By Paul Rovnak for University of Minnesota
|Panthers prospect Nick Bjugstad skates in a game for the University of Minnesota this season (Credit: University of Minnesota).
Forward Nick Bjugstad
, who led the nation with nine goals and also totaled 13 scoring points, is the Hockey Commissioners' Association National Division I Player of the Month for November.
A 6-5, 211-pound sophomore from Blaine, Minn., Bjugstad had a point in seven of Minnesota's eight games and a goal in six of the eight. His nine goals and four assists also came in games that featured only WCHA opponents or nationally-ranked teams (vs North Dakota, vs Wisconsin, vs St. Cloud State and vs Michigan State). In five road games, Bjugstad scored four goals and set up three others for seven points while in three home contests he had five goals - including two game-winners - and one assist for six points. He also netted the first hat trick of his collegiate career against St. Cloud State on Nov. 18 and got Minnesota on the board first in back-to-back victories against North Dakota.
A 2010 first round pick (19th overall) of the NHL's Florida Panthers, Bjugstad also earned a +3 plus/minus rating during the month and scored on nine of his 26 shots on goal (34.6%). He is the first Golden Gopher to score nine goals in a month since Ryan Potulny scored nine in March of 2006.
Through 16 games this season, Bjugstad is tied for first in scoring among all Div. 1 players with 25 points (15g, 10a), currently sharing the top spot with Wisconsin's Justin Schultz and Mark Zengerle.
Bjugstad and the Gophers host in-state rival Minnesota State this weekend at Mariucci Arena. Bjugstad joins teammates Kent Patterson and Kyle Rau
as being recognized nationally by the Hockey Commissioners' Association this year. Patterson was the national player of the month for October, while Rau was the national rookie of the month for October.