Minnesota State announced its team award winners on Sunday night, and there were no big surprises. Here are the awards:
• Eriah Hayes was named team MVP after a 20-goal, 16-assist senior season. The forward and co-captain had 12 power-play goals, which ranked second in the nation and moved up to 10th on the Mavericks' D1-era career scoring list.
• Junior defenseman Josh Nelson won the Unsung Hero Award for his consistent play and career-high numbers (5-9—14). I thought he might win Most Improved but that went to ...
• Freshman forward Taylor Herndon took Most Improved honors, as he performed admirably when Eli Zuck went down late in the season. (I always wonder what that award means. Is it improvement from one season to the next or over the course of a season. In this case, it was the latter.)
• Best Hustle or Hardest Worker went to defenseman Tyler Elbrecht. The senior co-captain also won this award in 2010-11 and has set a standard for what hustle and hard work mean at MSU.
• Star of the Year. This is based on the Three Stars of the Game Awards given out after every home game Points are given for the first second and third stars, and sophomore center Matt Leitner was at the top of the list at the end of the year. He edged Hayes, sophomore forward Johnny McInnis and freshman goalie Stephon Williams. Leitner finished the year as MSU's leading scorer with 47 points, including 30 assists.
Read MSU's release on the awards here.