Mar 14, 2013 at 4:30 pm
MADISON, Wis. (WCHA) – St. Cloud State University forward Drew LeBlanc, and defenseman Nick Jensen, two of the driving forces behind the Huskies' success in earning a share of the program's first-ever conference regular season championship and MacNaughton Cup, have been honored as both the WCHA Player of the Year and WCHA Defenseman of the Year.
A senior from Hermantown, Minn., LeBlanc becomes the first league player to be named both WCHA Player of the Year and Outstanding Student Athlete of the Year. He is also a member of the All-WCHA First Team.
The offensive catalyst behind the Huskies' drive to first place in the 2012-13 WCHA regular season standings, LeBlanc led the league with 25 assists and also had 10 goals for 35 points in conference play while charting 10 multiple-point games in WCHA action. Overall, he leads all Division 1 players this winter with 34 assists and ranks fourth in the nation with 46 points scored. A four- time recipient of the WCHA Scholar-Athlete Award and a four-time All-WCHA Academic Team honoree, LeBlanc has served as a team captain for the past two seasons at SCSU. He has helped the Huskies post a league-leading 3.36 goals per game in conference action and overall, SCSU ranks fourth in the nation with 119 goals scored.
A math education major, LeBlanc is currently completing his student teaching at nearby St. Cloud Apollo High School. He carries a cumulative grade-point average of 3.64, was a CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree in both 2010 and 2011, and has participated in numerous community service activities during his collegiate years, including programs such as Skate With the Huskies and Husky Haulers, helping first-year students move into their dormitories. Over his four-year St. Cloud State career, LeBlanc owns the program record for games played at 165, ranks sixth in career points with 143 and is third with 102 assists.
The WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year Award is determined from nominations made by the member institutions and each institution then has one final vote. The criteria is as follows: 1) must be a senior student-athlete, i.e. one who is finishing his competition as an eligible player in the WCHA; 2) consistently displays outstanding sportsmanship on and off the ice; 3) is a good student making satisfactory progress toward a degree; and 4) is a good hockey player who has performed consistently as a regular member of the team.
Along with LeBlanc, Husky defenseman Jensen was named the WCHA Defensive Player of the year by the league's 12 head coaches. A junior from Rogers, Minn., and an All-WCHA First Team choice, Jensen has been a leader on the Huskies' blueline throughout the 2012-13 campaign.
In WCHA play this winter, he has scored four goals and added 19 assists along with a substantial +15 rating on the plus/minus. A leader in minutes played on defense for the Huskies, Jensen consistently faces the opposition's top lines and has helped SCSU's defense limit league opponents to just 2.36 goals per game. Among WCHA defenders, Jensen led the league with 19 assists and was second with 23 points. He has also posted 27 blocked shots in league play this season. In overall games played, Jensen ranks eighth among Division 1 defensemen with 28 points and second with 24 assists this season. He is +17 on the plus/minus for all games and has 36 blocked shots A two-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete and All-WCHA Academic Team selection, Jensen was named to the All-WCHA Second Team in 2011-12. An ironman for the Huskies, Jensen has started in 113 consecutive games and has notched 15 goals and 68 assists during his first three seasons in St. Cloud.
The league's other major individual awards for 2012-13 went to Minnesota State University goaltender Stephon Williams as WCHA Rookie of the Year, University of Nebraska Omaha forward Ryan Walters as WCHA Scoring Champion, Williams as WCHA Goaltending Champion, and Minnesota State University first-year mentor Mike Hastings as WCHA Coach of the Year.
The Huskies enter the WCHA playoffs ranked eighth in the latest Division 1 national polls and own a 21-14-1 overall and 18-9-1 league record. Catch their opening round action against Alaska Anchorage Friday night on your home for Husky Hockey, AM 1450, FM 103.3 KNSI.
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