University of North Dakota center Rhett Gardner has been named the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s defensive forward of the year.
The award was presented to Gardner at the league’s awards celebration in St. Paul, Minnesota on Thursday night.
The junior from Moose Jaw has seven goals and 13 points in 31 games this season and has won a career-best 57.9 percent of his faceoffs to rank sixth in the NCHC.
He also ranks third in faceoff wins (421) despite having missed six games due to injury. He is also a mainstay on a North Dakota penalty-killing unit that enters the NCHC Frozen Faceoff ranked third in the conference.
A fourth-round draft pick of the Dallas Stars in 2016, Gardner had five goals and 13 assist in 18 conference games and finished third in faceoff wins (253) and fifth in faceoff percentage (.578) despite the six games missed.