Michigan State senior goaltender Jeff Lerg (pictured) and Notre Dame senior forward Erik Condra (Livonia) each garnered nine first-place votes to tie for the lead in balloting with 51 points apiece. Lerg, who this year becomes just the second goalie in team history to captain the Spartans, is a member of the Preseason All-Conference First Team for a third consecutive season. Condra led the Fighting Irish in scoring with 38 points last season after being named a member of the Preseason All-Conference Second Team.
Condra is joined on the First Team by Notre Dame teammate and defenseman Kyle Lawson (New Hudson), who is making his second straight appearance on the squad. Michigan also sports a pair of players on the First Team in forward Aaron Palushaj, who led all rookies in overall scoring last season, and defenseman Mark Mitera, the Wolverine captain and NHL first-round draft pick of Anaheim. Miami senior forward Justin Mercier, the RedHawks top returning goal scorer, completes the First Team, which for a second straight year has representation from four CCHA teams.
Three members of the 2008 CCHA All-Rookie Team graduated to the Preseason All-Conference Second Team - Michigan State defenseman Jeff Petry, Miami forward Carter Camper and Northern Michigan forward Mark Olver. Notre Dame junior Ryan Thang, who wound up tied in voting with Olver to place four forwards on the Second Team for a second consecutive year, is making a return appearance on the team. Irish sophomore Ian Cole (Ann Arbor) landed the other defenseman’s position on the Second Team which is rounded out by a pair of seniors, Michigan goalie Billy Sauer and Michigan State forward Tim Crowder.
Three defensemen received Honorable Mention including Northern Michigan’s Erik Gustafsson, Nebraska-Omaha’s Eddie Del Grosso and Ferris State’s Zach Redmond. Jacob Cepis of Bowling Green and Nick Sirota of Northern Michigan earned Honorable Mentions at the forward position while Notre Dame senior goaltender Jordan Pearce also earned the distinction.
Five schools are represented on the first and second teams while three others are represented with honorable mentions.
Voting was conducted among the 12 head coaches in the CCHA. Coaches could not vote for their own players.
Photo courtesy Michigan State Athletics