Kristofer Mayotte’s goal as Colorado College’s coach is to recruit high-impact players and make them even more impactful when they arrive at CC.
If the 2022-23 NCHC honors are any indication, the Tigers are on the right track.
On Tuesday, the conference unveiled its All-Rookie team, which featured goaltender Kaidan Mbereko. Mbereko also earned a spot on the All-NCHC Second Team, unveiled Wednesday, while junior forward Hunter McKown earned an All-NCHC Honorable Mention.
“They’ve worked hard to be impact players,” Mayotte said. “This is a league filled with impact players — it’s what makes it so good. To see them be recognized as impact players is great for them.”
An Aspen native, Mbereko has thrived in his first year of college hockey.
The freshman is second in the NCHC with a .930 save percentage and has recorded three shutouts. Mbereko won NCHC Goaltender of the Month honors in both December and January.
Mbereko, who received 25 overall votes and six first-place votes, finished just one vote behind Denver’s Magnus Chrona for the first-team honor (26 overall, eight first-place). Coaches are not allowed to vote for players on their teams.
“He’s been very impactful right away,” Mayotte said. “Establishing himself as one of the top players in the league is a credit to Kaidan’s tremendous work ethic and ability.”
In his third year at CC, McKown has been the Tigers’ top offensive player.
He is tied for the nation’s lead in power-play goals with 12. McKown has scored 19 total goals, which is tied for 12th in the NCAA.
McKown has been a prominent player in each of his three seasons at CC, but his unwavering work ethic has allowed him to have his best season this year.
“You’ve seen his progress and how he’s grown and how he’s developed,” Mayotte said. “He has put a tremendous amount of work into his game, and it has allowed him to become an impact player in our league.”
While Mbereko and McKown have much to celebrate, they aren’t focused on their individual accomplishments yet — the season isn’t over.
Colorado College opens the postseason with the NCHC quarterfinals, starting Friday. The Tigers, the league’s No. 7 seed, battle No. 2 seed Western Michigan in a best-of-three series in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Puck drop of game one is scheduled for 5 p.m.