THREE NAMED NEW ENGLAND ALL STARS; BUTLER TAKES HOME NEW ENGLAND'S MVP, BEST FORWARD

Bobby Butler
NE All Star, NE MVP, NE Best Forward
Brian Foster
NE All Star
Blake Kessel
NE All Star

BOSTON – Senior forward Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.), of the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team, was selected as the Leonard Fowle Most Valuable Player for New England and the Herb Gallagher Award given to the Best Forward in New England. In addition, Butler, Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.) and Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.) were all named 2009-10 New England Men’s Division I All-Stars. The announcements were made on Friday (April 2) and will be presented at the New England Hockey Writers annual awards banquet on Tuesday, April 13 at the Prince Restaurant in Saugus, Mass.

Butler is the sixth UNH player to win the Leonard Fowle Award and the first since Kevin Regan (2008). Others honorees included Gordie Clark (1974), Ralph Cox (1979), Darren Haydar (2002) and Jason Krog (1999). In addition, Butler becomes the eighth Wildcat winner of the Herb Gallagher Award and is the first to take home the honor since Sean Collins did so in 2005.

Butler, who was recently named a Hobey Baker “Hat Trick” finalist, adds these two prestigious awards to an already lengthy list of 2009-10 accomplishments. Butler was the 2010 Hockey East Player of the Year, 2010 Walter Brown Award winner, Hockey East All-Star First Team, Hockey East Scoring Champion, Hockey East Three Stars Award winner and a Hobey Baker Top 10 finalist.

Butler enjoyed not only his best season as a Wildcat, but also arguably the greatest season by any Wildcat forward in recent history. Butler ranks first in the nation in goals with 29 and is tied for second nationally in points with 53. He finished second in goals per game at 0.74, fifth in points per game (1.36 ppg), 10th in short-handed goals (2) and 19th in game winners (4). The co-captain has been even better among Hockey East’s elite, ranking first overall in goals, third in points, seventh in power play goals, second in short-handed goals and third in game-winning tallies. In conference play, he finished first in points (41) and goals (21), and sixth in assists (20).

In addition, Butler becomes the first player in Hockey East to register 20 goals and 20 assists in league play since 1999 Hobey Baker winner Jason Krog of New Hampshire. Butler was one of just six male position players selected to represent the East Squad at the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four Skills Challenge. He was also a 2010 Hockey Humanitarian nominee for his efforts off the ice in the greater Durham community.

Foster, a 2009 Hockey East Honorable Mention selection, was a 2010 Hockey East All Star First team, a four-time Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week and earned Goalie of the Month in December and January. Hockey East’s ironman in net, Foster played in 38 of 39 games and ranked first in Hockey East in saves (1,128), minutes (2,297:10) and wins (17). In Hockey East play, Foster was in the top five in every netminding category with a 2.75 GAA (5th), .913 save percentage (4th), .653 win percentage (3rd) and 764 saves (2nd). Foster stopped a career-high 50 shots on March 14 against Vermont and allowed two goals or fewer on 16 occasions. Foster’s 1,128 saves in 2009-10 is second behind All-American Mike Ayers (1,139 - 2002-03) on UNH’s single season saves list.

Kessel, a 2009-10 Hockey East All Star First team honoree, anchored a youthful Wildcat defense as a sophomore. The blueliner ranks second in the nation in defensive scoring with 38 points. Kessel’s 28 assists are the most by a Wildcat blueliner since Jayme Filipowicz (30) in the 1998-99 season. In addition to his 28 assists, Kessel had a knack for scoring big goals, including a pair of late game-tying goals against Vermont and Boston College on back-to-back weekends and a dramatic game-winning goal against UMass-Lowell in early December. Kessel leads Hockey East in defensive scoring with 36 points and his 26 assists are fifth among all players in the league. He dished out a career-high four assists in a win over in-state rival Dartmouth College, earning co-MVP honors. In addition, Kessel was named a semifinalist for the Walter Brown award.

These honorees along with the rest of the Wildcats finished the 2009-10 campaign with an 18-14-7 overall record and qualified for the NCAA’s for the ninth-consecutive season. The team captured its third Hockey East regular season title in the last four years and advanced to the NCAA regional finals for the second-consecutive season.

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