UMD's leading scorer Steeves up for NCAA national rookie of the year

Freshman forward leads the Bulldogs in scoring, and is one of the top freshman goalscorers in the country this season.

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Minnesota Duluth forward Ben Steeves (6) shoots the puck on goal against Western Michigan defenseman Jacob Bauer (2) at Amsoil Arena on Saturday in Duluth.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

Minnesota Duluth freshman wing Ben Steeves was one of 27 players, including six from the NCHC, named to the “Watch List” for the 2023 Tim Taylor Award for national rookie of the year in NCAA Division I men’s hockey.

Steeves is the first Bulldogs freshman with two hat tricks in a season since Brett Hull in 1984-85. He has 17 goals and five assists for 22 points in 26 games to lead the Bulldogs in scoring this season. His 17 goals are tied with Michigan freshman forward Adam Fantilli for most by a freshman this season. Steeves' 10 power play goals are tied for the most in NCAA Division I men’s hockey this year.

"The biggest thing with Benny that I've noticed is he's a professional with everything he does," UMD senior wing and linemate Luke Loheit said of Steeves earlier this season. "You go look at him in the weight room right now, and he's in (the shooting room) stickhandling, shooting. ... His habits have just been very apparent and that's why he's been able to produce at the rate he is."

Ben Steeves leads Minnesota Duluth in scoring halfway through his freshman season. A New Hampshire native, he played hockey in Nebraska, Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa before joining UMD this season.
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Fantilli leads the NCAA in scoring with 45 points off 17 goals and 28 assists. Western Michigan freshman forward Ryan McAllister is second in the nation and tops in the NCHC in scoring with 40 points via 11 goals and 29 assists. Both are considered top contenders for the award, as is Colorado College freshman goaltender Kaidan Mberko, who has a .920 save percentage and 2.46 goals against average in 20 games.

The full “Watch List” can be found here.


Started in 2007, only one Bulldog has ever won the award. That was Scott Perunovich in 2017-18 when he led all freshmen defensemen in the nation in scoring with 36 points. He was fourth overall in scoring among all defensemen and third among NCAA freshmen that season. Perunovich, of Hibbing, went on to win the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as a junior in 2019-20.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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