DENVER – The University of Denver led all conference schools by having four players named to the 2022-23 NCHC All-Conference Preseason Team on Tuesday.
Denver swept the backend with defensemen Sean Behrens and Mike Benning joining goaltender Magnus Chrona on the squad, while sophomore Carter Mazur was among the trio of forwards. North Dakota’s Riese Gaber and St. Cloud State’s Jami Krannila were also named to the team.
Mazur was nearly a unanimous choice, earning 22-of-23 votes, while Chrona picked up 21 votes. Benning led all defensemen with 18 votes, and Behrens was chosen eight times.
The Pioneers’ four selection to the preseason all-conference team are the most by a team since Minnesota Duluth also had four players prior to the 2019-20 campaign
Behrens was named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team last year as he tied for second on the team and led all defenseman with 26 assists. His 29 points (3g/26a) ranked fourth among freshmen blueliners in scoring, and he led all Pioneers with 45 blocked shots. In conference play, Behrens racked 18 points and 16 assists (2g/16a) in 20 NCHC games, both tops among rookie rear guards.
Benning was a Second-Team All-NCHC pick in 2021-22 when he tied for second among blueliners with 21 points and tied for first with eight goals in conference play. The St. Albert, Alberta, native led all NCHC defensemen with both 38 total points and 15 goals a season ago. The now junior led the Pioneers in both plus/minus rating (+32) and shooting percentage (18.3) and scored the game-winning goal in the national championship game to help him earn 2022 Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player honors.
Chrona garnered Honorable Mention All-NCHC accolades a season ago while backstopping DU to a share of the Penrose Cup and the national championship. The Stockholm, Sweden, native was named to the Frozen Four All-Tournament Team along with Benning. He posted a 28-8-1 record, 2.11 goals-against average (second in the NCHC) and a .911 save percentage while starting 37-of-41 games. His six shutouts ranked second in the NCHC and were the third-most in a campaign in program history.
Mazur earned the NCHC Rookie of the Year honors a season ago and was a unanimous selection to the NCHC All-Rookie Team, while helping the Pioneers win the national championship. The Jackson, Michigan, native tallied 38 points (14g/24a) in 41 games as a freshman, tying for eighth in the conference and the second-most by a first-year player in the country.
Media voted for the preseason all-conference team, with three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender on each ballot and each vote worth one point. The top three vote-getters at forward, top two defensemen and highest vote-getting goaltender made up the preseason all-conference team. A total of 23 ballots were submitted by media members covering each team and the conference.
UP NEXT: The Pioneers begin competition with an exhibition against Nevada Las Vegas on Saturday, Oct. 1 at Magness Arena before opening the regular season by co-hosting the Ice Breaker Tournament versus Notre Dame and Maine on Oct. 7-8.
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