March 8, 2007
Farmington Hills, Mich. – The Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) announced the top three finalists for six of the major individual awards that will be presented on Thursday, March 15 at the historic Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit.
Notre Dame senior goaltender David Brown (Stoney Creek, Ont.), along with Michigan senior forward T.J. Hensick and Northern Michigan junior forward Mike Santorelli are the three finalists for the RBC Finanical Group CCHA Player of the Year award.
Brown leads the nation and the CCHA with 25 wins and 1.68 goals-against average in 33 games while his .927 save percentage is sixth nationally and second in the conference. Brown, a first team all-CCHA selection earlier this week also leads the CCHA with five shutouts while ranking third in the nation in that category. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ draft choice set Irish single-season records with his 25 wins and five shutouts this season.
Hensick, who was a finalist for the award in 2005, leads the CCHA in conference and overall scoring while placing second in the nation with 56 points in 36 games. The Colorado Avalanche draft pick also leads the NCAA in assists with 39.
Santorelli finished the regular season as the CCHA leader in goals with 23 in 28 conference games, including a league-best nine scores on the power play. The Nashville Predators draft pick ranks second among NCAA skaters with 29 goals in 38 games.
Irish head coach Jeff Jackson joins Michigan’s Red Berenson and Western Michigan’s Jim Culhane as finalists for CCHA Coach of the Year honors. The second-year coach of the Irish oversaw an Irish team that has 14 more wins than last season, captured its’ first-ever CCHA regular-season title and has had the Irish, 27-6-3 on the year, ranked number one in the nation the last five weeks. Jackson was the 1991 winner of the CCHA Coach of the Year award while at Lake Superior State.
Berenson became only the eighth coach in college hockey history to record 600 career wins this season while leading the Wolverines to a 23-12-1 record. Culhane led Western Michigan, picked to finish last in the 2006-07 CCHA preseason media and coaches polls, to a 14-13-1 record and a sixth-place finish in the conference standings.
Ryan Thang (Fr., Edina, Minn.) joins Western Michigan’s Mark Letestu and Miami’s Jarod Palmer as candidates for the CCHA Rookie of the Year award. Thang tied for the Notre Dame lead with 17 goals and was second on the team in scoring with 34 points in his rookie season. He and Letestu finished first and second in conference rookie scoring, with Letestu tallying 18 goals and 16 assists and Thang registering 11 goals and 14 assists in 28 games conference games. Palmer was fourth with nine goals and 13 assists.
Junior defenseman Brock Sheahan (Lethbridge, Alb.) is one of three nominees for the CCHA Defensive Defenseman award along with Ohio State’s Sean Collins and Michigan’s Matt Hunwick.
Sheahan anchored an Irish defense that posted a conference-leading .919 penalty-killing average and a 1.82 goals-against average. He helped Notre Dame’s defense rank number one in the nation, giving up just 1.75 goals-per-game while the Irish were also the top penalty-killing team with a .905 success rate. He was +17 for the season to lead Notre Dame defensemen and was +10 in the conference.
Hunwick’s plus-14 in 28 conference games places him in a tie for sixth among CCHA skaters, while Collins is also a nominee for the CCHA Offensive Defenseman of the Year.
Joining Collins are Michigan’s Jack Johnson and Lake Superior junior Derek A. Smith. Johnson, a 2005-06 finalist for this award, led all CCHA defensemen in scoring with 25 points in 25 games and in overall scoring with 31 points in 31 games. Collins was second in the conference in overall scoring among defensemen with 28 points in 37 games. Smith recorded a career-best 26 points in 39 games this season, including 16 in 28 conference contests.
The nominees for the CCHA Defensive Forward of the Year include Miami junior Nathan Davis, Michigan senior David Rohlfs and Western Michigan sophomore Jeff LoVecchio. Davis spearheaded a Miami penalty kill that ranked second in the conference with a .899 efficiency. Rohlfs finished second in the conference with a plus-18 in 28 conference games, while LoVecchio placed fourth with a plus-15.
The CCHA Awards Banquet kicks off the CCHA Championship weekend on Thursday, March 15. The Banquet, an Academy Awards-style event with music videos, video highlights and special awards presentations, is held at the historic Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit, across from Comerica Park. The Banquet begins with a social hour presented by the RBC Financial Group at 7:00 p.m. during which a cash bar will be available and light hors d’oeuvres will be served. The Awards Program will be at 8:00 p.m. and will last approximately one hour and 20 minutes. Banquet tickets are $15 and can be purchased by calling the CCHA at (248) 888-0600 or at the door the day of the event.