released its final national polls of the shortened 2019-20 season Monday, with the Minnesota Duluth women’s team maintaining it’s No. 8 ranking from the last poll on March 9 while the Bulldogs men’s program dropped one spot to No. 5.

Voters, which include News Tribune college hockey reporter Matt Wellens, were given wide latitude in how to fill out their final ballots since no games have been played since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the NCAA hockey seasons on March 12. Suggestions included resubmitting the March 9 ballot or imagining how the rest of the season could have played out.

The NCAA Division I women’s season ended just days before the national tournament was to get underway. Cornell, the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, grabbed the top spot in the final poll with Wisconsin, Northeastern and WCHA Final Faceoff champion Ohio State all nabbing first-place votes.

The end of the NCAA Division I men’s season was messier with some league tournaments underway while others — like the NCHC — had just wrapped up their regular season.

Cornell, the No. 1 on March 9, finished the season at No. 1 in the USCHO poll, though with just 25 first-place votes compared to the 40 it had on March 9. North Dakota, the top team in the Pairwise rankings when the season was halted, garnered 16 first-place votes to finish second.

No. 3 Minnesota State-Mankato (6), No. 4 Boston College (2) and the fifth-ranked Bulldogs (1) also garnered first-place votes, with the News Tribune’s Wellens being the lone voter to put the two-time defending national champions at No. 1.

NCHC begins handing out awards

The Bulldogs picked up a pair of awards from the NCHC on Monday as junior wing Kobe Roth was the recipient of the 2019-20 Sportsmanship Award while junior defenseman Scott Perunovich shared the league’s Three Stars Award with North Dakota junior forward Jordan Kawaguchi.

Roth didn’t commit a single penalty in 2019-20 and has just three minors on his record in 106 collegiate games at UMD. Roth posted a career-best 13 goals and 21 points this year for UMD. He's the third Bulldog to win the award, joining Karson Kuhlman in 2017-18 and Cal Decowski in 2015-16.

Perunovich, the Hibbing native, tied Kawaguchi for the Three Stars Award with 30 points each based on where they land in the postgame honor, that is sometimes voted upon by the media and other times just picked by the home team. Perunovich and Kawaguchi are both up for NCHC Player of the Year, which will be awarded later this week.

The NCHC began announcing its 2020 awards on Monday, with Dave Starman of CBS Sports Network being named the third-ever recipient of the NCHC Media Excellence Award.

This year’s NCHC awards, like every other season, were originally scheduled to be handed out during a show on March 19 in St. Paul as part of the Frozen Faceoff, but that event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The awards presentations will continue throughout the rest of the week on Twitter. A full schedule and list of nominees can be found below.

NCHC Awards schedule


Offensive Defenseman of the Year (Matt Kiersted, Jr., North Dakota; Ian Mitchell, Jr., Denver; Scott Perunovich, Jr., Minnesota Duluth).

Defensive Defenseman of the Year (Colton Poolman, Sr., North Dakota; Mattias Samuelsson, So., Western Michigan; Nick Wolff, Sr., Minnesota Duluth)

Goaltender of the Year (Magnus Chrona, Fr., Denver; David Hrenak, Jr., St. Cloud State; Hunter Shepard, Sr., Minnesota Duluth)


Forward of the Year (Noah Cates, So., Minnesota Duluth; Jordan Kawaguchi, Jr., North Dakota; Emilio Pettersen, So., Denver)

Defensive Forward of the Year (Justin Richards, Jr., Minnesota Duluth; Cole Smith, Sr., North Dakota; Paul Washe, Jr., Western Michigan)

Rookie of the Year (Bobby Brink, F, Denver; Shane Pinto, F, North Dakota; Nolan Sullivan, F, Omaha)


Player of the Year (Jack Ahcan, Sr., D, St. Cloud State; Jordan Kawaguchi, Jr., F, North Dakota; Scott Perunovich, Jr., D, Minnesota Duluth)

Herb Brooks Coach of the Year (Brad Berry, North Dakota; Andy Murray, Western Michigan; Scott Sandelin, Minnesota Duluth)

Senior Scholar-Athlete (Karch Bachman, F, Miami; Zach Jordan, F, Omaha; Colton Poolman, D, North Dakota)