Jackson Blake named NCHC rookie of the year
Blake joins Brock Boeser and Shane Pinto as UND's winners of the award. Ethan Frisch was named the NCHC's scholar-athlete of the year.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Jackson Blake scored a goal in his first period of college hockey.
He didn't slow down much after that.
Blake put together one of the best rookie seasons of any UND player in the last two decades and was recognized for it Thursday night at the St. Paul Events Center.
Blake was named the National Collegiate Hockey Conference rookie of the year. He won the award over Western Michigan forward Ryan McAllister and Colorado College goaltender Kaidan Mbereko.
Blake is the third UND player to win it in the 10-year history of the NCHC.
Brock Boeser won it in 2016 and Shane Pinto in 2020.
"It's super special," Blake said. "Obviously, those guys had great careers here at North Dakota and then went on to great careers in the NHL. Obviously, it's a super special award. I couldn't have done it without the coaching staff and the players on the team. It was a super cool moment."
Blake enters the NCHC Frozen Faceoff as UND's leading scorer with 16 goals and 41 points in 38 games.
Blake is just the fifth UND player to hit the 40-point mark as a freshman since Ralph Engelstad Arena opened in 2001. The other four all went on to play in the NHL — Zach Parise (61), Boeser (60), Brady Murray (46) and T.J. Oshie (45).
"He's very competitive," UND coach Brad Berry said. "He's a guy who wants to be on the ice all the time. He wants to be a difference-maker in the game. You love to have players like that. As a freshman, that's always tough. You're playing in the bright lights in front of 12,000 people every night. There's added pressure that goes into that. He doesn't feel that. He feels like he wants to have the puck on his tape and you love to have players that want to make an impact each and every night."
In league games, Blake finished second in scoring, two points behind Denver's Massimo Rizzo. Blake was first among freshmen, five points ahead of McAllister.
Blake came to UND with plenty of accolades.
As a high school junior, he led Eden Prairie to the Minnesota Class AA state championship, then joined the Chicago Steel and helped them to a United States Hockey League Clark Cup.
As a senior, he played entirely in the USHL, racking up 77 points in 61 games. That gave him the idea he had a chance to be the NCHC's rookie of the year.
"I think it was definitely in the back of my head," Blake said. "Everyone wants to win rookie of the year if you have the opportunity. As soon as I saw that was a possibility, I thought, 'Why not go for it?' Obviously, it happened tonight.
"But most important, we have two games (this weekend). Hopefully, we can win these two and get to the national tournament."
Frisch wins scholar-athlete of the year
UND had one other major award winner Thursday.
Senior alternate captain Ethan Frisch was named the NCHC's scholar-athlete of the year.
Frisch, the 2022 NCHC defensive defenseman of the year, won scholar-athlete over Western Michigan's Jason Polin and Omaha's Kirby Proctor.
After being presented with the honor, Frisch was asked, as a marketing major, what the slogan would be for this year's UND hockey team.
"Finish strong, baby," he said.
Frisch is UND's second winner of scholar-athlete of the year. The other was defenseman Nick Mattson in 2014-15.
UND takes on St. Cloud State in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Xcel Energy Center.
NCHC rookie of the year winners
2013-14 — Jaccob Slavin, Colorado College
2014-15 — Danton Heinen, Denver
2015-16 — Brock Boeser, North Dakota
2016-17 — Henrik Borgstrom, Denver
2017-18 — Scott Perunovich, Minnesota Duluth
2018-19 — Taylor Ward, Omaha
2019-20 — Shane Pinto, North Dakota
2020-21 — Veeti Miettinen, St. Cloud State
2021-22 — Carter Mazur, Denver
2022-23 — Jackson Blake, North Dakota
2023 NCHC major award winners
Player of the year — Jason Polin, Western Michigan
Rookie of the year — Jackson Blake, North Dakota
Herb Brooks Coach of the Year — Pat Ferschweiler, Western Michigan
Forward of the year — Jason Polin, Western Michigan
Defensive forward of the year — Jami Krannila, St. Cloud State
Offensive defenseman of the year — Mike Benning, Denver
Defensive defenseman of the year — Justin Lee, Denver
Goaltender of the year — Magnus Chrona, Denver
Scholar-athlete of the year — Ethan Frisch, North Dakota
Sportsmanship award — Spencer Meier, St. Cloud State
Most points by a UND freshman since 2000
61 — Zach Parise, 2002-03
60 — Brock Boeser, 2015-16
46 — Brady Murray, 2003-04
45 — T.J. Oshie, 2005-06
41* — Jackson Blake, 2022-23
39 — Jonathan Toews, 2005-06
39 — Travis Zajac, 2004-05
37 — Rastislav Spirko, 2004-05
36 — Ryan Duncan, 2005-06
36 — Danny Kristo, 2009-10
35 — Tyson Jost, 2016-17
*Heading into NCHC Frozen Faceoff