Record: 30-9-2 (19-7-2 WCHA, tied for first)
for someone to earn national coach of the year honors the
season after his team won its first NCAA title
in 35 years, he must've had a heckuva year.
Gwozdecky's Denver Pioneers make the return trip to the
Frozen Four this season with hopes of successfully defending
their throne. Repeating as champion is a difficult proposition.
Heck, making consecutive Frozen Four appearances is a notable
achievement. That Gwozdecky has DU on the cusp of second
straight national title after literally retooling his approach
to the game is remarkable.
year's Pioneers relied on strong goaltending from Adam Berkhoel,
terrific team defense, the ability to wear down opponents
physically and balanced scoring. With a number of key components
from a year ago gone, Gwozdecky tinkered. He loosened the
reins on dynamos such as forward Gabe Gauthier and defenseman
Matt Carle. Rather than relying on one netminder, he rotated
the green duo of Glenn Fisher and Peter Mannino. But he
kept some core principles in place – spreading the
scoring wealth (nine DU skaters have more than 20 points)
and the commitments to team defense and finishing checks.
starting the season 5-5-0, the Pioneers have gone 25-4-2,
won a share of the WCHA regular season title and captured
the league's playoff championship and now sit two wins from
claiming the school's seventh NCAA hockey crown. Regardless
of the year, it's been a job well done.
Runner-up: Ted Donato, Harvard