UMD’s Perunovich Named NCAA Rookie of the Year
The Hibbing native earned the Tim Taylor Award as the top freshman in the country.
DULUTH — Scott Perunovich added another entry to his expansive 2017-18 resume today when the University of Minnesota Duluth defense was named the recipient of the Tim Taylor Award, bestowed annually upon the best first-year player in NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey. In addition, Perunovich also earned a spot on the American Hockey Coaches Association All-American first team (West).
“I’ve always known he’s had great offensive ability,” said UMD head coach Scott Sandelin. “Now, did I think he would lead our team in scoring? No, but I’m sure glad he has. I still get mad at him for not getting up in the play more because I think he’s like a fourth forward out there. But the biggest thing I’ve been impressed with — and I’ve said it a number of times — is that he’s played well defensively. It’s been an outstanding year for him for being a freshman.”
Perunovich, who earlier this season became just the second Bulldog rookie to ever attain All-NCHC/WCHA first team honors (center Murray Keogan was the other — in 1969-70 when the Bulldogs were aligned with the WCHA), has racked up a team-leading 36 points this winter. That is a UMD program single-season record for a freshman defenseman and three points more than the previous mark, which was set by current Carolina Hurricane team captain Justin Faulk in his first (and only) season with the Bulldogs in 2010-11. Perunovich, the 2017-18 NCHC Rookie of the Year and its Offensive Defenseman of the Year (both Bulldog firsts), currently ranks third among all NCAA rookies with those 36 points (the highest total of any first-year defenseman in the country). The Hibbing, Minn., native is also first in plus-minus rating (a Bulldog best +20), tied for third in assists (25) and tied for seventh in power play points (18).
The Hockey Commissioners Association sponsors the Tim Taylor award, which results from a ballot containing each NCAA Division I ice hockey conference’s Rookie of the Year. It is voted on by the nation’s assistant coaches and is named for the former Yale University and U.S. Olympic Team head coach Tim Taylor.
(PICTURE AND INFO COURTESY OF UMD ATHLETICS)