DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire men's hockey program has announced that junior forwards Steve Saviano (Reading, Mass.) and Patrick Foley (Milton, Mass.) will serve as co-captains for the 2003-2004 season. Junior goaltender Mike Ayers (Hingham, Mass.) took home Most Valuable Player honors at the annual team banquet held on Saturday, April 19th at the Whittemore Center Arena.
UNH hockey will have co-captains for the first time since 1999-2000, when former Wildcats Mike Souza and Dan Enders shared the duties for the 'Cats. Foley, only the third junior captain in school history, along with Saviano make up the strong senior leadership presence for the Wildcats next season. Saviano, who was tabbed as the Ted Karmeris Fan Favorite and the Bob Kullen Unsung Hero, recorded 39 points which ranked third on the 'Cats squad, while classmate Foley registered 8 goals and10 assists for 18 points.
Ayers, a Second-Team All-America selection and the Co-Hockey East Player of the Year, was named the Roger A. LeClerc MVP of the 2002-2003 season. He finished the season with a 27-8-6 record (2.18 GAA, .926 save%), while shattering the Wildcat single-season record book for wins, minutes (2499), saves (1139), save percentage and shutouts (7). Ayers also tied the school record for career shutouts with eight and ranked second in the nation in saves. Ayers also finished third in GAA and save percentage among the Div. I leaderboard.
Senior forward Lanny Gare (Vernon, B.C.) received the Guy Smith Best Offensive Player Award, as well as the Warren Brown Best Defensive Forward Award. Gare, a Second-Team All-America selection and a First-Team Hockey East All-Star, tallied a single-season and team-high 51 points in his senior campaign. He ranked 16th in the nation in points and 22nd in points per game a 1.27.
Sophomore forward Preston Callander (Regina, Sask.) earned Most Improved Player honors this season with a 29 point effort in his second season as a Wildcat, more than doubling his point total of 12 points from his freshman year.
Junior Mike Lubesnick (Northbrook, Ill.) was the recipient of the Rod Langway Best Defenseman Award, while senior defenseman Kevin Truelson (Avon, Mass.) received the Charles Holt Coaches Award. Sophomore forward Matt Hoppe (E. Lansing, Mich.) earned the Sid Knight Award, which is given to the Wildcat player with highest grade point average. Lubesnick posted a career single-season high of 13 points in 2002-2003, which ranked second among Wildcat defenders, while playing in 41 of UNH's 42 games. Truelson, one of two senior blueliners on the 'Cats squad, notched 10 points in 35 games.
Junior captain Ben Eaves of the Boston College men's hockey team was selected as the Most Worthy Opponent as voted on by the Wildcat players.
UNH finished the season with a 28-8-6 record and a 15-5-4 record in league play. The Wildcats made their second national title game appearance in school history and earned a trip to the Frozen Four for the fourth time in the last six years. UNH also won the Hockey East regular-season and tournament title for the second straight season, which marked the first Hockey East team to accomplish that feat since Boston University in 1994 and 1995.
Full Listing of UNH Awards
2003-2004 Captains - Patrick Foley, Steve Saviano
Roger LeClerc Most Valuable Player - Mike Ayers
Guy Smith Best Offensive Player - Lanny Gare
Rod Langway Best Defenseman Award - Mike Lubesnick
Most Improved Player - Preston Callander
Warren Brown Best Defensive Forward - Lanny Gare
Ted Karmeris Fan Favorite - Steve Saviano
Bob Kullen Unsung Hero - Steve Saviano
Charles E. Holt Coaches Award - Kevin Truelson
Sid Knight Academic Award - Matt Hoppe
Most Worthy Opponent - Ben Eaves