Sophomore defenseman Zach Redmond (Traverse City) was selected as the 2008-09 Ferris State University men's ice hockey team's Most Valuable Player Saturday (April 4) evening at the program's annual awards banquet, which was held at the Falcon Head Golf Club in Big Rapids, Mich.
The annual postseason event was sponsored by the FSU Blue Line Club.
Redmond, who's the first Bulldog defenseman to receive the Most Valuable Player Award since the 1997-98 season, finished second in team scoring this campaign with a career season-high 24 points on three goals and 21 assists in 38 games. The FSU assistant captain registered a squad-high 62 blocked shots to go with two power-play goals and one game-tying lamplighter this season. Redmond, who was tabbed the Central Collegiate Hockey Association's (CCHA) Defenseman of the Week (Oct. 27), compiled a a team fourth-best four multiple-point game performances while producing a squad-leading four multi-assist game efforts this season. A 2008-09 CCHA Preseason All-Conference Honorable Mention Team pick, Redmond tallied at least a point in 17 outings for the 2008-09 campaign. The 6-1, 195-pound defenseman was the third player selected in the seventh round of the 2008 National Hockey League's (NHL) Entry Draft as the Atlanta Thrashers selected him with the 184th overall pick.
Freshman goaltender Taylor Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan) was the recipient of the Rookie of the Year Award after recording a 5-8-4 mark this season with a 2.50 goals-against average (44 goals allowed) and a .912 save percentage (457 saves) as a starter in 16 of 19 appearances. Nelson totaled 1054:24 minutes of action between the posts this season and made at least 20 saves in a contest on 13 occasions. The 2008-09 CCHA All-Rookie Honorable Mention Team member placed ninth among the CCHA's top goaltenders in goals-against average (2.39) and was 10th in save percentage (.918) in 15 league outings. He was recognized as the CCHA Rookie of the Week winner this season (Feb. 2).
The Lloyd Earl Trophy as the Bulldogs' top points leader was presented to senior left wing Brendan Connolly (Canmore, Alberta), who registered a career single-season high 28 points with 10 goals and 18 assists in 35 games this season. Connolly, a CCHA Offensive Player of the Week honoree this season (Feb. 2), also posted a team-best tying five multi-game performances and notched at least a point in 19 encounters this campaign. Connolly, who netted 20 or more points in a season for the third straight year this season, concluded his career with 81 points on 35 goals with 46 assists in 147 contests.
The Steve Banonis Memorial Most Improved Player Award was given to a pair of FSU skaters this season as junior center Casey Haines (Indiana, Pa.) and sophomore left wing Mike Embach (Orland Park, Ill.) both earned the honor. Haines garnered a team fifth-best tying and career-high 16 points on six goals with 10 assists in 38 games this season. His 2008-09 season points output exceeded his combined 13 points (7-6=13) in 64 contests in his initial two collegiate campaigns. Haines produced at least a point in 13 encounters this season and chalked up a squad sixth-best tying three multi-point games. Embach finished ninth among the Bulldogs' scoring leaders with a career-best 13 points on a career-high nine goals and four assists in 34 outings. Embach, who had seven points (1-6=7) in 25 games as a freshman last season, registered a team-best tying two-game winning lamplighters and racked up at least a point in 10 contests this campaign. Embach was chosen as the CCHA Offensive Player of the Week on one occasion (Jan. 12) this season.
Junior center Aaron Lewicki (Livonia) was a repeat winner of the Scholar-Athlete Award for recording the team's highest grade point average. Lewicki, a finance major, holds the distinction of being FSU's CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year representative the last two seasons (2007-08 and 2008-09) and also the Bulldogs' CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award nominee. Lewicki turned in his most productive season at Ferris State this season with a team third-most 20 points, which included a squad-best tying 10 points, in 37 games. Lewicki accumulated career season-high numbers in goals (10), assists (10), and points (20).
The Blue Line Competitive Award was given to junior defenseman Matt Case (Plymouth, Minn.) as a result of being the team's top competitor on a daily basis from off-ice conditioning, practice, and games as voted on by his teammates. Case tied for 10th in team scoring this season with 12 points on one goal with 11 assists in 38 contests. Both of Case's points (12) and assists (11) represented career single-season highs. His season points total ranked second most among Bulldog defensemen.
Junior right wing-center Cody Chupp (Livonia) was selected as the recipient of the program's newly-created Community Service Award. The 2008-09 team captain generated seven points and five assists for 12 points in 33 games this campaign. Chupp was a nominee for the 2009 Bank of New York Mellon Hockey Humanitarian Award as college hockey's finest citizen and is a finalist for a 2009 National Student-Athlete Day Giant Steps Award in the category of Civic Leader. The FSU forward has also been nominated for the Hockey Coaches of America (HCA) 2009 Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award which which recognizes a fearless leader and beloved fan favorite who always places his team first.
Ben Mumah, Ferris State Athletics Department's Equipment Manager, was chosen as the FSU Blue Line CLub Recognition Award recipient for his many contributions to the Ferris State hockey program throughout the last two-plus decades. Mumah recently completed his 24th year as equipment manager for Bulldog hockey this past season.
Ferris State concluded its 2008-09 season with a 12-19-7 overall record, which included a ninth-place 9-14-5 CCHA mark (25 points) under 17th-head coach Bob Daniels. The Bulldogs also recognized their five-member senior class of right wing Justin Lewandowski (Naperville, Ill.), right wing Corey Couturier (Traverse City), right wing J.T. Dahlinger (Grosse Pointe Park), defenseman Evan Case (Grosse Pointe Woods), and Brendan Connolly at the postseason event.