The 19-year old from Livonia, Mich., named the CCHA Rookie of the Year at the CCHA Awards banquet on March 16, added another honor to his collection just two days later when he was captured the Bill Beagan trophy as the most valuable player of the CCHA Playoffs by allowing just two goals on 47 shots, backstopping the Spartans to their 11th CCHA Tournament title and an automatic berth in the NCAA Division I Tournament. In the East Regional semifinals, Lerg turned aside all 36 New Hampshire shots for his third shutout of the season as the Spartans advanced to the championship game with a 1-0 win over New Hampshire of Hockey East.
The 5-foot-6, 150-pound netminder opened the month by recording 80 saves in a three-game series against Alaska Fairbanks, helping the Spartans advance to CCHA Championship Weekend at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Lerg stopped 25-of-26 shots against Michigan in the semifi nals as the Spartans defeated the Wolverines, 4-1, to move into the title game against CCHA regular-season champion Miami. The diminutive Lerg made 22 saves against the RedHawks to lead Michigan State to a 2-1 victory, and the Mason Cup crown. He finished the month with a 5-2-0 record, 1.87 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage.
Lerg, named the Hockey Commissioners Association (HCA) National Rookie of the Month for January, enjoyed a standout rookie campaign. In 19 CCHA contests, he posted a 9-3-6 mark with a 2.03 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. Lerg ranks third nationally in overall goals-against average at 1.96 and seventh nationally with a .928 save percentage.
Special mention for RBC Financial Group CCHA Player of the Month honors goes to Bowling Green sophomore forward Jonathan Matsumoto, Michigan senior forward Andrew Ebbett, Miami sophomore forward Ryan Jones, Alaska Fairbanks sophomore forward Aaron Lee, Northern Michigan senior defenseman Nathan Oystrick, Ferris State freshman forward Dan Riedel and Western Michigan senior forward Brent Walton.
2005-06 RBC Financial Group Players of the Month
March - Jeff Lerg, FR, G, Michigan State
February - David Brown, JR, G, Notre Dame
January - Andy Greene (Trenton), SR, D, Miami
December - Bill Thomas SO, F, Nebraska-Omaha
November - Alex Foster (Canton), SO, F, Bowling Green
October - Bill Zaniboni, SO, G, Northern Michigan