Thursday night at the league’s annual awards banquet, Michigan State goaltender Chad Alban was honored as the CCHA’s Player of the Year.
Alban, who led the conference in league goals-against average (1.63) and save percentage (.922), played 1,622 league minutes in net for the regular-season champion Spartans en route to becoming the CCHA’s all-time leader in career shutouts. He is the first netminder in a decade to win the award, topping the balloting 82-67 over runner-up Bill Muckalt of Michigan.
Rookie of the Year honors went to Notre Dame defenseman Mark Eaton, who tallied 26 points while leading the Irish in plus/minus. He narrowly defeated Ohio State goaltender Jeff Maund in balloting for the award. Also, OSU head coach John Markell, who led the Buckeyes to a third-place conference finish (their best since 1984), was named CCHA Coach of the Year, receiving nine of 11 first-place votes.
Michigan State forward Bryan Adams was the winner of the Terry Flanagan Memorial Award, for a player who overcomes personal adversity on and off the ice. Adams came back this year after undergoing surgery for a herniated disk, an injury sustained during the 1996-97 season.
Additionally, Lake Superior’s Terry Marchant was named Best Defensive Forward, Miami’s Dan Boyle took home the award for Best Offensive Defenseman, and Michigan State’s Tyler Harlton was named Best Defensive Defenseman. All three were clear-cut winners, with the closest voting coming as Marchant topped Michigan’s Bobby Hayes, 62-37.