The Wayne State University men's team held its last annual awards presentation today at Z's Villa in Detroit.
Senior forward Stavros Paskaris was honored as the team's Most Valuable Player. Named to the All-College Hockey America First Team and the CHA All-Academic Team, Paskaris led the team in points (39, second-most in school history) and goals (14) while finishing second in assists (25, tied for second-most in school history) after playing in all 38 games. He totaled 27 points in league play, a school record, and set a new WSU mark with a nine-game point streak Feb. 8 against Robert Morris to Mar. 14 versus Alabama-Huntsville.
Paskaris, who was also given the Top Gun award as the Warriors' leading scorer this past season, finished his career tied-for-third all-time in points (98), fifth in goals (35), and third in assists (63). He is WSU's all-time leader in CHA points (64) and assists (41).
The award for Best Defenseman went to sophomore assistant captain Jeff Caister. Caister, who saw action in all 38 games, was named to the All-CHA First Team and the CHA All-Academic Team. He ranked second on the squad with 31 points, the most by a defenseman in school history, and led the team with 28 assists, the highest overall total in WSU history. He also topped all CHA blueliners in points and finished in a tie for fourth nationally among defensemen with an average of 0.82 points per game.
Defenseman Ryan Adams was named Wayne State's Rookie of the Year. A CHA All-Rookie Team selection, Adams played in 32 games and finished third among WSU freshmen with seven points. He also posted a positive plus/minus rating in 20 games.
Freshman forward Chris Kushneriuk was named WSU's Most Improved Player. He played in 37 games and scored three goals, including the Warriors' lone tally in the CHA semifinal loss to Bemidji State. He also netted the game-winning goal - his first collegiate point - with 50 seconds remaining in overtime Jan. 26 against UAH, warranting CHA Rookie of the Week accolades.
For the second year in a row, junior forward Derek Punches (pictured) was given the Coach's Award. Punches served as an assistant captain, but also donned the "C" when captain Mike Forgie was out with an injury. A two-time CHA All-Academic Team honoree, Punches played in all 38 games and finished second on the team in goals (10), fifth in points (19), and sixth in assists (9). He established career-highs in all three categories as well as in power-play goals (5). Punches was also presented with the President's Award for having the highest grade-point average on the team.
For their contributions as leaders of the Wayne State men's hockey team, Punches and Forgie were given Captain's Awards. A two-year team captain, Forgie collected 17 points in 30 games this past season. He finished sixth on the team in points and fourth in goals (9), achieving career-highs in both, and became the first WSU men's hockey player ever selected to participate in the NCAA Frozen Four Skills Challenge, held last weekend in Denver.
Photo courtesy Mark Hicks/WestSide Photo