Jimmy Snuggerud was named to the Big Ten Conference’s First Team while teammate Ryan Chesley was named to the second team along with Sam Rinzel and Rhett Pitlick. PHOTO BY BRAD REMPEL/GOPHERSPORTS.COM

Rinzel, Chesley and Pitlick earn second-team honors

The University of Minnesota men’s hockey team had 10 players recognized by the Big Ten Conference Tuesday when the league office announced its 2023-24 postseason awards. Jimmy Snuggerud headlined the group as an All-B1G First Team selection, while Ryan Chesley, Rhett Pitlick, and Sam Rinzel were All-B1G Second Team honorees. The Golden Gophers also had four named All-B1G Honorable Mention in Bryce Brodzinski, Justen Close, Luke Mittelstadt, and Jaxon Nelson. Rinzel was joined by fellow rookie Oliver Moore as B1G All-Freshman team picks and Carl Fish was given the B1G Sportsmanship Award.

Jimmy Snuggerud (All-B1G First Team)
Snuggerud currently sits second in the conference and 13th nationally, totaling 21 goals, the same number he finished with a year ago when he was a second-team selection. The sophomore was a two-time B1G First Star of the Week for the Gophers and leads the team behind six game-winning goals, ranking fourth in the nation, including overtime winners against St. Thomas and Notre Dame. He posted a career-best four points during a home win over Colorado College, aided by the second hat trick of his career, which was one of his five multi-goal performances this season. Snuggerud joined elite company as only he and Thomas Vanek have hit the 20-goal mark in each of their first two collegiate seasons at Minnesota over the last 25 years.

Ryan Chesley (All-B1G Second Team)
Chesley has put together another imposing campaign from the Gophers’ blue line and been a shut-down defenseman all season. The sophomore is tied for ninth in the NCAA behind a league-leading 74 blocked shots with a career-high six coming in a road win at Ohio State. He has two of his eight points over the previous six outings, while his two goals this year came during a three-game stretch in late November. The first goal of the season for Chesley proved to be the game winner against Notre Dame, the second game-winning goal of his career.

Rhett Pitlick (All-B1G Second Team)
Pitlick posted 24 of his team-leading 35 points during conference play to finish fourth in the league’s scoring race. He caught fire in the middle of the year, holding the NCAA’s longest goal streak when he scored in seven-straight games from Nov. 17 to Dec. 8, while he also recorded 14 goals in a 14-game span. The junior was selected as the B1G Second Star of the Week three times for Minnesota and tallied his first collegiate hat trick to go with an assist as part of a career-best, four-point night versus Ohio State. Pitlick’s 11 multi-point performances paced the Maroon and Gold and he registered the first shorthanded goal and game-winning goal of his career, both of which came against Penn State.

Rhett Pitlick is one of three Gophers to earn second-team honors. PHOTO BY BRAD REMPEL/GOPHERSPORTS.CO

Sam Rinzel (All-B1G Second Team, B1G All-Freshman Team)
In just his first season of college hockey, Rinzel leads Minnesota in assists with 25, ranking second nationally in assists by a freshman defenseman, and also tops the team behind a plus-22 rating. The Gophers are unbeaten in the 17 games in which he recorded a point (15-0-2), as he has two goals and seven multi-assist performances this year. Rinzel totaled 12 assists and a plus-10 rating during a season-long, five-game point streak in January, including three, three-assist efforts in a four-game span. The newcomer landed the first B1G weekly award of his career when he was named the B1G Third Star of the Week amid that stretch.

Bryce Brodzinski (All-B1G Honorable Mention Team)
Brodzinski has constructed an exciting year in his fifth and final season at Minnesota as he has 19 assists and 32 points to set career highs in each category. Thanks to a five-point weekend, including tying a career best of four points in the series finale against Michigan State, he was named the B1G First Star of the Week. Despite being on his longest goal drought since the start of his freshman season, Brodzinski has six points in his last 10 outings, including a career-best three assists against Michigan. He recently set a record for games played in program history as he skated in his 183rd outing with the Maroon and Gold last weekend.

Justen Close (All-B1G Honorable Mention Team)
Close proved again that he is one of the best goaltenders in the nation as a Mike Richter Award semifinalist, ranking fourth in the NCAA with four shutouts and sixth behind a .923 save percentage. A three-time B1G First Star of the Week this year, the graduate student is second in the conference with a 2.33 goals-against average and twice posted consecutive shutouts during the regular season. He made a career-high 46 saves to secure Minnesota’s sweep of Penn State in the B1G quarterfinals Mar. 9. He also recorded 13 outings with at least 30 saves during the campaign, including three games of more than 40. Close also picked up four assists to lead all college goalies in 2023-24.

Luke Mittelstadt (All-B1G Honorable Mention Team)
Mittelstadt has been playing his best hockey down the stretch for the Maroon and Gold and that increased confidence is also showing up on the scoresheet. The sophomore scored a goal in back-to-back games for the first time in his career to open the month of March that started his current five-game point streak, tying the longest of his young tenure. He has a knack for postseason scoring, registering seven points in nine career playoff contests, including a point in all three games this year. Mittelstadt also ranks second among Minnesota defensemen with 19 points and is third on the team totaling 49 blocked shots.

Jaxon Nelson (All-B1G Honorable Mention Team)
Nelson was critical to the Gophers’ second-half surge with at least one point in five of the past six outings, totaling 10 points in that span, and has a career-high 28 points in 2023-24. The graduate student tallied 11 of his career-best 16 goals over the last 17 games, including his first collegiate hat trick against Michigan. That was part of a six-point series, which earned him B1G First Star of the Week honors, the first weekly award of his five-year career. Nelson has won a team-best 370 total faceoffs, which ranks 24th in the NCAA, and blocked eight shots during a B1G quarterfinal win over Penn State, the third-most blocks by a college player in a game this season.

Oliver Moore (B1G All-Freshman Team)
Moore has 33 points in his first season of collegiate hockey, ranking third overall for Minnesota and 14th in the NCAA for freshman scoring. The rookie paces the team’s forwards with 24 assists and posted 15 points during a career-long, eight-game point streak from Jan. 8 to Feb. 2, the longest streak from a Gopher all year. He posted consecutive four-point weekends in January and was rewarded as the B1G Second Star of the Week following the first multi-goal effort of his career at Michigan State. Moore scored his first two career power-play goals during a home win over Michigan, which gave him nine multi-point performances this season, the second-most of any Gopher.

Carl Fish (B1G Sportsmanship Award)

Fish has been an integral part of the Minnesota blue line, providing a veteran presence to a young corps of defensemen. The senior has three points this season and recorded his first multi-point game since Feb. 4, 2022, with a pair of assists in a B1G quarterfinal matchup against Penn State. He also led the Gophers with a plus-4 rating in that postseason game and holds a plus-10 rating overall. With him in the lineup across his career, Minnesota holds a 52-20-4 record in 76 career appearances.

2023-24 BIG TEN HOCKEY POSTSEASON AWARDS

PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Gavin Brindley, So., F, Michigan

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Artyom Levshunov, Fr., D, Michigan State

GOALTENDER OF THE YEAR:
Kyle McClellan, Sr., G, Wisconsin

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR:
Artyom Levshunov, Fr., D, Michigan State

COACH OF THE YEAR:
Adam Nightingale +, Michigan State

SCORING CHAMPION:
Gavin Brindley, So., F, Michigan (29 points)

ALL-BIG TEN FIRST TEAM

Name

School

Yr.

Position

Hometown

Gavin Brindley

Michigan

So.

Forward

Estero, Fla.

Rutger McGroarty

Michigan

So.

Forward

Lincoln, Neb.

Jimmy Snuggerud

Minnesota

So.

Forward

Chaska, Minn.

Seamus Casey

Michigan

So.

Defenseman

Fort Myers, Fla.

Artyom Levshunov

Michigan State

Fr.

Defenseman

Zhlobin, Belarus

Kyle McClellan

Wisconsin

Sr.

Goaltender

Manchester, Mo.

ALL-BIG TEN SECOND TEAM*

Name

School

Yr.

Position

Hometown

Dylan Duke

Michigan

Jr.

Forward

Strongsville, Ohio

Rhett Pitlick

Minnesota

Jr.

Forward

Plymouth, Minn.

Landon Slaggert

Notre Dame

Sr.

Forward

South Bend, Ind.

Ryan Chesley

Minnesota

So.

Defenseman

Mahtomedi, Minn.

Sam Rinzel

Minnesota

Fr.

Defenseman

Chanhassen, Minn.

Scooter Brickey

Ohio State

5th

Defenseman

Burtchville, Mich.

Trey Augustine

Michigan State

Fr.

Goaltender

South Lyon, Mich.

 

ALL-BIG TEN HONORABLE MENTION

Name

School

Yr.

Position

Hometown

T.J. Hughes

Michigan

So.

Forward

Hamilton, Ontario

Frank Nazar III

Michigan

So.

Forward

Mount Clemens, Mich.

Karsen Dorwart

Michigan State

So.

Forward

Sherwood, Oregon

Isaac Howard

Michigan State

So.

Forward

Hudson, Wis.

Joey Larson

Michigan State

So.

Forward

Brighton, Mich.

Bryce Brodzinski

Minnesota

Gr.

Forward

Blaine, Minn.

Jaxon Nelson

Minnesota

Gr.

Forward

Magnolia, Minn.

Stephen Halliday

Ohio State

So.

Forward

Glenwood, Md.

Aiden Fink

Penn State

Fr.

Forward

Calgary, Alberta

Cruz Lucius

Wisconsin

So.

Forward

Grant, Minn.

David Silye

Wisconsin

Sr.

Forward

Arnprior, Ontario

Luke Mittelstadt

Minnesota

So.

Defenseman

Eden Prairie, Minn.

Ryan Siedem

Notre Dame

Gr.

Defenseman

Madison, N.J.

Ben Dexheimer

Wisconsin

So.

Defenseman

Edina, Minn.

Justen Close

Minnesota

Gr.

Goaltender

Kindersley, Saskatchewan

Ryan Bischel

Notre Dame

Gr.

Goaltender

Medina, Minn.

BIG TEN ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM

Name

School

Yr.

Position

Hometown

Garrett Schifsky

Michigan

Fr.

Forward

Andover, Minn.

Oliver Moore

Minnesota

Fr.

Forward

Mounds View, Minn.

Aiden Fink +

Penn State

Fr.

Forward

Calgary, Alberta

Artyom Levushnov

Michigan State

Fr.

Defenseman

Zhlobin, Belarus

Sam Rinzel

Minnesota

Fr.

Defenseman

Chanhassen, Minn.

Trey Augustine +

Michigan State

Fr.

Goaltender

South Lyon, Mich.

BIG TEN SPORTSMANSHIP AWARDS

Name

School

Yr.

Position

Hometown

Jacob Truscott

Michigan

Sr.

Defenseman

Port Huron, Mich.

Nicolas Müller

Michigan State

5th

Forward

Arisdorf, Switzerland

Carl Fish

Minnesota

Sr.

Defenseman

St. Paul, Minn.

Hunter Strand

Notre Dame

Jr.

Forward

Anchorage, Alaska

Damien Carfagna

Ohio State

So.

Defenseman

Wood-Ridge, N.J.

Simon Mack

Penn State

Jr.

Defenseman

Brockville, Ontario

Owen Lindmark

Wisconsin

Gr.

Forward

Naperville, Ill.

* Team includes a seventh player due to a tie in voting
+ unanimous selections