|Follow PSU Men's Hockey:||Follow @PennStateMHKY|
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Following its most successful season in the brief five-year history of the program, the Penn State men’s ice hockey team announced its 2016-17 year-end awards earlier this week.
In total four team voted awards were handed out including team MVP, the top defenseman, the freshman of the year and the players’ player. Additionally, the team also recognized the top scorer and top student-athlete as well as the best pound for pound athlete and the Iron Lion, both recognizing hard work and dedication in the weight room.
After a record-setting freshman campaign in Hockey Valley, Denis Smirnov (Moscow, Russia) was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player and Freshman of the Year while also earning the top scorer honor for his efforts.
Smirnov led all freshman in the nation with 47 points while leading the Big Ten in goals (19) and assists (28) by a first-year player. All three totals set new Penn State single-season records by freshman while his 47 points and 28 assists are single-season records by themselves.
The team voted Vince Pedrie (Rochester, Minn.) as the top defenseman after the sophomore blue-liner had the single best season by a defenseman in Penn State history. Pedrie scored eight goals while adding 22 assists for 30 points, all three marks are new single-season records for defenseman. Pedrie, who signed a two-year two-way entry-level contract with the New York Rangers following the season, leaves Penn State as their most prolific scoring defenseman after notching 16 goals in 52 career games for the Blue and White.
Senior alternate captain Ricky DeRosa (Aston, Pa.) was named the Players’ Player as the gritty, hard-skating forward was consistently sent out against most team’s top line with his smothering fore-check limiting scoring chances for the opposition. DeRosa scored four goals while adding nine assists in 2016-17 and finished his Penn State career with 18 goals and 25 assists for 43 points in 139 games played, the second most in program history.
Sophomore Chase Berger (St. Louis, Mo.) tied for fourth on the team in scoring with 36 points on 13 goals and 23 assists, but it is his work in the classroom that got him recognized this season. Berger earned the top student-athlete award as he boasts a cumulative 3.94 grade point average as a finance major and posted a perfect 4.0 during the fall 2016 semester.
In the weight room senior David Thompson (Glen Mills, Pa.) earned the 2016-17 Iron Lion Award given to the player with the best cumulative score during preseason testing. Freshman Nate Sucese (Fairport, N.Y.) was also recognized as the best pound for pound athlete for having the highest strength index, which is the best cumulative score during testing relative to body weight.
Penn State concluded the season 25-12-2 overall capturing the Big Ten Tournament Championship as well as earning its first-ever NCAA Tournament berth and securing its first-ever NCAA Tournament win in a 10-3 rout of Union College (N.Y.).
2016-17 PENN STATE MEN’S HOCKEY TEAM AWARDS
Most Valuable Player: Denis Smirnov
Top Defenseman: Vince Pedrie
Freshman of the Year: Denis Smirnov
Players’ Player: Ricky DeRosa
Leading Scorer: Denis Smirnov
Top Student-Athlete: Chase Berger
Iron Lion Award: David Thompson
Best pound for pound athlete: Nate Sucese