March 16, 2007
Detroit, Mich. - The 2007 CCHA Championship weekend got off to a strong start for the Notre Dame hockey team as several team members received postseason honors.
Leading the way was Irish goaltender David Brown (Sr., Stoney Creek, Ont.) who was honored as a first team all-CCHA selection, the top goaltender in the conference and as the CCHA player of the year.
Joining Brown on the list of major award winners for Notre Dame was head coach Jeff Jackson who became the first Irish hockey coach to take CCHA coach of the year honors.
Also receiving awards that were announced previously were Scholar-Athlete team selection Jason Paige and three members of the CCHA all-rookie team - defenseman Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.) and forwards Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash.) and Ryan Thang (Edina, Minn.).
For Brown the day was a good one all around as he was also named one of 10 finalists for the 2007 Hobey Baker Award.
The senior goaltender goes into the semifinal game with Lake Superior State on Friday at Joe Louis Arena. For the year, he leads the CCHA and the nation in wins (27) and goals-against average (1.64). His five shutouts lead the conference and are the third-best total in the country. His .928 save percentage is second in the CCHA and sixth in the nation. All of the above are single-season Notre Dame records for Brown while he has also moved into the top spot for career goals-against average (2.38), save percentage (.914) and shutouts (11).
In just his second season behind the Notre Dame bench, Jeff Jackson has seen his Notre Dame team make one of the biggest turnarounds in CCHA history. After going 5-27-6 in 2004-05, before Jackson arrived on campus, the Irish own the best record in the nation at 29-6-3, won their first-ever CCHA regular-season title and have been ranked number one in the country for the last six weeks.
This marks the second time in his career that Jackson has been named the CCHA coach of the year as he took the honor in 1991 while at Lake Superior State. He is just the second coach in the conference's history to guide two teams to CCHA regular-season titles, joining Michigan State athletics director Ron Mason who did it at Bowling Green and Michigan State. In two seasons at Notre Dame, Jackson is 42-25-7 (.615) and for his career, he owns a 224-77-32 record (.721).
Rounding out the remainder of the major awards on Thursday night at Detroit's Fabulous Fox Theatre were:
CCHA Rookie of the Year: Mark Letestu, Western Michigan (Notre Dame's Ryan Thang was a finalist).
Terry Flanagan Award (for dedication and courage): Tom Fritsche, Ohio State
Mike and Marian Ilitch Humanitarian Award: Tim Cook, Michigan
Top Defensive Defenseman: Matt Hunwick, Michigan (Notre Dame's Brock Sheahan (Jr. Lethbridge, Alb.) was a finalist).
Top Offensive Defenseman: Jack Johnson, Michigan
Top Defensive Forward: Nathan Davis, Miami
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Michael Eickman, Nebraska-Omaha
Top Scorer: T.J. Hensick, Michigan