Ayers, Ruggerio Win USA Hockey Awards

USA Hockey has named Harvard’s Angela Ruggerio as its women’s player of the year and New Hampshire’s Mike Ayers as its men’s college player of the year on Wednesday. The award goes to those deemed the top U.S.-born players. They’ll be honored June 13-14 at the USA Hockey’s annual meeting in Colorado Springs.

Ruggiero, a junior, is a two-time U.S. Olympic medalist. She helped lead Harvard to the ECAC regular-season championship and the runner-up spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Ruggiero finished fourth in the nation in scoring with 83 points, and third in the country with 54 assists. She led all defensemen in nearly every offensive category, as her 2.44 points-per-game average was more than a point better than the second-best defenseman. She anchored a Crimson defense that allowed just 1.47 goals per game, the best in the country.

Ruggiero was named first-team All-American and was one of three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, presented by The USA Hockey Foundation to the top women’s collegiate player in the nation. In February, she also was named to the 2003 U.S. Women’s National Team for the fifth time.

Ayers, also a junior, led New Hampshire to its fourth Frozen Four appearance in six years, and the school’s second appearance in the national championship game.

Ayers was second team All-America. He had a 28-6 record, with a 2.18 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. He broke single-season school records for wins (28), saves (1,139), shutouts (seven), games played (41) and minutes played (2,499).

Other award winners include:

Dave Peterson Goaltender of the Year is Dominic Vicari of the USHL’s River City Lancers. Vicari led all goaltenders in the league with 28 victories, a 2.03 goals-against average and six shutouts. He’ll play for Michigan State next year.

USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year is Ryan Potulny of the USHL’s Lincoln Stars. Potulny led the USHL with 78 points in 54 games. He’ll join his older brother, Grant, at Minnesota in the fall.

The Bob Johnson Award winner is Ryan Suter of the U.S. National Under-18 Team. He was the leading scorer among defensemen on the team. He’ll join Wisconsin’s hockey team this fall.