CHICAGO — The USHL has officially released its league honors, and Dubuque Fighting Saints forward Robert Cronin and defenseman Henry Thrun were named to the All-USHL Third Team. The two members of the Saints’ veteran core led the way to a tenth-consecutive playoff berth and remained consistent contributors to the offensive and defensive sides of the puck throughout the season.
Cronin, who will begin his collegiate career at the University of New Hampshire next season, was one of the league’s top goal scorers. His 28 goals finished tops on the Saints roster, and fifth-most in the league. When the team’s playoff hopes were on the line, his game elevated to another level. He scored three goals and four assists in a weekend sweep of the Green Bay Gamblers in the final two games of the season to cement the team’s playoff berth.
“It’s a great accomplishment and I’m extremely honored to be awarded it. Though, this isn’t just a solo award. It wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates and coaches, as they helped make it true,” Cronin said. “From where we started at to finishing above .500 and clinching a playoff spot in a shortened season and a tough Eastern Conference really is amazing, and I love this group for their resilience all year. It was an amazing end to my junior career and I’m so happy to be a Saint for Life.”
“Robert showed signs of the offensive output last season that we benefitted from this season. However, he found himself behind others, and to his credit, he worked. To me, this is a very big deal,” said head coach Oliver David. “He returned focused, stronger, and wanting to earn more. He worked at his game. Easier said than done. We all say it, but he did it. I’m so proud of him, and happy he rightfully gets recognized by the USHL as an All-Star.”
The Massachusetts native took a massive jump in his development from year one to year two in his USHL career. Cronin scored just two goals and eight points in 44 games last season as mostly a depth player, but finished the 2020–21 season with 54 points in 48 games as one of the Saints’ top-line threats. Of his 28 goals, ten of them were scored on the power play, and three of them proved to be game-winning goals.
Thrun, who will return to Harvard University for his sophomore season, had an undoubtedly eventful year. The Anaheim Ducks prospect won gold at the 2021 World Junior Championships with Team USA, and then re-joined the Fighting Saints’ roster in late February. From then on, he dominated the league. In 24 games, he scored 22 points, finished a plus-four, and scored two game-winning goals in a part of the season where every point mattered. Thrun posted multi-point games in six of his 24 games as a Fighting Saint as well.
“It’s exciting to be recognized. Obviously, my teammates were awesome and helped a lot this season. There were a lot of ups and downs but I know we were proud as a group to reach the playoffs considering where we started,” Thrun said. “Our main objective was to win a Clark Cup and we fell short of that, but I think there were a lot of positives to take out of the season. I also think it’s important to note all of our coaches’ and staff’s support throughout the season and efforts to help our club win.”
“Henry brought qualities on and off the ice that we should all aspire to nurture in ourselves. He was professional, disciplined in prep, thoughtful in performance, and an all-around, well-balanced person and player,” David said. “He was a role model to his teammates and coaches alike. I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone reading this that knows anything about Henry’s playing resume that he was a top D in the USHL this season. More importantly, Henry’s impact on those of us that spent the season with him will last well beyond today. He’s made of it.”
Thrun’s proficiency was noted by the USHL twice, as he was named USHL Defenseman of the Week on two occasions. Even playing less than half of the season, Thrun finished 12th in league defensive scoring. He will finish his junior career, for real this time, with 15 goals, 50 assists and a +47 mark against USHL competition.
“Congratulations are in order for both Henry and Robert on being recognized by the league for their efforts this year,” said Fighting Saints GM Kalle Larsson. “Both players were major contributors both on and off the ice and we truly appreciate everything they brought to Dubuque during their time with the Saints.”
The USHL will release its All-Academic selections later in the offseason—a category in which the Fighting Saints see regular representation.