April 10, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After tying for the national lead in goals scored among defensemen, Notre Dame’s Robbie Russo has been rewarded for his stellar 2014-15 season with a spot on the CCM Hockey All-America team. The American Hockey Coaches Association announced its annual squads on Friday during the Frozen Four in Boston.
Russo is the fifth Notre Dame defenseman to earn All-America honors and the first since current Pittsburgh Penguin Ian Cole claimed the accolade in 2009. Russo joins Bill Nyrop (1973), Jack Brownschidle (19776 and 1977), Benoit Cotnoir (1999) and Cole as All-American blueliners for the Irish.
Russo matched Denver’s Joey LaLeggia with 15 goals for the most in the country this year among blueliners while his 41 points fell one shy of the national defenseman pace of 42 set by Mike Reilly of Minnesota.
On Jan. 18 at UConn, Russo notched the only hat trick in the nation this year by a defenseman when he scored thrice in a 6-1 Irish victory over the Huskies. It marked the first hat trick by a Notre Dame defenseman since Feb. 20, 1988 when Frank O’Brien scored three times against Lake Forest, before the Irish became a full-fledged Division I program on the ice.
Russo’s 41 points this year are the most by a Hockey East defenseman since at least the 2000-01 season. A first-team all-Hockey East selection, Russo led the elite conference in both goals and points by a defenseman. Russo’s 41 points currently stands seventh in Hockey East heading into Saturday night’s national championship game which features two league teams in Boston University and Providence.
Russo did this while also playing steady defense. He recorded a plus-13 rating on a team that was just a plus-10 in overall scoring margin. He served as a mentor to a young blueline corps that often dressed three freshmen among its six members. Russo was awarded a captain’s “C” on Feb. 12 in recognition for his diligent work with the young positional unit during the first three quarters of the season.