March 21, 2008
Detroit, Mich. – Notre Dame senior defenseman Dan VeNard (Vernon Hills, Ill.) and junior goaltender Jordan Pearce (Anchorage, Alaska) were honored at the CCHA’s annual awards banquet held at the historic Fox Theatre on Thursday night. The awards show precedes Friday’s CCHA hockey semifinal action at Joe Louis Arena.
VeNard was selected as the winner of the Terry Flanagan Memorial Award named after the former Bowling Green assistant coach who died from cancer in 1991. The award honors a player for perseverance, dedication and courage while overcoming severe adversity.
Prior to this season, VeNard had played in just 61 games during his career due to injuries that included shoulder separations to both shoulders, knee injuries, a quad injury, a stress fracture to one leg and a 15-stich cut to his side after getting cut by a skate during a game in 2006-07.
Through all the injuries, VeNard continued to work hard to get in the lineup while also becoming the team’s community service leader and this year as a senior, the president of Notre Dame’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Earlier this season, the senior was a nominee for the prestigious College Hockey Humanitarian Award.
In his final season at Notre Dame, VeNard has played in all 41 games while having career highs in goals (5), assists (6) and points (11). He also was selected as one of the team’s alternate captains.
Pearce received the conference’s top goaltender award as he had the best goals-against average in league games (1.80) while going 13-8-4 with a .922 save percentage. Overall, Pearce became the fourth goaltender in the program’s history to win 20 games as he was 20-12-4 on the year with a 1.95 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage.
As a first-year starter at Notre Dame, Pearce was the team’s Perani Cup winner as he recorded 26 points to Erik Condra’s 24 for being selected a star of the game in CCHA games this season.
Pearce also was honored for his success in the classroom as he was Notre Dame’s Scholar-Athlete Award winner. He has been a Dean’s List selection in three of his five semesters while putting together a 3.80 grade-point average with a double major in Anthropology and Pre-med.
The CCHA also announced its major award winners for the 2007-08 season.
Player of the Year - Kevin Porter, Sr., F (Michigan)Rookie of the Year - Max Pacioretty, Fr., F (Michigan)Coach of the Year - Red Berenson (Michigan)Top Defensive Forward - Justin Abdelkader, Jr., F (Michigan State)Top Offensive Defenseman - Tyler Eckford, Jr., D (Alaska)Top Defensive Defenseman - Alec Martinez, Jr., D (Miami)Scholar Athlete of the Year - Jeff Lerg, Jr., G (Michigan State)Mike and Marian Ilitch Humanitarian Award - Justin Abdelkader, Jr., F (Michigan State)
The CCHA Tournament begins on Friday, March 21 at Joe Louis Arena when Notre Dame faces Miami at 4:30 p.m. and Michigan faces Northern Michigan at 8:00 p.m. On Saturday, the third-place game will be played at 3:30 p.m. and the championship game starts at 7:30 p.m.