the 2006-07 season that Minnesota had four players honored by the WCHA. That year Alex Goligoski (first team), Mike Vannelli (second team), Kyle Okposo (second team and rookie team) and Erik Johnson (rookie team) were recognized for their play by the WCHA.

Patterson, who secured the WCHA Goaltending Champion title with a 2.06 goals-against average while playing 1659:41 in 28 games, was named to an All-WCHA team for the second straight year. He was named to the All-WCHA Second Team last year and is the first Gopher to be named to the All-WCHA First Team since Ryan Stoa (2008-09). Patterson is the first Minnesota goaltender to be named All-WCHA First Team since Steve DeBus (1996-97).    

Patterson, who played every minute in net this season except for 20 minutes, finished first in the WHCA in goals-against average (2.06) and was second in winning percentage (71.4 percent). He finished third in save percentage (.918) despite playing more than 600 minutes more than Colorado College's Josh Thorimbert who was first (.928) and more than 1,000 minutes more than North Dakota's Brad Eidness (.919).

He led the WCHA in wins with 20, which was five more than his next closest competitor. He was third in saves with 642 behind Michigan Tech's Josh Robinson (708) and Minnesota Duluth's Kenny Reiter (647).  

Patterson recorded at least one win against 10 WCHA teams. He leads the nations and set school single-season record with seven shutouts this year, four of which came against WCHA teams. He was named the National Player of the Month for October and was a three-time WCHA Defensive Player of the Week.

Bjugstad, who tied Erik Haula for the team lead in points with 38, centered Minnesota's top line all season. He leads the Gophers and ranks tied for third nationally with 23 goals. His 23 goals are the most for a Gopher since Stoa had 24 in 2008-09. In addition to leading the team in points and goals, Bjugstad also paced Minnesota in shot percentage (18.9 percent) and tied for first on the team in power-play goals (7).

The sophomore had 21 points (9g-12a) in 16 road games and recorded a point in 13 of those games. He had five multiple-point games on the road. Bjugstad is third on the team with a +20 rating and leads the team in faceoff percentage (of players who have taken more than 70 faceoffs) with a .584 winning percentage.

Bjugstad, who represented the United States at the World Junior Championship earlier this season, enjoyed point streaks of six games (7g-4a) and five games (5g-1a) earlier this season. He never went more than two games without a point.

Bjugstad was the National Player of the Month for November and was named the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week for Nov. 22.
Go Gophers! Nate Schmidt
Go Gophers!
Nate Schmidt, who led defensemen nationally with 30 assists, was named All-WCHA Second Team.
Go Gophers!

Schmidt had a breakout season this year as he led the Gophers with 30 assists and finished fourth on the team with 33 points. His 30 assists lead the nation for defensemen and rank sixth nationally. Schmidt also tied Ben Marshall for the team lead in blocked shots (43) and tied Kyle Rau in plus-minus (+22).

Schmidt scored 23 points (3g-20a) on the power-play, which led Minnesota. The most important point he tallied was his most recent one, as the sophomore scored an unassisted power-play goal in the third-period against Wisconsin to clinch the MacNaughton Cup outright for the Gophers.

Schmidt was the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for Feb. 28.

Rau, who played high school hockey last year, finished third on the team with 34 points (16g-18a). He leads all freshman forwards and ranks second among freshman nationally in scoring. He finished the WCHA schedule with 27 points in 27 games to finish second among freshman scoring in scoring but tied for first in points-per-game (1.00). Rau scored 17 points at home and 17 on the road this season.

Rau, who joined Bjugstad on Team USA at the World Junior Championship, led the Gophers in game-winning goals (6) and tied for first in power-play goals (7). He is tied with Schmidt for the team lead with a +22 rating. Rau is the first freshman to score more than 15 goals in a season since 2006-07 (Jay Barriball had 20 and Okposo had 19). He is the first freshman to score more than 30 points in a season since 2008-09 (Jordan Schroeder had 45).

Rau, who was the National Rookie of the Month for October and a three-time WCHA Rookie of Week, had point streaks of eight games and seven games this year. He also led Minnesota forwards in blocked shots with 23.

2011-12 WCHA Major Award Winners

WCHA Player of the Year
Jack Connolly • Senior, Forward, Minnesota Duluth

WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year
Brad Eidsness • Senior, Goaltender, North Dakota

WCHA Defensive Player of the Year
Justin Schultz • Junior, Defenseman, Wisconsin

WCHA Rookie of the Year
Joey LaLeggia • Freshman, Defenseman, Denver

WCHA Scoring Champion
Jack Connolly • Senior, Forward,  Minnesota Duluth

WCHA Goaltending Champion
Kent Patterson • Senior, Goaltender, Minnesota

WCHA Coach of the Year
Mel Pearson • Michigan Tech

All-WCHA First Team
F Jack Connolly - Minnesota Duluth
F Nick Bjugstad - Minnesota    
F J.T. Brown - Minnesota Duluth
D Justin Schultz - Wisconsin
D Joey LaLeggia - Denver    
G Kent Patterson - Minnesota

All-WCHA Second Team
F Jaden Schwartz - Colorado College
F Drew Shore - Denver
F Jason Zucker - Denver
D Gabe Guentzel - Colorado College
D Nate Schmidt - Minnesota    
G Kenny Reiter - Minnesota Duluth

All-WCHA Third Team
F Mark Zengerle - Wisconsin
F Brock Nelson - North Dakota
F Travis Oleksuk - Minnesota Duluth
D Nick Jensen - St. Cloud State    
D Ben Blood - North Dakota   
G Josh Thorimbert - Colorado College

All-WCHA Rookie Team
F Kyle Rau - Minnesota    
F Jean-Paul Lafontaine - Minnesota State   
F Jayson Megna - Nebraska Omaha   
D Joey LaLeggia - Denver   
D Andrew Prochno - St. Cloud State  
G Juho Olkinuora - Denver  

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