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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Lerg shines at Spartans' awards banquet

Compiled by MiCHO Staff

Senior goaltender Jeff Lerg received four awards, including Most Valuable Player for the third straight season, at Michigan State’s annual banquet Wednesday night at the Kellogg Center.

Six other Spartans received awards, most of which were decided by a team vote, and former Michigan State captain and All-American Bryan Smolinski received the program’s Distinguished Alumnus award.

Lerg joined Chad Alban and Ron Scott as the only Spartans to be named team MVP three straight seasons. On a squad depleted by injuries and early departures, Lerg turned in a senior campaign that cemented his place among the nation’s best goaltenders.

In addition to being named MVP, Lerg was also received the Bill Burgess Outstanding Senior Award, Amo Bessone Award and Blue Line Club President’s Award. The Amo Bessone Award, which honors athletic, scholastic and community participation, went to Lerg on the strength of his community involvement which includes, but is not limited to, Shoot for a Cure, Spartan Buddies, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and the American Lung Association. Lerg is also a finalist for the Lowes Senior CLASS Award, the Hockey Humanitarian, and has been selected to participate in the NCAA Skills Challenge at the Frozen Four in April.

Lerg is one of just four players to win four or more awards in a single season.

Kelly Miller was the MVP, Outstanding Senior, President’s Award, and Amo Bessone Winner in 1985, while Shawn Horcoff was the MVP, Outstanding Offensive Player, Outstanding Senior, and President’s Award recipient in 2000.

Don McSween is the only player to capture five awards in one season, when he won the MVP, Outstanding Defensive Player, Outstanding Senior, President’s Award and Bessone Award in 1987.

The only other repeat winner of an award was sophomore defenseman Jeff Petry, who received the Dr. John Downs Outstanding Defensive Player Award. Petry, who played in every game and logged more ice time than any other Spartan skater this season, finished the regular season with two goals and 11 assists for 13 points. His 11 assists were tops amongst all players.

Senior forward Matt Schepke received the Outstanding Offensive Player award. Schepke led the Spartans in goals and points in the regular season, registering 14 goals and nine assists for 23 points. Schepke led or shared the team lead for the Spartans in power-play goals, shorthanded goals, game-winning goals, shootout goals and shots on goal.

Outstanding Rookie honors went to forward Daultan Leveille. Leveille was tops among Spartan rookies and second overall in scoring with eight goals and six assists for 14 points.

Senior Kurt Kivisto was named Most Improved Player. Kivisto, who had played forward his entire Spartan career, moved back to defense for the majority of the season’s second half. He leads the Spartans with 67 blocked shots, and he set personal bests in goals (2), assists (3), points (5), and games played (33). Kivisto also was tied for the team lead with three shootout goals.

Sophomore Andrew Rowe earned the Spartan Fitness Award, an award given based on performance in a number of preseason fitness tests. The Goofus Award, given to the team humorist, went to junior Jay Sprague.

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