Apr 17, 2014 10:00 AM by Jordan Mason
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - With the 2013-14 season complete, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) has announced its final monthly honors for the season with North Dakota sophomore goaltender Zane Gothberg earning NCHC Player of the Month for March/April, while Omaha freshman forward Jake Guentzel is the NCHC Rookie of the Month for March/April. Guentzel has now claimed NCHC Rookie of the Month twice, also collecting the award for November.
NCHC March/April Player of the Month
Thief River Falls, Minn.
Gothberg backstopped North Dakota to a berth in the NCAA Frozen Four, while starting all 11 of UND's games during March and April. Over the two months, he led all NCAA netminders with 11 games played, 681 minutes played and 284 saves, while pitching a pair of shutouts which tied for the NCAA lead. In his 11 starts, the Boston Bruins prospect posted a 6-5-0 record with his six wins tops in the NCHC and tied for second nationally in March and April. Gothberg also compiled a 1.76 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage over the two months, both of which ranked second in the NCHC and in the top 12 nationally during that time. He allowed two or fewer goals in eight of his 11 starts in March/April.
After suffering a loss to St. Cloud State to start the month despite 29 saves, Gothberg pitched his first shutout of March and second of the season March 7 when he blanked Western Michigan with 18 saves. He then totaled 73 stops in UND's NCHC quarterfinal series with Colorado College to help them advance to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff. Following a loss to Miami in the NCHC semifinals, Gothberg rebounded with a 25-save shutout in the third-place game March 22, also against Western Michigan.
Gothberg saved his best work for the end of the year however, making 22 saves in a 5-2 NCAA first-round win over top-seeded Wisconsin March 28, before compiling a career-high 44 saves the next night in a 2-1 double-overtime victory against Ferris State in the regional final. He made 26 more saves at the Frozen Four April 10 despite UND falling in the final second, 2-1, to top-ranked Minnesota. During his three NCAA Tournament games, Gothberg boasted a 1.48 GAA and a .948 save percentage, including stopping 66 of 69 shots in the NCAA Midwest Regional against Wisconsin and Ferris State. A finalist for NCHC Goaltender of the Year, he finished the season with a 1.99 GAA, fifth-best in UND single-season history and tops in the NCHC, while upping his career save percentage to .926 - the best in North Dakota program history.
Gothberg is now a candidate for Hockey Commissioners' Association (HCA) National Player of the Month for March/April, which will be announced Friday. The other nominee for March/April NCHC Player of the Month was St. Cloud State senior forward Nic Dowd.
NCHC March/April Rookie of the Month
Guentzel, a two-time NCHC Rookie of the Month, led all NCHC freshmen in scoring during March and April, compiling seven points on two goals and five assists in six games (all in March). His seven points also tied for fourth nationally among rookies during that span, despite playing two fewer games than any other rookie in the top five. The Pittsburgh Penguins prospect compiled at least one point in five of the six games in March, while notching a pair of multi-point contests. Guentzel helped Omaha go 3-3-0 during March, as the Mavericks earned a third-place finish in the NCHC regular season. He finished with 18 shots on goal in the month, while winning 11 of 16 face-offs (.688).
Guentzel scored the first goal of March for the Mavs, notching a power play goal in a 2-1 overtime win over Colorado College March 1. The following weekend, he wrapped up the regular season with a four-point series in a split at Minnesota Duluth. He notched a pair of assists in a loss to UMD March 7, helping on both UNO goals, while scoring a goal and assisting on the game-winner in a 4-1 victory over the Bulldogs the next night. In Omaha's NCHC best-of-three quarterfinal series against Denver March 13-15, Guentzel had an assist in each of the first two games before being held scoreless in the decisive game three as the Mavs were shut out, 2-0. The third game snapped his six-game point streak he carried through much of March.
Guentzel was named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team and was a finalist for NCHC Rookie of the Year, as he finished the regular season with 27 points in conference play, which led all rookies. His 21 assists in NCHC games led all players, while his 27 points tied for second among all NCHC players.
Guentzel is now a candidate for Hockey Commissioners' Association (HCA) National Rookie of the Month for March/April, which will be announced Friday. The other nominee for March/April NCHC Rookie of the Month was North Dakota freshman defenseman Paul LaDue. The HCA combines March and April for its final monthly honor as only two games are played in April (the Frozen Four).
Previous NCHC Monthly Award Winners
Riley Barber, Miami - October NCHC Player of the Month
Kyle Osterberg, Minnesota Duluth - October NCHC Rookie of the Month
Shane Berschbach, Western Michigan - November NCHC Player of the Month
Jake Guentzel, Omaha - November NCHC Rookie of the Month
Justin Kovacs, Western Michigan - December NCHC Player of the Month
Luke Johnson, North Dakota - December NCHC Rookie of the Month
Jonny Brodzinski, St. Cloud State - January NCHC Player of the Month
Alex Iafallo, Minnesota Duluth - January NCHC Rookie of the Month
Josh Archibald, Omaha - February NCHC Player of the Month
Paul LaDue, North Dakota - February NCHC Rookie of the Month