Junior goaltender Jeff Jakaitis was named Lake Superior State's most valuable player for the third straight year during the Soo BlueLiners' 24th annual banquet held Saturday at the sold-out Cisler Center ballroom.
Eight of LSSU's 12 seniors also had a chance to say their traditional farewells, while the remaining four players (Kory Scoran, Alex Dunn, Steve McJannet and Jon Booras) were still with ECHL teams, enjoying their first stint in professional hockey.
Jakaitis was the only Central Collegiate Hockey Association goalie to start all 28 conference contests and was named a Perani Cup game star in 15 of those 28 games. The Perani Cup points champion was named to the All-CCHA First Team and was one of three finalists for CCHA Player of the Year. He finished second in the league in saves (881), fourth in save percentage (.920) and fifth in goals-against average (.2.23). He is LSSU's career leader in save percentage at .922, is second in career goals-against average (.2.43), third in career saves (2,387) and seventh in career games played (88). He is a two-time CCHA Scholar-Athlete honoree and has a 3.46 GPA while majoring in business.
Sophomore forward Trent Campbell (pictured) was named Outstanding Forward after leading the Lakers in goals with 14 and points with 26. He finished second on the team in plus/minus at +4. He also scored a team-leading eight power-play goals, which tied for eighth in the CCHA this season. He has the most goals by a Laker since Jason Nightingale in 2000-01 and the most points since Terry Marchant in 1997-98.
The blue-line tandem of Scoran and Ren Fauci, who shared the most valuable defenseman award, anchored a Lake State defense that was ranked in the top 10 nationally throughout the season. As a team, the Lakers finished third in the CCHA in goals-allowed, averaging 2.28 per game. Scoran totaled five goals and 13 assists to lead LSSU defensemen in scoring, while Fauci finished with five assists. Scoran scored two short-handed goals this season and earned CCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors in January. Scoran and Fauci, who regularly took on the opposing teams' top line, combined for a +5 on the plus/minus chart.
Senior Colin Nicholson received the most-improved player and Soo BlueLiner Player of the Year awards. This season, he tied for second on the team in goals with nine, finished with 15 points and was nearly even in plus/minus rating. He scored two game-winning goals and two short-handed goals in 2005-06. He finished his career with 25 goals and 22 assists in 116 games.
The scholar-athlete award went to junior defenseman Barnabas Birkeland, who more than doubled his point total from last season. Birkeland finished with one goal and 10 assists, and led Laker defensemen in plus-minus with a +4 rating. Birkeland has become a leader on and off the ice, and has excelled in the classroom, accumulating a 3.475 GPA while majoring in economics.
LSSU rookie of the year Troy Schwab was the Lakers' No. 2 scorer with eight goals and 16 assists, and was a two-time CCHA Rookie of the Week. He received CCHA All-Rookie Team honorable mention and was the male recipient of the Terry McDermott Award, which goes to LSSU's outstanding freshman athlete.
Jason Miller, a freshman forward, received the Gay Blade Award, who goes to the player who provides the most comic relief in the lockerroom. Miller appeared in 19 games and contributed three assists for the season.