Sucharski named top senior; Grant and Krug share rookie honors
EAST LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan State hockey program handed out its team awards at the annual banquet on Wednesday evening, March 3, at the Kellogg Center. Junior alternate captain Corey Tropp (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) was named the team’s Most Valuable Player as well as capturing the team’s Outstanding Offensive Player Award, while senior co-captain Nick Sucharski (Toronto, Ontario) was the only other multiple-award recipient. Sucharski was named the team’s Bill Burgess Outstanding Senior Award winner, and also received the Blue Line President’s Award, given to the top scholar-athlete in the senior class.
Tropp has been among the CCHA and national leaders in scoring all season. After the regular season, he is tied for 12th nationally in points (42), tied for 10th in goals (20), tied for 11th in power-play goals (9) and is tied for fifth in game-winning tallies (5). He twice earned CCHA Offensive Player of the Week honors, and was both the CCHA and Hockey Commissioner’s Association (HCA) Player of the Month for December. Tropp has a 20-22-42 scoring line headed into the playoffs, and will appear in his 100th career game next Friday night in the CCHA quarterfinals.
Sucharski captured the Outstanding Senior Award and Blue Line President’s Award. A fifth-year senior, Sucharski was forced to take a medical redshirt for the 2008-09 season after succombing to a shoulder injury which required surgery. Sucharski’s return to the MSU lineup has helped bolster a young Spartan team, and he has appeared in 159 career games in Green and White. Sucharski is an International Relations major enrolled in James Madison College.
First-year players Derek Grant (Abbotsford, British Columbia) and Torey Krug (Livonia, Mich.) shared the team’s Outstanding Rookie Award honors. Grant has played on the Spartans’ top line all season, and has an 11-18-29 scoring line to make him one of the top-scoring rookies in Rick Comley’s tenure at MSU. Krug is a top-pair defender who also runs MSU’s top power play unit; his three goals and 16 assists for 19 points makes him the league’s top-scoring rookie blueliner.
Dr. John Downs Outstanding Defensive Player honors went to co-captain Jeff Petry (Farmington Hills, Mich.). Petry captures this team award for the third consecutive season; paired with Krug on the Spartan blueline, he ranks fourth overall on the team in scoring and is one of the league’s top-scoring defensemen with four goals and 22 assists for 26 points.
Sophomore centerman Brett Perlini (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) was voted the team’s Most Improved Player. Perlini, who had two goals and an assist as a freshman, dedicated his summer to improving his play at both ends of the ice; once he cracked the MSU lineup in December, he hasn’t looked back: he has scored seven goals and added five assists in 18 games.
The Amo Bessone Award, which honors academic and athletic excellence in addition to community participation, went to sophomore Trevor Nill (Novi, Mich.). Nill is a Mechanical Engineering major who boasts a 3.53 cumulative grade point average. He has also been involved in countless community outreach activities including Spartan Buddies, Shoot for a Cure, the holiday food drive, Max’s Race, and Teams for Toys. Nill also serves as a vice president of the MSU chapter of Athletes in Action and is one of the two representitives from the hockey program on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
The Goofus Award, given annually to the team humorist, was awarded to senior Jay Sprague (Georgetown, Ontario). Sprague’s sense of humor was tested this season as he overcame not one but two surgeries; he wasn’t cleared to play until the end of January, then made his season debut on Feb. 20 against Ferris State. He scored goals in his first two games back in the lineup.
The Spartan Fitness Award, which is based on pre-season fitness testing, went to sophomore blueliner Brock Shelgren (Chicago, Ill.).
Also awarded tonight was the Distinguished Spartan Award, which went to former head coach Amo Bessone, who had a 28-year tenure behind the Michigan State bench. Bessone, who guided the Spartans to the 1966 National Championship, coached 12 All-Americans and three Olympians during his tenure. Bessone passed away in January at the age of 93; a tribute to the former coach was provided by Tom Ross, MSU’s all-time leading scorer; Ross accepted the award on behalf of the Bessone family.