The No. 1 University of Minnesota men’s hockey team was well represented on the list of Big Ten Conference postseason honors Tuesday as selected by the conference’s coaches and a media voting panel.

The Golden Gophers set Big Ten records for wins (19) and points (57) in a conference season this year and it showed on postseason ballots as they earned three All-B1G First Team, three All-B1G Second Team and three All-B1G Freshman Team selections, along with three major awards. The six all-league honorees are the most-ever for Minnesota and just the second time in league history where a team landed six selections in a single season.

Matthew Knies (B1G Player of the Year, All-B1G First Team)
Knies is the second-consecutive player to earn B1G Player of the Year honors and fourth all-time for the Maroon and Gold, the most of any team in the conference. The sophomore continues to lead the NCAA with seven game-winning goals, all of which have been scored against teams ranked in the top 15 of the national polls, including three in overtime. The Phoenix, Ariz., native currently ranks sixth nationally totaling 21 goals and has scored in 19 of 35 games played, helping the team to a record of 17-2-0 when he hits the back of the net. Thanks to his unique blend of size, strength, and speed, Knies has totaled 17 points with a plus-16 rating over the last 12 games. He also earned the second All-B1G Team honor of his two-year career after landing on the second team a season ago.

Brock Faber (B1G Defensive Player of the Year, All-B1G First Team)
Faber is just the second player in league history, and second Gopher, to land B1G Defensive Player of the Year honors in back-to-back seasons, joining Mike Reilly in holding that distinction. He also matched Reilly as the only Minnesota players to be named to the All-B1G First Team multiple times in a career, while Faber also landed on the honorable mention team during his freshman campaign. The junior has a career-best 23 points from the blue line with four goals and 19 assists, while leading Minnesota to the top of the national rankings as the team’s captain. The junior from Maple Grove, Minn., has a pair of three-point performances this year and tallied the first game-winning goal of his career Feb. 24 against Ohio State. Faber’s skating ability sets him apart from the rest of the league as the always reliable defenseman is quick to shut down an opponent before helping the Gophers push the attack.

Logan Cooley (All-B1G First Team, All-B1G Freshman Team, B1G Scoring Co-Champion)
Cooley has been an offensive force for the Maroon and Gold in his first collegiate campaign and leads the team with 50 points, which ranks fourth nationally. He is the first Minnesota freshman to hit the 50-point mark since Phil Kessel had 51 during the 2005-06 season, while his 36 points in 23 B1G outings earned the title of scoring co-champion with linemate Jimmy Snuggerud. A product of Pittsburgh, Pa., he has at least one point in 28 of 34 games played this year and is currently riding a season-long, 12-game point streak, the longest active streak in the country. Cooley’s 32 assists rank second in the NCAA and he is the only B1G player this season with a five-point performance. He also has scored five game-winning goals, ranking third in the NCAA, with all five coming in the last 20 games played and the Gophers hold a perfect 14-0-0 record when he scores a goal.

Justen Close (All-B1G Second Team)
While leading the league in nearly every statistical category, Close was named to the All-B1G Second Team for his brilliant effort for Minnesota. The senior’s goals against average (1.95), wins (23) and shutouts (6) all are the best in the conference and rank in the top four nationally, while his save percentage of .929 is a mere four-thousandths behind the nation’s leader (.933) and third in the NCAA. A four-time B1G Star of the Week, the Kindersley, Saskatchewan, product owns a sub-two GAA (1.94) when facing a top-15 program and a 2.01 mark in battles against the top 10. Close was an Honorable Mention All-B1G selection a season ago and ranks seventh in program history totaling nine shutouts in 50 career starts.

Jackson LaCombe (All-B1G Second Team)
LaCombe is in rare company as the senior is the only three-time All-B1G selection from the blue line in league history after earning first team honors as a sophomore and now second team accolades in each of the last two seasons. The Eden Prairie, Minn., native is the second-highest scoring B1G defenseman, and sixth in the nation, totaling a career-best 31 points, despite missing the previous two weeks to injury. An alternate captain for the Gophers, he has put together his second-straight, 30-point season by recording a point in 22 of 32 outings, including a career-high, nine-game point streak to begin the year. LaCombe sits in a tie with Paul Martin (2000-03) for 17th in assists by a defenseman in program history with 77 in his career.

Jimmy Snuggerud (All-B1G Second Team, All-B1G Freshman Team, B1G Scoring Co-Champion)
Snuggerud stepped on campus and was an immediate threat to find the back of the net as the freshman’s 20 goals this season are tied for the second-most of any rookie in the country, while putting his name on the scoresheet in 26 of his 34 games played. The Chaska, Minn., product is the only Minnesota player to record a hat trick during the 2022-23 campaign, coming Oct. 7 against Minnesota State, and has a team-best seven goals on the power play along with three game-winning goals. Snuggerud became just the fourth Gophers’ freshman since 1999 to reach the 20-goal mark as he has eight goals in his last 11 games. He has produced 16 multi-point efforts this year, including five times during a current nine-game point streak, on the way to 48 total points, which ranks fifth in the NCAA. He closed the regular season with 36 points over 24 league outings to share the B1G scoring title with linemate Logan Cooley.

Ryan Johnson (All-B1G Honorable Mention Team, B1G Sportsmanship Award)
Johnson is one of the most versatile and consistent players along the blue line for Minnesota and earned his second honorable mention honor from the league, having been named to the team as a sophomore in 2020-21. The senior from Irvine, Calif., leads the Gophers with a career-best 57 blocked shots, the third most in the conference this year, and has 18 points behind a career-high four goals and 14 assists. He picked up the 50th assist of his four-year tenure Saturday in the B1G semifinals versus Michigan State and scored his first-ever game winner on the road at Notre Dame Jan. 14. Johnson was one of 15 nominees for the 2022-23 Hockey Humanitarian Award and was chosen as a recipient of the B1G Sportsmanship Award.

Luke Mittelstadt (All-B1G Freshman Team)
Mittelstadt is having a breakout freshman season with the Maroon and Gold on his way to the postseason honor. He has totaled two goals and 15 assists this year and ranks second among B1G freshmen defensemen in points with 17. The Eden Prairie, Minn., native scored his first collegiate goal during a three-point game at Michigan Nov. 17, the first of three multi-point performances, and was named the B1G First Star of the Week with a four-point series versus the Wolverines. Mittelstadt has produced 15 points in 22 conference contests and currently holds a plus-17 rating.

Bob Motzko (B1G Coach of the Year)
Motzko earned his third B1G Coach of the Year honor in the last four years after guiding the Maroon and Gold to the most dominant regular season in conference history. Minnesota claimed its sixth regular season title, by a 19-point margin, becoming the first team to ever win the championship by double-digit points, having won the season series against all six conference foes. The Gophers used a 10-game unbeaten streak between Nov. 11 and Jan. 20 to break away from the pack and finished with a record of 19-4-1 in conference action.

2022-23 All-Big Ten Teams / Award Winners
*As selected by Big Ten Coaches and Media Voting Panel*

B1G Player of the Year:
Matthew Knies, F, MINN

B1G Defensive Player of the Year:
Brock Faber, D, MINN

B1G Goaltender of the Year:
Ryan Bischel, ND

B1G Freshman of the Year:
Adam Fantilli, F, MICH

B1G Coach of the Year:
Bob Motzko, MINN

All-B1G First Team:
Logan Cooley, F, MINN
Adam Fantilli, F, MICH
Matthew Knies, F, MINN
Brock Faber, D, MINN
Luke Hughes, D, MICH
Ryan Bischel, G, ND

All-B1G Second Team:
Mackie Samoskevich, F, MICH
Jimmy Snuggerud, F, MINN
Jake Wise, F, OSU
Jackson LaCombe, D, MINN
Mason Lohrei, D, OSU
Justen Close, G, MINN

All-B1G Honorable Mention Team:
Gavin Brindley, F, MICH
Stephen Halliday, F, OSU
T.J. Hughes, F, MICH
Jagger Joshua, F, MSU
Connor MacEachern, F, PSU
Kevin Wall, F, PSU
Corson Ceulemans, D, WIS
Ryan Johnson, D, MINN
Nick Leivermann, D, ND
Jakub Dobeš, G, OSU
Dylan St. Cyr, G, MSU

All-B1G Freshman Team:
Logan Cooley, F, MINN
Adam Fantilli, F, MICH
Jimmy Snuggerud, F, MINN
Seamus Casey, D, MICH
Luke Mittelstadt, D, MINN

All-Big Ten Sportsmanship Awards:
Brock Caufield, WIS
Paul DeNaples, PSU
Ryan Johnson, MINN
Jay Keranen, MICH
Landon Slaggert, ND
Dylan St. Cyr, MSU
Jake Wise, OSU

(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)

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