University of Minnesota Duluth freshman defenseman Scott Perunovich (Hibbing, MN) has been named the recipient of the 2018 Tim Taylor Award, bestowed annually upon the best first-year player in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey, the Hockey Commissioners' Association announced today. He is only the second defenseman to receive this honor in the 12-year history of the award. The award is voted on by the nation's assistant coaches and is named for the former Yale University and U.S. Olympic Team head coach.
Perunovich was 11-25-36 through 40 games for the Bulldogs, putting him fourth in NCAA freshman scoring and the only non-forward in the top eight. He is also eighth in scoring among all defensemen nationally.
A strong two-way player, Perunovich is a major reason that Minnesota Duluth advanced to this year's NCAA Frozen Four in St. Paul, MN. "We certainly knew he had the offensive ability and I'm not surprised that he is where he is," said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. "He does surprise me with some of the plays he makes game in and game out. The big thing is defensively he's been really good. Overall, it's probably a little more than we expected as far as the kind of year, but I'm not surprised he's done what he's done."
"He's a special player. He's got great vision on the rink. He's got the ability to create space when space isn't there. He's elusive. There are a lot of good instincts, good offensive instincts. I think the year in (juniors) helped him defensively. He learned how to use his stick better. He's not a big guy, so he's not going to get into a lot of the heavy, physical battles. He's got to be smarter and he certainly has that."
The runner-up for the 2018 National Rookie of the Year Award was Minnesota State forward Jake Jaremko (Nowthen, MN).
Tim Taylor, for whom the award is named, spent 28 seasons at Yale and became the school's winningest head coach as he collected 337 victories. His tenure spanned from 1976-2006, while taking two years on leave to coach the U.S. Men's Olympic Ice Hockey Team as an assistant coach in 1984 and as the head coach in 1994. Taylor was captain of the Harvard University men's ice hockey team before he graduated in 1963. He began his coaching career at his alma mater, serving as an assistant coach on the Crimson staff under Ralph "Cooney" Weiland and Bill Cleary before beginning his time with the Bulldogs in New Haven, Connecticut.
The Hockey Commissioners Association sponsors this award which results from a ballot containing each NCAA Division I ice hockey conference's Rookie of the Year.
Recipients of the Tim Taylor
National Rookie of the Year Award
2007 - Andreas Nodl, F, St. Cloud State University
2008 - Richard Bachman, G, Colorado College
2009 - Kieran Millan, G, Boston University
2010 - Stephane DaCosta, F, Merrimack College
2011 - T.J. Tynan, F, Notre Dame University
2012 - Joey LaLeggia, D, University of Denver
2013 - Jon Gillies, G, Providence College
2014 - Sam Anas, F, Quinnipiac University
2015 - Jack Eichel, F, Boston University
2016 - Kyle Connor, F, University of Michigan
2017 - Clayton Keller, F, Boston University
2018 - Scott Perunovich, D, Minnesota Duluth