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Canisius hockey announces postseason award winners

STAFF REPORTS
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BUFFALO - The Canisius hockey team recognized its top players for the 2016-17 season on Wednesday, announcing its award winners for the just-completed campaign.

Senior goaltender Charles Williams was named both Team MVP and the Bob & John’s Three Stars Award winner. A finalist for both the Hobey Baker and Mike Richter Awards, Williams posted a 21-7-5 overall record during his first season with the Griffs. The graduate transfer ranks first in the nation in save percentage and shutouts, is second in goals-against average and ranks fifth in saves.

The Atlantic Hockey Conference Player of the Year and an All-AHC First Team selection, Williams led the Griffs to their first AHC regular season championship while leading the league in goals-against average (1.82), save percentage (.943), shutouts (6) and saves (1,016).

Senior Geoff Fortman was the named the recipient of the Dr. David B. Dietz Hockey Booster Award, presented to a player for his dedication in both athletics and academics in honor of the Canisius Sports Hall of Famer.

A native of Crystal Lake, Ill., Fortman served as team captain during the 2016-17 season, helping guide the Griffs during their record-breaking campaign. Fortman posted career-highs of goals (two), assists (11) and points (13), while also helping lead a Griffs defense that ranked first in the league in scoring defense (1.89), goals allowed (53) and penalty kill percentage (.899).

Off the ice, Fortman holds a 3.98 cumulative GPA in Mathematics and is the two-time reigning Atlantic Hockey Top Scholar-Athlete. Fortman, who serves as an officier with Canisius' Student Athlete Advisory Council, was also recognized as the program’s Community Service Award recipient for the third straight season.

Rookie of the Year honors went to freshman forward Nick Hutchison. An AHC All-Rookie Team selection, Hutchison appeared in 37 games for the Griffs, finishing third on the team in scoring with 24 points (11g, 13a). Hutchison finished the season tied for first amongst AHC freshmen in scoring, amassing 20 points on nine goals and 11 assists during league play. Hutchison also paced Atlantic Hockey rookies and ranked sixth overall with six power-play goals.

Junior Ryan Schmelzer and sophomore Dylan McLaughlin shared the Top Forward Award.

An All-AHC Second Team selection, Schmelzer finished second on the team in scoring with 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points. The Buffalo native led Canisius with five game-winning goals and was named the top defensive forward in Atlantic Hockey, posting a plus/minus rating of +13 while also winning 51.1 percent of his faceoffs.

McLaughlin, meanwhile, garnered All-AHC Third Team accolades after leading the squad in goals (14), assists (19) and points (33). McLaughlin, who also took home the team’s Leading Scorer Award, was a main element of the Griffs’ league-leading power play (.246), ranking seventh on the circuit in points (13) on the man advantage.

Sophomore Cameron Heath took home Top Defenseman honors following a sophomore season that saw the Troy, Mich., product lead Griff blueliners in goals (7), assists (11), and points (18). In his own end, Heath led Canisius with 46 blocked shots and was a key piece of a Canisius defense that ranked first in the league in scoring defense, goals allowed, and penalty kill percentage.

Most Improved Player honors went to junior David Parrottino. Parrottino finished the season seventh on the team in scoring with 17 points (6g, 11a), all of which came in the second half of the regular season after he was paired on the Griffs’ top line with Schmelzer and McLaughlin.

Sophomore defender Jack Stander took home the Tom Chapman Award, given to the team’s unsung hero. A native of Grosse Point Woods, Mich., Stander appeared in all 39 games for the Griffs this season, compiling four assists. Defensively, Stander ranked third on the squad with 50 blocked shots and was a key part of a Canisius defense that led Atlantic Hockey in scoring defense, goals allowed, and penalty kill percentage.

Canisius enjoyed a stellar 2016-17 season that culminated in the program capturing its first Atlantic Hockey Conference regular season title. The Griffs posted a program-record 17-game unbeaten streak to close out the regular season and matched the school mark for wins in a campaign with 21. Canisius also entered the national rankings for the first time in four seasons, earning the No. 20 spot in the USCHO.com poll in March.

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