Ferris State University held its annual season-ending awards banquet Friday evening at the Falcon Head Golf Club in Big Rapids. The banquet was sponsored by the FSU Blue Line Club.
Senior center Greg Rallo was selected as the Bulldogs' Most Valuable Player for the 2005-06 season. The assistant captain led Ferris in almost every offensive category this season with a career season-high 39 points, 17 goals, 22 assists, nine power-play goals, and three short-handed tallies in 40 contests. He also posted a pair of game-winning goals.
Rallo compiled at least one point in 24 of Ferris' 40 outings, including a team-best 11 multi-point games and a three-game point scoring streak. He was a two-time (Nov. 14 and Nov. 28) Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Offensive Player of the Week selection and was named the Bulldogs' CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the 2005-06 campaign. Rallo concluded his career with 108 points on 46 goals and 62 assists to go with a plus five efficiency rating. He also amassed 27 multiple-point games and seven game-winning lamplighters in his four-year career. The 2003-04 CCHA All-Academic Special Mention honoree currently ranks 29th among the program's all-time leaders in points and is tied for 25th in goal scoring. Rallo, who also was the winner of the Lloyd Earl Award as the team's leading points getter and a co-recipient of the Blue Line Competitive Award, made his professional debut last month with the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL.
Sharing the Blue Line Competitive Award with Rallo was sophomore defenseman Adam Welch, who registered a season-high 13 points with two goals and 11 assists in 40 games. The team captain produced a plus eight rating and placed second among FSU's top-scoring defensemen.
Freshman goaltender Mitch O'Keefe earned the Rookie of the Year Award. He turned in a 14-12-7 mark with a 2.68 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage (828 total saves) in 33 appearances this season. O'Keefe, who notched at least 30 saves in a contest on 10 occasions and had a pair of shutouts in 1969:54 minutes of action this campaign, garnered both CCHA Rookie of the Week (Oct. 24) and CCHA Goaltender of the Week accolades (Nov. 14). O'Keefe's 14 victories tied for the sixth most single-season wins in school history while his 828 saves total represented the sixth highest output.
The Steve Banonis Most Improved Player Award went to redshirt freshman center-right wing Matt Frank (pictured), who tallied four goals with eight assists for 12 points with a plus nine rating in 34 contests. The Bulldog forward also scored a short-handed marker to go along with a pair of game-winning lamplighters. Frank produced one point (assist) in four 2004-05 games before suffering a season-ending injury and was granted a redshirt season.
Junior left wing Eric Vesely received the Scholar-Athlete Award for the second consecutive year. Vesely, who totaled a career season-high 18 points on 10 goals and eight assists in 40 contests this season, also earned the squad's FSU President's Award for having the squad's highest grade-point average and is a surveying engineering major. Vesely was also presented with the Plus/Minus Award as the forward posted a season-best plus 11 efficiency rating. He was a co-recipient of the award a season ago.
A pair of current FSU Blue Line Club members, Kevin Courtney and Jeff Totten were both bestowed with a FSU Blue Line Club Recognition Award for their numerous contributions to the Bulldog hockey program. Courtney has served as club president for several years while Totten presently serves as the club's ambassador program chairperson.
Ferris State concluded its 2005-06 season at 17-15-8 overall with a sixth-place 10-11-7 CCHA record under 14th-year head coach Bob Daniels. The Bulldogs also recognized their four-member senior class of Rallo, right wing Nick Scheible, defenseman Andrew Winnik and goaltender Tom Mueller.