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As good as it gets

By Pete Waggoner, 04/10/11, 10:00PM CDT


UMD's J. T. Brown captures most oustanding player award at Frozen Four

UM-Duluth's J.T. Brown (23) dekes around a few Michigan players during the championship game. Photo by Jordan Doffing

St. Paul, MN - Rosemount's J.T. Brown took advantage of an opportunity afforded him by head coach Scott Sandelin and the University of Minnesota Duluth Hockey team.  After opening his freshman season as the WCHA player of the month this past October, Brown went to work for the 2010-2011 season and earned the Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four Tournament. 

J.T. Brown with the championship trophy in the locker room. Photo by Jordan Doffing

In an interview conducted at the start of the season with the MNHockeyHub.com, Brown was not expecting to step in right away.  "I definitely wasn't expecting to step in and do that right away," Brown said. "That was one of my goals to come into the team and actually produce and help the team win instead of just sitting back.  I wanted to actually come in, and help contribute to the team which has been going pretty well right now."

Produce he did as he finished the season with 16 goals and 21 assists for 37 points and closed it out with authority picking up points in 14 of his final 18 games. He experienced an eight-game pointless streak midway through the season and collected 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points during that 18 game point surge.

He carried that through to the NCAA Tournament where he picked up a goal and two assists over the two-game playoff. It was more than the points that Brown offered up for his efforts, it was his skating, and ability to open up the ice. The defense of the Wolverines particularly had a hard time dealing with Brown's ability to gain space and take the puck to the net.

"It's kind of hard not to get up and play 100 percent when you have 19,000 people," Brown said. "So I just felt the crowd and played off the crowd and the crowd was great today."

While at Rosemount High School, Brown was on a team that had an opportunity to make a trip to the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament. The Irish fell short his senior season, but he took the lessons he learned from high school and applied them at his stop at UMD.  

UM-Duluth's J.T. Brown (23) brings the puck up the ice. Photo by Jordan Doffing

"I haven't won anything in my career yet," Brown said during his early November interview. "Getting a good chance to win and contribute would be one of the main reasons I chose UMD."  

As for Sandelin's part in Brown after the National Championship he said, "Early in the year we need to find someone like a J. T. Brown, come in as a freshman, be an impact player.  And we put him in that position and had a phenomenal year, obviously, phenomenal game tonight in the tournament."

Who knows what is in store for Brown next year as this season was as good as it gets.