MINNEAPOLIS- Nate Schmidt and Adam Wilcox were among several University of Minnesota men's hockey players recognized Tuesday night during the team's annual year-end banquet at TCF Bank Stadium.
The Gophers finished the 2012-2013 season, their final in the WCHA, with a 26-9-5 record and won a share of the WCHA regular season title (with St. Cloud State). While the team entered the NCAA Tournament as the #2 overall seed, Minnesota was upset in overtime by eventual national champion Yale.
Schmidt, a Second Team All-American and First Team All-WCHA defenseman, was honored with the John Mariucci Most Valuable Player. The St. Cloud, MN native was third in the nation among defensemen with 32 points (9G-23A) as a junior. He also led a blue line that was first in the WCHA in total defense and penalty kill by being on the top pairing, penalty kill and power play.
Following the season, Schmidt signed a professional contract with the Washington Capitals.
Wilcox was honored with three separate awards. Besides the Donald M. Clark Community Service Award, the freshman goaltender received this year's Frank Pond Rookie of the Year Award and Tom Mohr Playoff Most Valuable Player Award. Wilcox, a 2011 draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, set a school record for goals against average in a season with 1.88 per game. That led the WCHA and was sixth-best in the nation. He also finished tied with Kellen Briggs in 2003-2004 for the most wins (25) as a freshman in Minnesota history.
Other award winners include sophomore forward Kyle Rau, who was recognized with the Mike Crupi Most Determined Player Award. Rau, finished second behind Erik Haula with 40 points (15G-25A). The 2011 draft pick by the Florida Panthers served as a barometer for the Gophers last season. Minnesota went 23-2-1 when Rau scored a point and 3-7-4 when he did not.
Forward Nate Condon (Colorado Avalanche) was given the John Mayasich Outstanding Student-Athlete Award. Fellow junior Justin Holl (Chicago Blackhawks) was honored with the Dr. V. George Nagobads Unsung Hero after tallying three goals and seven points for the Gophers. Holl split the 2012-13 season between forward and defense following two years of being a defenseman.
Minnesota redshirt junior Zach Budish took home this year's Elwin "Doc" Romnes Leadership and Sportsmanship Award as the captain of the 2012-2013 Gophers. Budish, who set new career highs with 36 points and 14 goals, was also honored with the team's alternate captains Seth Helgeson, Nick Bjugstad and Erik Haula for their contributions this year.
Each of the four players signed a professional contract after the season and will not return next year. Budish signed with the Nashville Predators. Helgeson, the lone senior on the 2012-13 Gophers, signed with the Albany Devils. Bjugstad, a 2010 first round pick, signed with the Florida Panthers and appeared in (#) games. Haula, who led Minnesota with 51 points (16G-35A), came to terms with the Minnesota Wild.
In addition to the team awards, Minnesota also recognized its four All-WCHA honorees (Schmidt, Haula, Bjugstad, Wilcox), its four WCHA Scholar-Athletes (Michael Shibrowski, Condon, Rau, Budish) and first-time letterwinners (A.J. Michaelson, Mike Reilly, Ryan Reilly, Brady Skjei, Shibrowski, Wilcox).
Follow Nate on Twitter @gopherstate.