COLUMBUS, Ohio Corey Elkins and Zach Pelletier, senior forwards on the Ohio State men’s hockey team, have been selected as candidates for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, the organization announced Tuesday. There are 20 candidates in all, representing 18 schools. Ohio State and Notre Dame are the only schools with more than one nominee.

The award is presented annually to an NCAA Division I student-athlete in nine sports based on achievements in the “Four C’s” of classroom, character, community and competition. CLASS is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award was launched in 2001 to honor the attributes of college basketball seniors who fulfill their entire athletic eligibility and pursue the many rewards of a senior season and complete college education.

From the list of nominees, a national media committee will select 10 finalists in February. Those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote. In addition to voting by Division I head coaches and national media, fans also will be able to submit ballots by text voting or online at  Lowe’s, an official corporate partner of the NCAA, will present the winner with the trophy at the 2009 NCAA Frozen Four in Washington D.C. 

Elkins, from West Bloomfield, Mich., is a history major. He is a three-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. Through 18 games this year he shares the team scoring lead this season with a career-best 17 points, including a personal-high 11 assists. He also is a career-best +8. Elkins has played in 78 games for the Scarlet and Gray, with 15 goals, 21 assists and 36 points.

China Village, Maine, native Pelletier earned his bachelor’s degree in criminology in Spring 2008. A fifth-year senior after sitting out last year with an injury, he is serving as a team co-captain this year. He has played in 15 games in 2008-09, with a career-high two goals and career-high tying three points. He has skated in 65 games for the Scarlet and Gray, with three goals and seven points in his career.

The Buckeyes return to action this weekend with the fifth-annual Ohio Hockey Classic in Value City Arena. The tournament opens Friday with first-round matchups between Miami and Clarkson at 5:05 p.m. and Ohio State and Army at 8:05 p.m. The second day includes championship and consolation games Saturday, with first-round winners and losers facing off. Ohio State will play at 8:05 p.m. against either the RedHawks or Golden Knights. Army will play the other team in the early game at 5:05 p.m.  The Buckeyes enter the tournament 11-6-1 on the year. The team is on a six-game winning streak and has won nine of its last 10 games.