COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s hockey team held its annual awards banquet Saturday at The Blackwell in Columbus. The team awards were handed out, while the three members of the team’s senior class, Nick Biondo, Corey Elkins and Zach Pelletier, each were honored with framed jerseys and gave farewell speeches. Elkins, a forward, picked up three awards, with freshman defenseman Matt Bartkowski receiving two trophies.
Elkins, from West Bloomfield, Mich., was voted the Robert “Bobby” Brown Most Valuable Player by his teammates and won the Leading Scorer Award, along with receiving the Center Ice Club Scholar-Athlete Award. Elkins led the squad with a career-high 18 goals, 23 assists and 41 points, the first 40-point year for a Buckeye since 2005, and tied for the team lead with a +24 mark. He saw action in all 42 games, posting a point in 27. He was the Most Valuable Player of the Ohio Hockey Classic, earning all-tournament team honors, and was honored as the CCHA Offensive Player of the Week Jan. 19. He finished the year fifth in the CCHA in points, fourth in goals and 12th in assists. In his career, he skated in 102 career games, with 27 goals, 33 assists and 60 points. Elkins earned his bachelor’s degree in history at the end of winter quarter and will be a four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. He was the recipient of the team’s CCHA Scholar-Athlete honor. Following the season, Elkins signed a contract with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. Head coach John Markell awarded Elkins the MVP trophy, former Buckeye Chris Olsgard (01-04) presented Elkins with the leading scorer award and John Macko, the team’s academic counselor, presented the scholar-athlete trophy.
Bartkowski, a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., was voted the George Burke Most Valuable Freshman and the Joseph W. Smith Best Defensive Player by his teammates. He was voted to the CCHA All-Rookie Team, becoming the first Buckeye defenseman to earn a spot on the squad since Jason Crain in 1999. Bartkowski was a two-time CCHA Rookie of the Week (Oct. 26, Jan. 19), the first Ohio State blueliner to be so honored since Johann Kroll Jan. 2, 2005. He played in 41-of-42 games and had five goals, 15 assists and 20 points, ranking second among defensemen in points and becoming the first Buckeye freshman defenseman with 20 points since Kyle Hood had 21 in 2005 and just the third since 2001 (Doug Andress, 21 in 2001). Bartkowski, who will be named an Ohio State Scholar-Athlete as an engineering major, ranked ninth among CCHA freshmen in scoring, standing second among rookie defensemen and tying for 12th among all defensemen. Olsgard presented the freshman award, with current Buckeye video coordinator JB Bittner, the team’s best defensive player in 2005, presented Bartkowski with the defensive honor.
Sophomore goalie Dustin Carlson, from Forest Lake, Minn., was named the Most improved Player. He played in 39 games, including 33 of last 34, with 2.50 goals-against and .917 save percentage, after seeing action in just nine as a freshman last year. He had 21 wins, tying for fourth in program history in a single season, and was the first with 20 wins since Dave Caruso in 2005. Carlson’s 1,014 saves rank fifth in program history for a single season and his 2206:15 minutes played ranks fourth for a Buckeye in a single campaign. Carlson’s save percentage ranked 24th in the NCAA this season and tied for fourth for a Buckeye in a single year, while his season goals-against average was 25th in the nation and eighth-best for a Buckeye. Carlson was the CCHA and NCAA Player of the Month in November and a two-time CCHA Goalie of the Week (Nov. 10, Jan. 6). He was named to the Ohio Hockey Classic All-Tournament Team and was Ohio State’s Perani Cup winner, based on three stars of the game selections during conference play. Caruso presented Carlson with his trophy.
Freshman defenseman Sean Duddy, from Ann Arbor, Mich., received the Coaches Award, presented by Markell. Duddy was honored for his hard work throughout the year, on the ice, in rehab and in the classroom. The rookie played in 22 games before suffering a broken leg at Alaska Jan. 30 that ended his season. He was dedicated to his rehab and also was a standout in the classroom, with a team-high grade-point average. He will be named an Ohio State Scholar-Athlete.
Pelletier was the recipient of the Scarlet and Gray Award, which is given annually to the most intense competitor as voted by the off-ice officials. Pelletier, who served as a team co-captain, played in a career-high 37 games, with a personal-high five goals, four assists and nine points. Pelletier will be named an Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and earned his criminology degree in Spring 2008. Peter Berryman, an off-ice official, handled the presentation.
The Buckeye Sports Bulletin presented co-captains Pelletier and Peter Boyd with the Ohio Cup trophy, given annually to the Ohio-based Division I hockey team with the best record against its instate opponents. The BSB also honored its annual Icers of the Month. The winners were John Albert (October), Carlson (November), Shane Sims (December), Elkins (January), Sergio Somma (February) and Kyle Reed (March). BSB’s Frank Moskowitz and Jeff Svoboda were the presenters.
Former Buckeye Kurt Brown (1993-96) served as master of ceremonies for the event, which wrapped up with highlight videos of the season and the seniors, created by Joe Murphy, who was the team’s video coordinator from 2005-08 and volunteered time with the squad this year.