March 8, 2012
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 junior center Riley Sheahan (St. Catharine's, Ont.) is one of the three finalists for the conference's Best Defensive Forward award along with Michigan's Luke Glendening and Northern Michigan's Justin Florek.
Sheahan is one of the CCHA's top face-off men and often draws the assignment of stopping the opposition's top forward line. His outstanding skating ability, high hockey I.Q. and active stick help him shut down passing lanes and create turnovers. The junior center also is having his best season on the offensive side as he has career highs in goals (9), assists (15), points (24) and power-play goals (5). He is currently fourth on the team in scoring. Florek is a solid two-way left wing for the Wildcats while Glendening has been a top shutdown forward all season long for the Wolverines.
The RBC Financial Group CCHA Player of the Year finalists includes: Ferris State defenseman Chad Billins, Michigan State junior defenseman Torey Krug and Miami junior forward Reilly Smith. Behind the staunch defense and strong leadership of Billins, Ferris State earned its first regular-season title since the 2002-03 season and ascended to No. 1 in the country for the first time in school history. Krug had points in 21 of 35 games played, including nine multi-point performances. The junior became the first defenseman to capture the league scoring crown in MSU history and the first in CCHA history since the 1986-87 season. Smith was named the league's Postgame Offensive Player of the Week four times this season and his 18 conference goals earned him the league goal-scoring title for the second consecutive year.
The three finalists for CCHA Coach of the Year are Tom Anastos of Michigan State, Red Berenson of Michigan and Bob Daniels of Ferris State. In his first year as head coach, Anastos improved his alma mater by 12 conference points and five positions in the standings. Under Berenson, the Wolverines reached 20 wins for the 25th consecutive year, the longest streak in NCAA history. Berenson is vying for his third CCHA Coach of the Year award. Ferris State, picked to place ninth in the league in the preseason coach's poll, finished in first place for the second time in school history. The Bulldogs move to the top of the league standings included a 14-game undefeated streak at the end of the regular season.
Miami forward Austin Czarnik, Michigan forward Alex Guptill and Western Michigan goaltender Frank Slubowski are the three finalists for CCHA Rookie of the Year honors. Czarnik, who placed second on his team in scoring, led all rookies with 20 assists in 35 games. Guptill was the only freshman to be named the league's Postgame Offensive Player of the Week and was also Gongshow Rookie of the Week twice as well as the CCHA Gongshow Rookie of the Month in January. Guptill led all rookies in scoring, both overall and in league play. Two of Slubowski's 12 league victories came in shutout fashion. The rookie goalie was also tops in shootouts with four wins on the season.
Western Michigan junior Matt Tennyson joins Billins and Krug as the finalists for the CCHA's Best Offensive Defenseman Award. With a big shot from the point, Tennyson led all CCHA defensemen with six power-play goals on the season. Billins, the Bulldogs' captain, tied Krug for the league lead among defensemen with 18 assists and led Ferris State in conference scoring. Krug's 11 goals led the league for defensemen for the second straight year. The Spartans' captain tied Notre Dame's T.J. Tynan (So., Orland Park, Ill.) for the conference lead in scoring with 29 points on the season.
The CCHA Best Defensive Defenseman nominees include Ferris State sophomore Scott Czarnowczan, Western Michigan sophomore Dan DeKeyser and Michigan senior Greg Pateryn. Czarnowczan led the Bulldogs with a +16 rating and 65 blocked shots. DeKeyser led the Broncos with a +11 rating while playing 30 minutes per game while Pateryn posted a +15 rating while blocking a team-high 48 shots.
The CCHA Awards presented by RBC Financial Group kick off CCHA Championship Weekend on Thursday, March 15. The banquet, an Academy Awards-style event with music videos and highlights, is held at historic Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit. The event begins with a social hour at 6:30 p.m. The Awards Program starts at 7:30 p.m. Awards tickets are $15 and can be purchased by calling the CCHA at (248) 888-0600 or at the door the day of the event.
CCHA TOP THREE AWARD FINALISTS
RBC PLAYER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS Chad Billins, Ferris State Torey Krug, Michigan State Reilly Smith, Miami
COACH OF THE YEAR FINALISTS Tom Anastos, Michigan State Red Berenson, Michigan Bob Daniels, Ferris State
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR FINALISTS Austin Czarnik, Miami Alex Guptill, Michigan Frank Slubowski, Western Michigan
BEST OFFENSIVE DEFENSEMAN FINALISTS Chad Billins, Ferris State Torey Krug, Michigan State Matt Tennyson, Western Michigan
BEST DEFENSIVE DEFENSEMAN FINALISTS Scott Czarnowczan, Ferris State Dan DeKeyser, Western Michigan Greg Pateryn, Michigan
BEST DEFENSIVE FORWARD FINALISTS Luke Glendening, Michigan Justin Florek, Northern Michigan Riley Sheahan, Notre Dame