Cornell was the big winner once again at the annual ECAC Awards Banquet, as the nation’s No. 2-ranked team swept at least a share of all major honors.
Mike Schafer made history, becoming the first ECAC coach to be named Coach of the Year in back-to-back seasons since the inception of the award in 1986-87. Schafer led the Big Red to their second straight Cleary Cup as regular-season champions, and a 26-4-1 record heading into the ECAC final four in Albany this weekend.
The Player of the Year Award will be shared for the first time in ECAC history, by Cornell goaltender Dave LeNeveu and Yale forward Chris Higgins. They become the first sophomores to win the award since Vermont’s Martin St. Louis in 1994-95. Higgins, a first-round pick of Montreal in last year’s NHL Draft, led his team with 20 goals and 41 points in 28 games this season.
LeNeveu didn’t have to share the Dryden Award. The second-round draft pick of the Phoenix Coyotes currently leads the nation in goals against average (1.14) and save percentage (.943). His eight shutouts broke a school single-season record previously held by the namesake of the award, NHL Hall of Famer Ken Dryden, and also tied the ECAC record held by Boston University’s Jack Ferriera (1965-66).
Smilar honors were bestowed upon the Big Red senior captains. Forward Stephen Baby became the second player ever to win back-to-back Defensive Forward of the Year Awards, joining Princeton’s Ian Sharp (1993-94, 94-95). And Doug Murray became the second straight Cornell backliner to win the Best Defensive Defenseman Award, following up Brian McMeekin’s honor last season.
The ECAC Rookie of the Year was awarded to Dartmouth’s Hugh Jessiman, who has 21 goals and 45 points in 32 games this season. He becomes the first Dartmouth player ever to win a major ECAC award of any kind.
These firsts coincide with the first-ever all-Ivy League final four in ECAC tournament history.
Coach of the Year – Mike Schafer, Cornell
Co-Players of the Year – David LeNeveu, Cornell and Chris Higgins, Yale
Defensive Forward of the Year – Stephen Baby, Cornell
Defensive Defenseman of the Year – Doug Murray, Cornell
Dryden Award – David LeNeveu, Cornell
Rookie of the Year – Hugh Jessiman, Dartmouth
ECAC All-Rookie Team
F Kevin Croxton, Rensselaer
F Hugh Jessiman, Dartmouth
F Jon Zeiler, St. Lawrence
D Sean Offers, Dartmouth
D Jaime Sifers, Vermont
G Kris Mayotte, Union
All-ECAC First Team
F Chris Higgins, Yale
F Dom Moore, Harvard
F Tim Pettit, Harvard
D Randy Jones, Clarkson
D Doug Murray, Cornell
G David LeNeveu, Cornell
All-ECAC Second Team
F Stephen Baby, Cornell
F Scooter Smith, Colgate
F Ryan Vesce, Cornell
D Trevor Byrne, Dartmouth
D Noah Welch, Harvard
G Yann Danis, Brown