March 14, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Buckeye senior goalie Brady Hjelle is a finalist for CCHA Player of the Year honors, while head coach Mark Osiecki is a finalist for the league's coach of the year honor, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association announced Thursday. The winners will be announced at the CCHA Awards March 22 at historic Fox Theater in downtown Detroit.
Hjelle, a native of International Falls, Minn., is joined by Miami sophomore forward Austin Dzarnik and Notre Dame junior forward Anders Lee as the three finalists for the CCHA Player of the Year award. Paul Pooley is the only Buckeye to win the award, capturing the 1984 CCHA Player of the Year title en route to All-America honors.
Hjelle, the 2013 First Team All-CCHA Goalie, had a league-high four shutouts, while his .937 save percentage and 1.89 goals-against average ranked second among CCHA goalies and first among goalies playing at least 50 percent of his team's minutes. Hjelle started 24 of the Buckeyes' 28 league games (including the last 22) and was a first or second star in 14 of those outings, earning the league's Perani Cup. He earned CCHA Goalie of the Week honors a league-high five times and was the goalie of the month in November. Overall, Hjelle is eighth in the NCAA with a .934 save percentage and 13th with a 2.00 goals-against average, ranking second and fourth in the CCHA, respectively.
Osiecki, in his third year at the helm of the Buckeyes, guided Ohio State to a fourth place finish in the CCHA standings, the highest finish for the Buckeyes since the 2004-05 squad finished second. In the league's preseason polls, Ohio State was predicted to finish sixth by the coaches and seventh by the media. The Buckeyes were 13-10-5-1 in CCHA play, the most wins for an Ohio State team in conference action since the 2008-09 squad was 13-11-4 and finished fifth.
Joining Osiecki as finalists for CCHA Coach of the Year are Enrico Blasi of Miami and Andy Murray of Western Michigan. Former Ohio State coaches Jerry Welsh (1983) and John Markell (1998) both received the CCHA Coach of the Year award.
CCHA postseason awards are selected by a vote of the league's head coaches and are based on performance in conference games. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players.
The Buckeyes return to action this weekend when they host Ferris State in a CCHA Tournament quarterfinal best-of-three series. The games are scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday (and Sunday if necessary) in the OSU Ice Rink. Single-game tickets are on sale and can be purchased online (http://go.osu.edu/CCHATix). Ohio State radio will carry the action over the air on 1460 AM and online at ESPNColumbus.com, with a free video stream on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Audio, video and live stats links are on the Buckeye hockey gameday page: http://go.osu.edu/mhkygameday.