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Minnesota earns league honors for players and head coach alike

Minnesota earns league honors for players and head coach
Minnesota earns league honors for players and head coach
Big Ten Conference

Minnesota garnered more hardware for their trophy case on Monday as Adam Wilcox was named Player of the Year, Mike Reilly was named Defensive Player of the Year, and Don Lucia was named Coach of the Year.

Wilcox leads the Big Ten in wins with twenty-three, putting him third nationally, and among the nation’s best in the nets. He’s also a candidate for the Hobey Baker Award and Mike Richter Awards, handed out to the nation’s best player and nation’s best goaltender annually. His .934 save percentage and 1.91 goals against average are also good for third best in the nation.

Reilly was one of the mainstays on Minnesota’s defensive corps all year, helping the Gophers to only allow seventy-two total goals, tied for lowest in the nation. Reilly led all Big Ten defensemen in goals with eight, assists with twenty-one, and points with twenty-nine. Those stats also put Reilly in the top ten defensively in all three national statistics.

Minnesota’s head bench boss Don Lucia has anchored the Gophers to three straight regular season titles—including the final two for the program as members of the WCHA. This year’s coach of the year honor was his first since 2006, a title he also won in 1994 and 1996. Lucia, from Grand Rapids, MN, has acquired a 648-342-94 coaching record in twenty-seven seasons. That includes 369-187-65 at Minnesota (including back to back national titles in 2002-2003).

The Gophers head into the inaugural Big Ten Tournament in St. Paul, MN as the league’s number one seed, and will play Friday at 7pm in the second semifinal, to be aired on BTN/BTN2Go.com. They'll play the winner of Michigan State/Ohio State, and that game is at 7pm Thursday.

Geoff Discher is Examiner.com's Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Examiner as well as the National College Hockey Examiner. Leave a comment below, or feel free to reach him at Disch61@hotmail.com with comments, story ideas, or any general talk surrounding college hockey. You can find him on Facebook as well by clicking here as well as here and joining the conversation from the social media side as well. He's always chock full of fact and opinion. I’m also on Twitter @Disch_InTheVOX. Check it out!

Until next time, I'll see you at the rink!