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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Zac Dalpe, a sophomore forward on the Ohio State men’s hockey team, is a finalist for the RBC Financial Group CCHA Player of the Year Award, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association announced Thursday. Dalpe, from Paris, Ontario, is joined in the top three by Miami sophomore goalie Cody Reichard and Erik Gustafsson, a junior defenseman for Northern Michigan.

The winner will be announced at the RBC CCHA Awards Banquet March 18 at Fox Theater in Detroit. The conference awards are voted on by the league’s 12 head coaches, who were not able to vote for their own players. Voting is based on play in league games only.

Dalpe, from Paris, Ontario and a second-round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, was named First Team All-CCHA earlier this week, the first Buckeye selected to the all-league first team since All-American R.J. Umberger in 2003. Paul Pooley is the only Buckeye to earn the CCHA player of the year award, as he was honored in 1984.

A finalist for CCHA Rookie of the Year honors last season, Dalpe finished conference play tied for first with 17 goals and ranked second with 34 points. The CCHA Player of the Month in January, Dalpe, who earned CCHA All-Rookie Team honors, leads the Buckeyes with 40 points and 20 goals, ranking first (tied) in the league overall in goals and fifth (tied) in points in all games while playing in all 36 games. An alternate captain, he has points in 26 games this year, with nine multiple-point outings (including two four-point nights).

The Buckeyes head to Oxford, Ohio, to take on No. 2-ranked Miami in the CCHA quarterfinals this weekend, with the best-of-three series winner advancing to the CCHA Championship at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The teams will meet at 7:35 p.m. Friday and at 7:05 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (if necessary).