The highest-scoring scholastic player in Minnesota for 2011-12, Lakeville South's Justin Kloos
, was named the 2012 Mr. Hockey Award recipient during a ceremony Sunday at the RiverCentre in St. Paul, Minn.
According to the website mnhockeyhub.com, Kloos finished with the 10th-highest point total in state history, with 103 points on 41 goals and 62 assists, in just 31 games for the Cougars (21-9). The 5-foot-9, 177-pound Kloos, who notched a point in all but one game for Lakeville South this season, is committed to the University of Minnesota next fall.
Following the announcement, Kloos called winning Mr. Hockey "a remarkable honor."
Kloos is not ranked on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top 210 North American skaters eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft, to be held June 22-23, at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Bitzer named state's top goaltender
Moorhead High School goalie Michael Bitzer
, who one day would like to be compared to his favorite NHL player, Carey Price
, on Sunday was named the 2012 Frank Brimsek
Award winner as the best senior at his position during the 28th Mr. Hockey Award ceremony in St. Paul, Minn.
The 5-foot-10.5, 205-pounder finished 22-8-0 this season with a 1.80 goals-against average, .933 save percentage and six shutouts in 30 games for Moorhead (22-7-0).
He was outstanding during the Minnesota State Class 2A tournament, but suffered a 2-1 overtime loss to the Hill-Murray Pioneers in the semifinals March 9 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. He stopped 25 shots before allowing two late goals.
His team would suffer a 2-1 loss to Lakeville South on Sunday in the tournament's third-place game, finishing with 20 saves. Despite the loss, he was named the winner of the Herb Brooks Award, given annually to the most qualified player in the state tournament who represents the values, characteristics and traits that defined the legendary coach and Minnesota hockey icon.
Kyle Koop (Maple Grove High School) was the other finalist for Brimsek Award.
Last year's winner was Alex Lyon
of Lake of the Woods.
-- Mike G. Morreale
As a junior last season, the native of Northfield, Minn., had 45 goals and 45 assists. He finished his career with 238 points, which ranks 19th on the state's all-time scoring list. Described as a skilled forward, Kloos' favorite NHL player is Colorado Avalanche
forward Matt Duchene
. Some scouts have compared his style and skill set to Philadelphia Flyers
forward Danny Briere
The Mr. Hockey Award is given to the outstanding senior high school hockey player in the state of Minnesota and is selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts, NCAA Division I coaches and selected media members from around the state.
Interestingly, five of the last seven Mr. Hockey Award winners were taken in the first round of their respective drafts (Nick Bjugstad
, 2010; Nick Leddy
, 2009; Ryan McDonagh
, 2007; David Fischer
, 2006; Brian Lee
, 2005). Aaron Ness
, a defenseman from Roseau High School, was chosen in the second round (No. 40) by the New York Islanders
after earning Mr. Hockey as a senior in 2008; Kyle Rau
of Eden Prairie was honored last year before being drafted in the third round (No. 91) by the Florida Panthers
Kloos closed his career with a goal and an assist in a 2-1 victory against Moorhead High School in the state Class 2A third-place contest at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., on March 10. He also had a goal and an assist in his unseeded team's 3-2 upset of top-seeded Duluth East in the quarterfinal round March 7.
The top 10 finalists for the Mr. Hockey Award were Will Merchant
of Eagan, Grant Opperman
of Breck, Judd Peterson of Duluth Marshall, Jake Randolph of Duluth East, Charlie Sampair
of Hill-Murray, Eric Schurhamer of St. Thomas Academy, Jared Thomas
of Hermantown, Dom Toninato of Duluth East, Michael Zajac of Eagan and Kloos.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale