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Thursday, March 22, 2007

MTU's Teslak, Russell garner WCHA honors

Michigan Tech head coach Jamie Russell has been recognized as Western Collegiate Hockey Association Co-Coach of the Year and sophomore goalie Michael-Lee Teslak has garnered All-WCHA Third Team accolades, as announced at the league's annual awards ceremony last week.

St. Cloud State's Bob Motzko shared the WCHA Coach of the Year honor with Russell.

Russell has guided his team to an 18-16-5 overall record and a sixth-place finish in the 2006-07 WCHA standings, marking its best conference showing since 1992-93. In his fourth year behind the Huskies' bench, Russell led his troops past Colorado College in the opening round of the WCHA playoffs which solidified Tech's first appearance at the WCHA Final Five since 1996.

With 18 wins, the Huskies have recorded their highest win total since the 1995-96 and are just two victories shy of their best mark since 1987-88. Under Russell's tutelage, Tech ranks among the nation's top five in shots allowed (24.6), penalty killing (87.6) and scoring defense (2.13). The Huskies broke a program record by compiling five shutouts this season, besting a mark set back in 1974-75. MTU owns a 16-9-3 record against teams in the top 20, and has posted a 10-4-3 mark in its last 17 games.

Teslak, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound goaltender, earned his first All-WCHA award after filing an 11-7-3 overall record, including an 8-2-2 mark in his last 12 contests. He is tied with Jim Warden (1975-75) for first all-time among Husky goaltenders for shutouts in a season after notching his fourth blanking of the campaign Mar. 11 at Colorado College. The owner of a 1.90 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage, Teslak leads the WCHA in goal against average and ranks fourth nationally in the same category. He was named WCHA co-Defensive Player of the Week Feb. 27 and has gained WCHA weekly honors four times in his two-year career.

Russell is the third MTU coach to be selected WCHA Coach of the Year and the first since Herb Boxer gained the award in the 1987-88 season … The legendary John MacInnes won the award six times (1960, 1962, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981) during his illustrious career in Houghton … Teslak is the first Husky to receive All-WCHA laurels since Colin Murphy earned All-WCHA First Team honors, Lars Helminen was selected to the Second Team and Cam Ellsworth was picked to the Third Team in the 2004-05 campaign.

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