Denver, CC Big Winners at WCHA Awards

It was a Rocky Mountain-dominated WCHA awards ceremony Thursday.

Co-MacNaughton Cup champions Denver and Colorado College claimed five of the six spots on the All-WCHA first team as well as awards for the coach of the year, defensive player of the year and rookie of the year.

Colorado College forward Marty Sertich was named the league’s player of the year in balloting by team representatives and media members, while teammates Brett Sterling, a forward, and Curtis McElhinney, a goaltender, joined him on the first team.

Sertich, a junior, leads the nation with 61 points and scored 42 points in the 28-game league schedule. He also claimed the award as the league’s scoring leader, the second time in three years a CC player has earned that honor.

And Sertich, a Roseville, Minn., native, has a chance to follow in Peter Sejna’s footsteps again as one of 10 finalists named Thursday for the Hobey Baker Award.

“It’s exciting,” said Sertich, who joined Sterling and Michigan Tech’s Colin Murphy as Hobey finalists from the WCHA. “Winning and being one of 10 finalists is a big honor.”

Tigers junior Mark Stuart was named the league’s defensive player of the year.

Denver, meanwhile, had an awards bonanza of its own. Defensemen Matt Carle and Brett Skinner each were named to the first team, while George Gwozdecky was the league’s top coach and forward Paul Stastny claimed honors as the top rookie.

Gwozdecky, who led the Pioneers to the national championship last season, earned his third coaching honor. He credited his staff, including assistant coaches Steve Miller and Seth Appert.

“When an award like this comes around, you have to look at the many people who make it possible,” Gwozdecky said.

Michigan Tech’s Murphy also was named to the first team on the same day he signed a two-year contract with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs.

Minnesota State senior defenseman Steven Johns was named the league’s student-athlete of the year.

The full awards list follows:

All-WCHA first team: Forwards — Marty Sertich, jr., Colorado College; Brett Sterling, jr., Colorado College; Colin Murphy, sr., Michigan Tech. Defensemen — Matt Carle, so., Denver; Brett Skinner, jr., Denver. Goaltender — Curtis McElhinney, sr., Colorado College.

All-WCHA second team: Forwards — Gabe Gauthier, jr., Denver; Evan Schwabe, sr., Minnesota-Duluth; Robbie Earl, so., Wisconsin. Defensemen — Lars Helminen, so., Michigan Tech; Mark Stuart, jr., Colorado College. Goaltender — Bernd Brückler, sr., Wisconsin.

All-WCHA third team: Forwards — David Backes, so., Minnesota State; Ryan Potulny, so., Minnesota; Danny Irmen, so., Minnesota. Defensemen — Tom Gilbert, jr., Wisconsin; Matt Jones, sr., North Dakota. Goaltender — Cam Ellsworth, sr., Michigan Tech.

All-WCHA rookie team: Forwards — Joe Pavelski, Wisconsin; Paul Stastny, Denver; Travis Zajac, North Dakota. Defensemen — Alex Goligoski, Minnesota; Kyle Klubertanz, Wisconsin. Goaltender — Nathan Lawson, Alaska-Anchorage.

Player of the year: Marty Sertich, jr., Colorado College.

Student-athlete of the year: Steven Johns, sr., Minnesota State.

Defensive player of the year: Mark Stuart, jr., Colorado College.

Rookie of the year: Paul Stastny, fr., Denver.

Coach of the year: George Gwozdecky, Denver.