BUTLER, FOSTER AND KESSEL TABBED ALL-AMERICANS

Bobby Butler
All-America First Team

Brian Foster
All-America Second Team
Blake Kessel
All-America Second Team

DETROIT – Senior forward Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.), senior netminder Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.) and sophomore defenseman Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.) of the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team, were selected to the Division I RBK All-America team on Friday night as chosen by the American Hockey Coaches Association at the Frozen Four at Ford Field in Detroit. Butler was named a first team All America selection, while Foster and Kessel were both tabbed second team All-America.

Butler, who was recently named a Hobey Baker “Hat Trick” finalist, adds this 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, a New England All Star, Leonard Fowle Award winner (NE MVP) and Herb Gallagher Award winner (NE’s best forward).

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 was 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).

Foster, a 2009 Hockey East Honorable Mention selection, was a New England All-Star, 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, who was a New England All-Star selection, ranked 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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