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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Krug honored as Spartans' MVP

Michigan State Press Release

The Michigan State hockey program announced its team awards during the annual team banquet, held Tuesday evening at the Eagle Eye Golf Club.

Sophomore captain Torey Krug was the recipient of two awards, voted Most Valuable Player and the recipient of the Dr. John Downs Outstanding Defensive Player Award. Former skater Anson Carter, who played 11 seasons in the National Hockey League, was honored as the program’s Distinguished Spartan.

Krug was the CCHA ‘s top-scoring defenseman during the 2010-11 regular season. The Spartans’ captain finished 21st in league scoring with 19 points in CCHA games. The Livonia native’s 10 goals in conference play were also the most of any CCHA defenseman, and good for 17th place among the league leaders. Named the Spartans’ 44th captain in team history by a vote from his teammates, Krug – a preseason CCHA All-Conference selection - averages more than 27 minutes of ice time per game. His 11 goals this season place him in a tie with former All-Americans AJ Thelen and Brad Fast for ninth place for single-season goals by a defenseman in the MSU record book. Krug, who owns 26 points this season overall, recorded the first hat trick of his career – and only the second by a defenseman in Spartan history - on January 7 in MSU’s 4-3 overtime win over Michigan at Munn Ice Arena. Krug has contributed offensively for sure – he ranks fourth among active players in career scoring – but has also been doing his part inside the Spartans’ blue line, blocking a team-high 60 shots this season.

Brett Perlini is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Offensive Player honors. Perlini finished 14th in the CCHA and second on the Spartans in overall scoring with 29 points. Drafted in the seventh round of the 2010 NHL draft by the Anaheim Ducks, Perlini lead MSU in goals with 17, good for eighth place in the league. Perlini’s 29 points is more than he had scored in his first two collegiate seasons combined.

Senior Dustin Gazley was named the Bill Burgess Outstanding Senior Award winner. The winger will graduate in May with a marketing degreeand was an alternate captain for the Spartans this season. He is the team leader in career points with 72. The 2010-11 season was Gazley’s most productive in his four years at East Lansing, as he recorded 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points. Gazley currently ranks third on the team in goals and fourth in points.

Trevor Nill, also an alternate captain, received the Amo Bessone Award, which is given to the player who best combines success in academics, athletics, and community involvement. Nill, who receives this award for the second straight season, is one of eight finalists for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, and is also a leading candidate for the CCHA’s Ilitch Humanitarian Award. Nill is president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee at MSU, serves as the vice president of Michigan State’s chapter of Athletes in Action. He is active in the Spartan Buddies program, where he spends time visiting the pediatric ward at Sparrow Hospital. Nill spearheads the hockey team’s involvement in Michigan State athletics “Teams for Toys,” where each varsity team at MSU adopts a a local family during the holiday season. A Mechanical Engineering major, Nill carries a 3.4 grade-point average.

Joey Shean was awarded the Blue Line Club President’s Award, given to the top scholar-athlete in the senior class. The senior is majoring in accounting and boasts a 3.576 cumulative GPA.

Will Yanakeff was named the Most Outstanding Rookie. The freshman goaltender earned playing time in 13 games this season, and impressed his team and fans alike by posting 37 saves in the Spartans’ 4-3 win over Michigan in his first start at Munn Ice Arena. The youngest player on the MSU roster was named CCHA Goaltender of the Week after a 27-save shutout against Lake Superior State on Jan. 14 and a 34-save tie the next night. On the season, Yanakeff owns a 6-4-1 record, with two shutouts, a 2.02 goals-against average, and a .931 save percentage. In CCHA games, Yanakeff ranks third in GAA (2.02) and first in save percentage (.933) in the league.

Mike Merrifield was rewarded with the Spartan Fitness Award for his hard work over the offseason. The recipient of the award is based on the results of pre-season testing. Merrifield has posted four goals and three assists on the season.

Kevin Walrod, a sophomore forward, received the Most Improved Award in the team vote. Walrod improved his scoring output from three assists in 24 games as a freshman to a 3-4-7 scoring line as a sophomore, with the bulk of his scoring coming in MSU’s second-half surge. His first career goal as a Spartan came on Dec. 30, in the Great Lakes Invitational against Michigan Tech.

Freshman defenseman Chris Sandmeyer was this year’s recipient of the Goofus Award, given to the team’s humorist.

Carter was honored at the banquet with this year’s Distinguished Spartan Award. The 1996 Spartan captain was a Hobey Baker finalist and All-American, and he went on to play 11 years in the NHL. A tenth-round pick of the Quebec Nordiques, Carter played with eight different teams in his NHL career: Washington, Boston, Edmonton, New York Rangers, LA Kings, Vancouver, Columbus, and Carolina. He currently runs his own entertainment company based in Atlanta, and also sponsors an eco-friendly clothing line called Shirt Off My Back ( which donates a school uniform to a child in Africa for every item of clothing sold.

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