May 3, 2004
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s hockey team, the 2004 CCHA Mason Cup Champion as the league’s postseason tournament winner, held its annual awards banquet Saturday at The Blackwell in Columbus. The team awards were handed out, while the nine-member senior class also was honored.
Senior forward Paul Caponigri (Oak Park, Ill.) was voted the Bobby Brown Most Valuable Player by his teammates and also won the Leading Scorer Award. Caponigri ranked first for the Buckeyes with a career-best 39 points and tied for the team lead with a career-high 17 goals. He earned the Bill Beagan Trophy as the CCHA Super Six MVP after posting five points in the CCHA Super Six to help OSU to the title. Caponigri earned CCHA Player of the Month and honorable mention national player of the month honors in both November and March. He ended his career with 132 points in 154 games to rank 28th in program history.
Senior Doug Andress (Iroquois Falls, Ontario) was honored as the Joseph W. Smith Best Defensive Player. Andress was named the 2004 CCHA Best Defensive Defenseman, was an honorable mention all-league selection and earned Second Team All-USCHO honors. He played in all 42 games for the Buckeyes, posting a career-best 32 points and leading the squad with a team season-high and career-high 27 assists. He was second on the team with a +16 rating and ended the season sixth in the country among defensemen in points per game. He was named to the CCHA Super Six All-Tournament Team after posting a team-best nine points in the playoffs, including six in the three-game championship tourney. In his career, Andress posted 89 points to rank seventh all-time among Ohio State blueliners. He saw action in 161 games (including the last 148 consecutive) and ranks tied for second in OSU history for games played.
Freshman forward Bryce Anderson (Waterloo, Iowa) received the Most Improved Player Award by a vote of his teammates. Anderson played in 31 games on the year, posting 11 points on five goals and six assists. After a slow start to his collegiate career, Anderson came on strong after the holiday break, with 10 of his points coming after December. Defenseman Sean Collins (Troy, Mich.) was named the George Burke Most Valuable Freshman. Collins played in 41 games ending the season second among OSU rookies and third among Buckeye blueliners with 16 points, including 13 assists, and was +9 on the year. He earned CCHA Defensive Player of the Week accolades March 7.
Dave Steckel (West Bend, Wis.), a senior forward and alternate captain, won the Scarlet and Gray Award. The award is given to the most intense competitor, as voted on by the off-ice officials. Steckel ended the year tied for the team lead with 17 goals and had 30 points. He played a major role in both OSU’s power-play and penalty-killing units.
Sophomore alternate captain Nate Guenin (Aliquippa, Pa.) received the Center Ice Club Scholar-Athlete Award. He was named to the CCHA All-Academic Team by the league’s faculty representatives, the only non-senior and non-forward named to the team. Guenin, who was limited to 29 games because of injury, had a career-best 17 points, including 15 assists. He was a CCHA Defensive Player of the Week honoree during the season and was named to the Everblades College Classic All-Tournament Team, as well as earning honorable mention All-CCHA accolades.
The recipient of the Coaches Award was senior goalie Kelly Holowaty (Regina, Saskatchewan). Holowaty served as a backup goalie for the Buckeyes for four seasons, seeing action in six games for the squad. He played in one game this season, ending the CCHA tournament first-round series against Bowling Green and making two saves. Holowaty will graduate with a family financial management major this spring.
The Buckeye Sports Bulletin honored its annual Icers of the Month. The winners were: Dan Knapp (Rochester, Mich.), October and February; Caponigri, November and March; Guenin, December and Anderson, January.
The Buckeyes’ nine seniors – Andress, forward Daymen Bencharski (Beaverlodge, Alberta), goalie Mike Betz (Elizabeth, Pa.), Caponigri, Holowaty, forward Scott May (Surrey, British Columbia), forward Chris Olsgard (Seattle, Wash.), Steckel and defenseman Reed Whiting (Rochester, Mich.) – each were presented framed jerseys and were accepted into the OSU Hockey Alumni organization.
As a team, the Buckeyes ended the year 26-16-0 (16-12-0/4th CCHA), tied for the third highest win total in program history. The squad won three games at the CCHA Super Six Championship, including two overtime victories before beating two-time defending champion Michigan in the final game, to claim the Mason Cup championship. The title was the first for the Buckeyes since 1972. OSU’s season ended with a 1-0 overtime loss to Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA tournament, marking the squad’s second consecutive and fourth overall appearance in the national tourney.