March 17, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) – The inaugu ral Big Ten regular-season champions added more hardware to the trophy case on Monday as No. 1 Minnesota took home four of the conference’s major awards and featured four all-conference selections.
Adam Wilcox was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and Goaltender of the Year, Mike Reilly was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Don Lucia was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year. Wilcox and Reilly were also named First Team All-Big Ten while Kyle Rau represented the Gophers as a Second Team All-Big Ten honoree and Hudson Fasching was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
Wilcox, an All-America candidate and a Hobey Baker Award and Mike Richter Award nominee, leads the Big Ten and ranks third nationally in wins (23), save percentage (.934) and goals against average (1.91). A five-time Big Ten Star of the Week, the South St. Paul native is on pace to set a Minnesota single-season record for save percentage this season and allowed just 30 goals in 18 conference games this season.
Reilly anchored the Big Ten’s top defense this season as the Gophers tied for an NCAA-low 72 goals against in the regular season (Minnesota’s 2.00 goals against per game ranks third nationally, first in the conference). The Chanhassen, Minn., native led all Big Ten defensemen in goals (eight), assists (21) and points (29) this season and ranked among the top ten defensemen nationally in all three statistics.
Now in his 15th year at Minnesota, Lucia has guided the Gophers to a program-record three-straight regular-season titles including the inaugural Big Ten title. Lucia has now been honored as conference coach of the year four times in his career (WCHA Coach of the Year in 1994, 1996 and 2006). The Grand Rapids, Minn., native boasts a 648-342-94 overall coaching record in 27 seasons as well as a 369-187-65 mark at Minnesota that includes back-to-back national championships in 2002 and 2003.
Rau led Minnesota in scoring during the regular season and finished tied for third in the conference with 33 points (11 goals, 22 assists) including the overtime winner last Friday as Minnesota clinched the inaugural Big Ten regular-season title. Fasching led all Big Ten freshmen with 12 goals this season and ranked second among conference newcomers with 28 points.
The top-ranked Gophers head into the inaugural Big Ten tournament at Xcel Energy Center as the top seed and will face the winner of four-seed Ohio State and five-seed Michigan State on Friday at 7 p.m. The conference title will be decided on Saturday at 7 p.m. All five games of the Big Ten tournament will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network and BTN2Go.com.
-Pride on Ice-
Around the Rink: Connor Reilly
A native of Chanhassen, Minn., Reilly has collected 53 points (23 goals, 30 assists) in 114 career games with the Gophers.
Border Battle on Deck
Friday’s series opener is set for 7 p.m. CT with Saturday’s finale scheduled for 5 p.m.
Lettieri Named B1G Second Star
Lettieri has played in all 20 games this season for the Gophers while ranking tied for second on the team with 11 goals and third on the team with 20 points.