WILDCATS EARN HONORS AT HOCKEY EAST BANQUET

DURHAM, N.H. - Senior captain Darren Haydar (Milton, Ont.) and freshman forward Sean Collins (Reading, Mass.) of the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team were named Hockey East Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year at the Hockey East Tournament Banquet at the Sonesta Hotel in Boston on Thursday night. Haydar was also named one of the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award that is presented annually to the top college hockey player in the nation. This marks the fifth consecutive year that a UNH Wildcat has been selected as one of the final 10 candidates.

In addition, UNH head coach Dick Umile was named Hockey East Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his UNH career. Umile also won the award in 1991, 1997 and 1999. The last time UNH swept the three major awards was in 1999 when Jason Krog earned Player of the Year, Haydar won Rookie of the Year and Umile was honored as Coach of the Year. Umile with 27 wins this season increased his career total to 276, which is second in the program's history to Charlie Holt (347).

Haydar in 36 games this year currently leads the nation with 1.94 points per game. He has posted 30 goals and 40 assists for 70 points in his senior year and presently ranks third on UNH's all-time scoring list with 213 career points.

Collins in his freshman campaign has notched 18-22-40 in 36 games and is currently the second leading rookie point scorer in the conference and in the nation. He is also one of the 10 finalists for the Walter Brown Award given annually to the top American-born college hockey player in New England.

Haydar and junior forward Colin Hemingway (Surrey, B.C.) were selected to the Hockey East First Team, while sophomore goaltender Michael Ayers (Hingham, Mass.) and junior defenseman Garrett Stafford (Los Angeles, Calif.) were Second Team selections. Collins was also named to the Hockey East Rookie Team, while Hemingway earned the ITECH Three Stars award and Ayers was honored as the Hockey East goaltending champion for posting the lowest GAA in league play (1.79).

Hemingway has played in all of UNH's 36 games and has registered 31-31-62 and ranks fourth in the nation with 1.72 points per game. Hemingway's 31 goals is best on the 'Cats squad and is second in the nation. He also leads the nation in game-winning goals with 10 and needs only three points to reach the 100 point mark in his UNH career.

Ayers owns a 13-2-1 record on the year with a 2.26 GAA and a .919 save percentage. He broke the Hockey East single-season save percentage record, which was previously held by former Wildcat Ty Conklin (.930 in 2000-2001), with a .938 in league play.

Stafford has been the quarterback of UNH's league best power play unit. He leads UNH defensemen with 26 points on five goals and 21 assists.

The top-ranked Wildcats (27-6-3) return to action March 15 in a Hockey East semifinal matchup against UMass-Lowell. Game time at the FleetCenter is 4 p.m. and the contest will be broadcast live by Fox Sports New England and the Wildcat Sports Network.


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