STORRS, Conn. (May 5, 2008) - The University of Connecticut men's hockey team recently held its annual postseason banquet at the Nathan Hale Inn on Saturday, May 3. At the banquet the team's lone senior Charles Solberg (Barrington, Ill.) was honored, and the team handed out several individual awards.
Serving as banquet emcee, head coach Bruce Marshall opened the ceremony by recognizing each player and listing their accomplishments throughout the season. The Huskies, with nearly 80 percent of their players being freshman and sophomores, went 13-21-3 during the year and 11-14-3 in the Atlantic Hockey Association.
The team defeated every AHA opponent at least once throughout the year, and earned the seventh seed in the conference tournament. Facing fourth seed Sacred Heart in a best-of-three series, UConn was the only lower seeded to team to extend the series to a full three games as they won game two 3-2 on Michael Coppola's (Old Brookeville, N.Y.) overtime goal.
Sophomore goaltender Beau Erickson (Hinton, Iowa) was named the team's most valuable player. He had one of the greatest seasons in net in UConn history. He set a new single season record with 947 saves, breaking the old record of 942 set by Scott Tomes in 2003-04. That was despite missing six games with various injuries. Erickson recorded an 11-17-3 record with a 2.96 goals against average. He recorded his first two career shutouts against RIT (Jan. 25) and Holy Cross (Feb. 29). After stopping 70 of 71 shots against RIT on Jan. 25 and 26, he was named the Inside College Hockey's National Player of the Week as well as Atlantic Hockey's Player of the Week. After returning from a knee injury that was thought to be season ending, and recording two wins against Holy Cross February 29 and March 1, he was named Atlantic Hockey's Goaltender of the Week. At the conclusion of the season, he was named to the Atlantic Hockey Association 2nd team.
The UConn Silver Bowl Award was given to Solberg. Showing a great deal of leadership as captain of a very young team, he recorded two goals and five assists on the season for seven points. One of the better defensive forwards on the team, he could always be counted on to be in the right position at all-times. He was rewarded when he scored a goal against Holy Cross on Senior Day March 1.
The Coach John Chapman Award was awarded to Coppola. The award goes to the player that most exemplifies the type of player that the late Coach Chapman would have wanted on his team. Coppola was the fourth leading scorer on the team with eight goals and six assists for 14 points. He had the flair for the dramatic as well. in addition to the overtime winner against Sacred Heart in the playoffs, he scored overtime goals in back-to-back weeks, leading the Huskies to a 3-2 win over Bentley on November 10, followed by a 3-2 win over Air Force on November 17.
The seventh player award goes to the player with the most consistent effort on the ice. This year, it was awarded to junior defenseman Nick Schneider (Maplewood, Minn.). He was one of the most dependable players on the ice this year, and with the team suffering several injuries throughout the season, he was able to fill in at forward as well. Schneider had two goals and 10 assists on the season for 12 points.
Named after a former UConn freshman who was tragically killed in an automobile accident in the early 1990s, the Thomas Jacquard Award is given to a Husky rookie that demonstrates the same characteristics as Thomas Jacquard. Freshman forward Andrew Olson (Alexandria, Minn.) earned the award after an outstanding rookie season. He was the team's leading scorer with 14 goals and 10 assists for 24 points. The 14 goals represents a new UConn Division I freshman scoring record. He had an amazing start to his Husky career when he scored two goals in each of his first two games. Olson also scored his first career overtime goal to lead Connecticut to a 2-1 win over ECAC opponent Colgate. He was named Atlantic Hockey Association Rookie of the Week on October 22.
At the conclusion of the banquet, Marshall announced the team had selected the captains for the 2008-09 season. Senior Sean Erickson (Eden Prairie, Minn.) will return for his second season as captain, and he will be joined by Schneider in a co-captain role. Beau Erickson will serve as the team's alternate captain.