Five Spartans Receive All-CCHA Accolades

Michigan State

Jeff Lerg receives First Team honors; Kennedy second team.
Â
East Lansing, Mich. - Five Michigan State players have earned All-CCHA honors, as announced by the league office on Wednesday, March 12. Jeff Lerg (Livonia, Mich.) was voted first-team All-CCHA, Tim Kennedy (Buffalo, NY) was a second team selection, and three players earned Honorable Mention All-CCHA distinction: junior forward Justin Abdelkader (Muskegon, Mich.), and defensemen Michael Ratchuk (Buffalo, NY) and Daniel Vukovic (North York, Ontario).  Senior captain Bryan Lerg (Livonia, Mich.) and freshman blueliner Jeff Petry (Farmington Hills, Mich.) appeared in the “also receiving votes” category.  The teams were selected by a vote of the league’s head coaches and are based on performance in conference games. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players.
Â
With five players receiving honorable mention or first and second team recognition, its the most MSU players honored by the CCHA since the 1999-2000 season when five Spartans (Shawn Horcoff and Mike Weaver (first team), Adam Hall and Ryan Miller (second team) and John-Michael Liles (HM) were honored by the league. MSU had a school-record seven players honored in 1985, six players in 1989 and 1990, and five in 1983, 1987, 1998, 2000, and now 2008.
Â
Jeff Lerg earned seven of 11 first-place votes and 42 points to earn first team honors. In CCHA contests (on which the all-CCHA teams are selected), Lerg ranks first in minutes played (1666:59), save percentage (.935) saves (786), shutouts (4) and goaltender victories (19); second in winning percentage (.714); third in goals against average (1.98). He is the only goalie in the league to play in every CCHA contest of the season, and he was a six-time CCHA Goaltender of the Week, the most weekly awards of any netminder in the conference.Â
Â
Overall on the season, Lerg owns a .924 save percentage (11th nationally), 2.25 goals against average (19th), and 22-9-5 record (.681, seventh). Lerg ranks first among all Division I goaltenders in saves (986) and makes an average of 27.4 shots per game, the third-most of any CCHA netminder and 13th nationally. Only two goalies ranked in the top 15 in saves per game play for teams that are better than .500 (Lerg and Kevin Regan of Hockey East champion New Hampshire.)    He ranks second in the nation in minutes played (2155:42), and sixth in percentage of team minutes played, (95.9 percent). Â
Â
Lerg is also MSU’s candidate for the CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. The finance major boasts a 3.75 cumulative grade point average; in his first five semesters on campus, he has twice earned a perfect 4.0 semester GPA.
Â
Lerg is the first MSU player to earn first team honors since Jim Slater in 2005, and earned the 32nd player to first-team honors in the history of the Spartan program (40 total selections).  Lerg was an Honorable Mention pick as a freshman in 2006, and was also the league’s Rookie of the Year.
Â
Kennedy was the team’s leading scorer, and had 12-17-29 in conference games (18-20-38 overall), ranking seventh. He had five power-play goals, three game-winners, and was +13. Kennedy finished seventh in scoring and tied for fourth in assists among forwards. Despite a 13-game streak in which he failed to score a goal, Kennedy led the team in points from wire-to-wire and is one of the most dangerous players in the league with the puck on his stick. Kennedy enters the playoffs on a six-game point-scoring streak (5-4-9) and potted his 100th career point on a goal in the regular-season finale against Bowling Green. Kennedy is the first Spartan to appear on the second team since Andrew Hutchinson in 2002.
Â
Abdelkader ranks third in scoring for the Spartans with a 17-18-35 scoring line (+14), and is 13-14-27 in conference games. One of the league’s top defensive forwards, he leads the team in penalties and penalty minutes (36/91), and he has won better than 54 percent of his faceoffs this season.Â
Â
Ratchuk received two first-place votes and Vukovic one, and each had 12 points in the coaches survey. Ratchuk is a dynamic defenseman with outstanding offensive skills who plays on the power play, likes to join the rush, and he was the team’s top-scoring defenseman in the regular season with a 6-17-23 scoring line. Vukovic is a stay-at-home defenseman by trade who added an offensive component to his game over the last two seasons to become a more dangerous all-around player, and was rewarded with post-season recognition. A big contributor in all situations, Vukovic was second behind Ratchuk in scoring among the defensive corps (22 points) and tied for second on the team in assists (19).Â
Â
Abdelkader, Ratchuk, and Vukovic are MSU’s first honorable mention selections since Corey Potter and Jeff Lerg in 2006.
Â
Petry, a selection to the All-Rookie team earlier in the week, had 11 points in the voting. The first-year defenseman contributed three goals and 17 assists this season , while senior captain Bryan Lerg finished with 15-11-16 in conference games (18-17-35 overall), with a team-best nine power-play goals and three game-winners.
Â

THANKS FOR READING SPARTAN NATION
Register today for free or log in to access this premium article.
Comments

Hockey

FEATURED
COMMUNITY