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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Broncos name award winners Saturday

Compiled by MiCHO Staff

Western Michigan finalized its 2008-09 season by handing out awards and honoring its seniors at the annual hockey banquet on Saturday evening.

For the second straight year, Patrick Galivan was honored with both the Rob Hodge Most Valuable Player award as well as the Vic Vanderberg Top Scorer award.

The senior forward tallied 25 points in the final 12 games of the regular season to secure the CCHA scoring title with 36 points on 14 goals and 22 assists. He led Western Michigan in goals (19), assists (28) and points (47), tallying a career-high in each category. His ability to set up his teammates and score goals was pivotal in WMU’s run to secure home ice advantage for the first round of the CCHA Playoffs and he was rewarded by being named RBC Financial CCHA Player of the Month for February. He was also named Second Team All-CCHA and to the All-CCHA team by Galivan assisted on two goals in WMU’s 3-1 series clinching win over Lake Superior State to advance to the second round.

Also repeating awards was senior Dave Krisky, who took home the Peter R. Ellis Academic award for having the highest GPA on the team with a 3.98, while majoring in finance. The Westbank, B.C., native also took home the Catherine Lawson Sportsmanship award for the second straight season. Also for the second straight year, Krisky was named WMU’s Scholar Athlete of the Year and was a finalist for CCHA Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Junior Tyler Ludwig had a career year on the blue line, scoring eight goals and registering 22 assists for 29 points. He became the first defenseman since Dave Cousineau (2002-03) to reach the 20-point mark and was named the Neil Smith Most Valuable Defenseman. Ludwig was the top-scoring defenseman on the team and tied with freshman Greg Squires for third in scoring on the Broncos. The Colleyville, Tex., native was most effective on the power play, scoring six of his eight goals and tallying 12 assists with the man advantage. Ludwig was also named CCHA Defenseman of the Week on three separate occasions.

Squires and fellow freshman Kevin Connauton were co-recpients of the Suzanne Klop Rookie of the Year Award. Squires was tied for third on the team with 29 points off of seven goals and 22 assists. He was named CCHA Rookie of the Month for both January and February. Along with Galivan, Ludwig and Jordan Collins, he was one of four Broncos to play in all 41 games this season. Like Ludwig, Squires did a lot of damage with the man-advantage, tallying 14 assists on the power play.

Connauton finished in fifth on the team in scoring with 18 points off seven goals and 11 assists. Connauton tallied the game-winner on the road in a 2-1 upset over No. 8 Michigan in the first half of the season. He had three goals in the playoff series with Lake Superior State, including a two-goal game in WMU’s 4-3 double-overtime game with the Lakers. Connauton tallied the game-winner 7:57 into the second overtime to keep the Broncos alive in the series.

The Ed Edwards Most Improved Player award went to freshman forward Kyle O'Kane. O’Kane’s play improved as he became a regular in the lineup in early January. He teamed up with fellow freshman winger J.J. Crew and Patrick Nagorsen and later Jared Katz to form one of WMU’s most productive lines on the season. He finished the season with 10 goals and six assists. He tallied five points in the playoffs, including two assists in WMU’s double overtime win over LSSU.

Crew was awarded the Bill Saunders Plus/Minus award for leading the team with a plus-13 rating. Crew used his speed and puck skills to tally seven goals and 11 assists in his first season of collegiate hockey. Many of his points came when he was teamed up with O’Kane and Katz. He was named CCHA Rookie of the Week after a three point weekend against Ferris State in January.

The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association “Grinder” award for perseverance went to junior center Chris Clackson. Clackson overcame a broken foot he suffered in WMU’s series at Alaska to help lead the Broncos to a home playoff series. He tallied two goals in a crucial 4-1 win over Lake Superior State in the final weeks of the regular season and was consistently WMU’s best draw man on the season.

After the awards were given out, the Broncos took time to recognize and celebrate the careers of each of its six seniors. Chris Frank, Galivan, Krisky, Steve Silver, Sean Weaver and Kevin O'Connor. The six saw 612 games of action, scoring 63 goals and 128 assists. Frank had the most games played amongst the six, playing in 149, while Galivan had the most career points with 95.

Photo courtesy Casey Spring/WMU

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