Goaltender Mitch O'Keefe Earns Team Most Valuable Player Plaudits

Mitch O'Keefe
Mitch O'Keefe was selected as the Bulldogs' 2007-08 Most Valuable Player.
The 2007-08 Ferris State University men's ice hockey team, which turned in the program's highest victory total in the past five seasons, celebrated its many accomplishments Saturday (April 5) evening during the FSU Blue Line Club's Bulldog Hockey Awards Banquet in Big Rapids, Mich.

The annual event was held for the second consecutive year at the Falcon Head Golf Club.

Junior goaltender Mitch O'Keefe (Almonte, Ontario) was named the recipient of the team's Most Valuable Player Award. O'Keefe compiled a 10-8-5 mark this season with a 2.28 goals-against average (54 goals allowed) and a .920 save percentage (622 saves) as a starter in 22 of 24 outings played in. The 2005-06 FSU Rookie of the Year Award honoree was recognized as the Central Collegiate Hockey Association's (CCHA) Goaltender of the Week (Oct. 29). The 6-2, 218-pound netminder, who exhausted his collegiate eligibility this campaign, wrapped up his college career ranking second among Ferris State's all-time leaders in goals-against average (2.68), tied for second in shutouts (six), third in save percentage (.903), fifth in both victories (31) and minutes played (5,073), tied for fifth in games played (86), sixth in total saves (2,104), and eighth in winning percentage (.453).

O'Keefe, who had a tryout with the American Hockey League's (AHL) Grand Rapids Griffins in late March following the completion of his collegiate career, recently inked another amateur tryout contract with the Iowa Stars of the AHL through the end of the 2007-08 season.

Sophomore center-right wing Cody Chupp (Big Rapids) was presented with the Lloyd Earl Trophy as the team's top points leader and also received the Blue Line Competitive Award. Chupp paced the Bulldogs with a career-high 30 points with 11 goals and 19 assists in 39 games this season. The assistant captain also registered a squad-leading seven multiple-point games and tallied at least a point in 22 outings. Chupp, who was Ferris' Rookie of the Year Award winner a season ago, was bestowed with the Blue Line Competitive Award as a result of being the team's top competitor on a daily basis from off-ice conditioning, practice, and games as voted on by his teammates.

The Steve Banonis Memorial Most Improved Player Award was given to two players this season, junior right wing Justin Lewandowski (Naperville, Ill.) and sophomore left wing Blair Riley (Kamloops, British Columbia). Lewandowski produced a career-high and team seventh-best 16 points on 11 goals and five assists in 34 contests this season. His 2007-08 season points output exceeded his combined nine points (3-6=9) in 42 games in his initial two collegiate campaigns. Lewandowski produced at least a point in 14 encounters this season. Riley finished third among the team's scoring leaders with a career-best 24 points on 14 goals and 10 assists, which also were career highs, in 36 games. Riley, who totaled nine points (3-6=9) in 34 contests as a freshman last season, posted a squad third-most five multi-point game performances and chalked up at least a point in 16 outings. He led Ferris with three multi-assist game efforts this season.

Zach Redmond
Zach Redmond, the Bulldogs' top-scoring defenseman this season, received the FSU Rookie of the Year Award.

Freshman defenseman Zach Redmond (Traverse City) earned the Rookie of the Year Award as a result of leading all Bulldog defensemen in scoring with 19 points on six goals and 13 assists in 37 outings. He placed sixth in team scoring and generated the second most points among Ferris State's freshmen skaters. Redmond's three multi-point games tied for fourth most on the squad while his plus 14 efficiency rating tied for the Bulldogs' second-highest plus/minus output. He was one of three FSU freshmen to attain CCHA All-Rookie Team Honorable Mention accolades.

The winner of the Plus/Minus Award was freshman defenseman Scott Wietecha (Wolverine Lake), who generated a team-best plus 16 efficiency rating in 36 2007-08 season appearances. Wietecha also produced a team eighth-most 15 points with four goals and 11 helpers to go with a pair of multiple-point game performances.

Sophomore center Aaron Lewicki (Livonia) picked up the Scholar-Athlete Award for having the highest grade point average on the team. A finance major, Lewicki was tabbed as the Bulldogs' 2007-08 CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year representative and the team's nominee for the CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. Lewicki concluded the season with four goals and nine assists for 13 points in 39 games to rank tied for ninth in team scoring.

Dr. Scott Grindel and Bob Boyce were chosen as the recipients of the FSU Blue Line Club Recognition Award for their numerous contributions to the Bulldog hockey program. Dr. Grindel presently serves as the hockey program's physician while Boyce is the supervisor of Ferris State's off-ice officials and a longtime FSU Blue Line Club member.

Ferris State concluded the 2007-08 season with an 18-16-5 overall record as the Bulldogs posted a fifth-place 12-12-4 CCHA mark (28 points) under 16th-year head coach Bob Daniels. Ferris State's 18 victories and fifth-place league finish were the program's highest since the 2002-03 season. The Bulldogs also payed tribute to their seven seniors -- center-right wing Matt Frank (Billings, Mont.), defenseman Jim Jorgensen (Sault Ste. Marie), goaltender Derek MacInytre (Stanwood), center Adam Miller (Livonia), defenseman Alex Spezia (Farmington Hills), and defenseman Adam Welch (Hastings, Minn.). Welch was a three-time (2005-08) team captain while Frank and Spezia were assistant captains this campaign. Frank also served in that capacity for the 2006-07 season.

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