Six Panthers are All-League; Russell repeats as Coach of the Year
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University was very well represented Wednesday when the 2012-13 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) men's ice hockey all-star teams were announced.
Five of the six players on the All-Conference First Team are from PSU, with an additional Panther named to the Second Team. Panther head coach Craig Russell was voted MASCAC Coach of the Year by his peers for the second straight season. The only non-Panther on the First Team is Fitchburg State University senior Joseph Caveney, who leads the nation in scoring and was voted MASCAC Player of the Year. The All- Conference Teams are voted on by the league's head coaches.
Senior defenseman Richie Zobak (Evergreen Park, Ill.) led the way for PSU, earning First Team All-Conference honors for the fourth straight season. The other First Team defenseman is PSU sophomore Zach Sarig (Reading, Pa.), a first-time selection, while Panther junior blue-liner Dave Walters (Ottawa, Ont.) was a Second Team Selection.
Senior goaltender Jack Astedt (Angelholm, Sweden) earned his third straight All-Conference selection and his second consecutive First Team nod. The Panthers were well-represented on the forward line with two First Team choices in seniors Kyle Greco (Hillside, Ill.) and Alex Cottle (West Chester, Pa.)
Plymouth State used outstanding defense to capture its second straight MASCAC regular season championship in 2012-13, led by Astedt in goal and the quartet of Zobak, Sarig, Walters, and senior captain JC Richardson (Fort Collins, Colo.) along the blue line. PSU has allowed just 57 goals in 26 games (2.10 per game) to lead the MASCAC in scoring defense and rank 13th in the country. Sarig (9-11-20), Walters (3-15-18) and Zobak (4-13-17) also rank 1-2-3 in the MASCAC for defenseman scoring.
Astedt continues to lead the MASCAC in all three primary categories -- goals against average (2.12), save percentage (.932) and winning percentage (.775, 15-4-1). He is also fifth in Division III in save percentage and tied for 14th in goals against average.
Cottle and Greco are 1-2 on the team in scoring, Cottle with eight goals and 24 assists to rank third in the league and Greco with 14 goals and 14 helpers to rank seventh. Both Panther skaters also went over the 100-point mark for their careers in the past month.
Russell earned his second straight top coaching honor to match PSU's second consecutive MASCAC regular season championship. The Panthers went 14-3-1 in conference play, and take a 19-6-1 overall record into this Saturday's MASCAC championship game against the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. PSU defeated Salem State, 3-2 in double overtime to win last year's MASCAC title, the first conference championship in the 40-year history of the program.
The 19 wins this season matches the Plymouth State program standard set by the 1986 team, which finished with a 19-7 overall mark. The Panthers are 12-1 at home this season and 33-8-2 at Hanaway Rink since the building opened in 2010.
The complete MASCAC All-Conference Teams for 2012-13 are here.
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