DENVER -- Colton Poolman's offensive point totals aren't as high as they were a season ago.

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference coaches think his impact has been even greater, though.

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The league's coaches voted Poolman, a UND junior defenseman and the team's captain, one of three finalists for NCHC player of the year award Thursday. The others are St. Cloud State defenseman Jimmy Schuldt and Minnesota Duluth goaltender Hunter Shepard. The award will be handed out at the NCHC's annual awards banquet next week in St. Paul.

Poolman has five goals and 17 points in 33 games for the Fighting Hawks, while registering a plus-9 rating. The East Grand Forks Senior High graduate is generally handed the assignment of slowing down the opponent's top players.

Poolman also is a finalist for the NCHC's defensive defenseman of the year award.

UND has one other major award finalist.

Senior Rhett Gardner is a finalist for the NCHC's defensive forward of the year -- an award he won last season as a junior. The other finalists are St. Cloud State sophomore Blake Lizotte, Miami senior Josh Melnick and Minnesota Duluth sophomore Justin Richards.

Gardner, UND's top shutdown centerman, leads the nation with 522 faceoff wins and has been one of UND's top penalty killers.

NCHC MAJOR AWARD FINALISTS

Player of the Year

Colton Poolman, Jr., D, UND

Jimmy Schuldt, Sr., D, SCSU

Hunter Shepard, Jr., G, UMD

Herb Brooks Coach of the Year

Brett Larson, SCSU

Andy Murray, WMU

Scott Sandelin, UMD

Senior Scholar-Athlete Award

Mason Bergh, F, CC

Fredrik Olofsson, F, Omaha

Jimmy Schuldt, D, SCSU

Rookie of the Year

Noah Cates, F, UMD

Taylor Ward, F, Omaha

Goaltender of the Year

Dávid Hrenák, So., SCSU

Filip Larsson, Fr., Denver

Alex Leclerc, Jr., CC

Hunter Shepard, Jr., UMD

Forward of the Year

Jarid Lukosevicius, Sr., Denver

Mason Morelli, Sr., Omaha

Patrick Newell, Sr., SCSU

Defensive Defenseman of the Year

Mikey Anderson, So., UMD

Colton Poolman, Jr., UND

Jimmy Schuldt, Sr., SCSU

Offensive Defenseman of the Year

Jack Ahcan, Jr., SCSU

Scott Perunovich, So., UMD

Jimmy Schuldt, Sr., SCSU

Defensive Forward of the Year

Rhett Gardner, Sr., UND

Blake Lizotte, So., SCSU

Josh Melnick, Sr., Miami

Justin Richards, So., UMD

NCHC Three Stars Award

Trevor Gorsuch, Sr., G, WMU

Alex Leclerc, Jr., G, CC

Hunter Shepard, Jr., G, UMD