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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Michigan State recruit USHL playoff MVP

Compiled by MiCHO Staff

The Omaha Lancers are the 2008 Clark Cup Champions and the backbone of their team, goaltender Drew Palmisano, was named the Planet Hockey Clark Cup Most Valuable Player after Saturday night's 4-3 overtime win over the Waterloo Black Hawks.

The last Omaha Lancer to win the top player honor in the post-season was goaltender Ray Fraser, who led Omaha to their first national championship in 2001.

"The team played well in front of me. To get to this point you need guys to step up and we had that. They blocked a lot of shots in front of me and made my job easier," Palmisano said. "The whole team was the MVP, not just me. It's a team award."

Palmisano enjoyed a monster post-season. In 14 playoff games, he went 9-5 with a 2.45 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. Palmisano played nearly every second of the playoffs for the Lancers and came away with four shutouts, a number which set a new record for one playoff year.

"What else is there to say? All the numbers show what a big part of our team Drew is," said Omaha head coach Mike Hastings. "He showed he was the MVP in game four. Last night in Waterloo that was the loudest, most intimidating environment that I've ever experienced in junior hockey. We went in there and shut them down. To do that you need to have a special goaltender and we had that. Drew went in there and played his best game."

A year ago, Palmisano played just one game in the post-season, which lasted just one round. The Lancers were eliminated by Des Moines in five games.

"This was an important post-season for me and the team. We needed to get out of the first round and we did that. We were taking it game by game, series by series. We had a good start and got on a good roll," Palmisano said. "I'm just so happy for all of the guys for what we were able to do together. It's a special team."

Palmisano, a native of Ann Arbor, is committed to Michigan State University.

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