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Awards Presented at Team Banquet
At the Women's Ice Hockey Club's postseason banquet on Saturday at Kelly's Steakhouse in Boalsburg, PA, the team presented awards for the most valuable player, rookie of the year and player's player for the 2012-13 season. Here are the winners:
Team MVP - junior goaltender Katie Vaughan
The Pittsburgh native posted stellar numbers, including a 1.40 goals against average and a 0.943 save percentage, as well as a shutout of Michigan State on October 13, 2012 (she split two other shutouts with sophomore Sarah Eisenhut). As good as she was during the regular season, however, Vaughan may have been even better at the ACHA National Tournament in March. She stopped 89 of 92 shots in upsets of top-seeded Alaska and two of defending national champion Wisconsin-Stout as Penn State qualified for the national championship game in the club's first season. The Team MVP recognition follows a pair of 2012-13 ACHA honors: All-American Honorable Mention and Second Team All-Tournament.
Coach Fung on Vaughan: Katie Vaughan is no stranger to the Team MVP Award, having earned this distinction repeatedly through her teammates' votes with the former Lady Icers during her ACHA career. She has been the stalwart backstop for all teams throughout her career and was a critical cog in Team USA's performance at the 2011 World University Games in Erzurum, Turkey. As a coach it is a gift to have a goaltender and competitor of Katie's caliber and experience level to be the rock we lean on and obviously she played as big a role as anyone in our run at the National Tournament this year.
Co-Rookie of the Year - freshman forward Mandy Mortach
The second of Penn State's three ACHA All-American Honorable Mention honorees in 2012-13, Mortach scored four times in consecutive games bridging the semester break, in an 8-0 romp over Slippery Rock on December 9th and a 9-1 trouncing of Navy on January 13th, then twice more in the 3-1 win over Wisconsin-Stout during the ACHA national tournament's preliminary round. Just as importantly as her direct production was her knack for taking punishment to win the middle of the ice, create space for her linemates, and draw penalties - the Ontario Hockey Academy product was the likely team leader in frustrating opponents into hitting her with a stick.
Coach Fung on Mortach: Mandy Mortach is a throwback, a pedigree trained two way center that is well versed in the ugly details of the game - faceoffs, shot blocking, penalty killing and sacrificing her body to make a play. She was easily our most bruised and battered player and despite her diminutive size, never backed down from competing for a puck. She also had a knack for scoring the big goal, as exhibited by our preliminary game vs UW-Stout.
Co-Rookie of the Year - freshman forward Devon Fisk
Fisk burst on to the scene in her freshman season, leading the team in goals (15) and points (21). Her scoring total included three game-winning goals, one of which was a spectacular takeaway-and-bury effort that provided the margin in the 2-1 win over Alaska at nationals. She also scored the only goal in the 1-0 win over Michigan State in October and in PSU's 2-1 stunning January 26th victory over eventual national champion West Chester. Like Vaughan, Fisk's team award joins ACHA recognition, as the West Chester Quakers product was an All-American Honorable Mention and First Team All-Tournament.
Coach Fung on Fisk: Devon Fisk on the opposite line [from Mortach] was the perfect opposing compliment to Mandy. She is an athletic dynamo who creates ice vertically with her speed, strength and goal scoring ability. Players she couldn't beat wide with speed, she would create havoc by bulling her way to the net. She also made a strong commitment to the defensive side of the game as the season progressed and I anticipate she will be a tough matchup for many teams as her career progresses.
Player's Player - junior forward Carly Szyszko
Szyszko will do whatever it takes to help her team win - a fact she proved as a Lady Icer in 2010-2011 when playing goal for the temporarily shorthanded club. As the first captain in WIHC history, she scored five times, almost always in big situations. Szyszko had game winners on October 14, 2012 against MSU and on January 13th against Navy. Perhaps most appropriately when considering the nature of the award, she scored in a 3-3 tie with North Dakota State on March 8th at the ACHA national championships, then replied "whatever, as long as it counts for the team" when it was improperly credited to linemate Mortach. A tenacious penalty killer and relentless forechecker, Szyszko's influence on games extends beyond the scoresheet as well.
Coach Fung on Szyszko: Player's Player is hard to define sometimes, especially in a sport like hockey that places such high value on team play, unity and sacrifice. This season's award was an easy decision for Carly Szyszko's teammates. I've always thought Carly was an underrated player but she really stepped out of her comfort zone this year and became the captain of this young team. Her contributions are not always on the stat sheet, but Carly plays in every critical situation - PP, PK, goal lead, or goal behind and leads by example. She does all the little things well and doesn't always get credit for it; whether winning pucks on the wall or shutting off a critical lane on the PK. Most obvious is how much she cares about everyone involved with the team on and off the ice. Captains like Carly make my job as a coach very easy and it has been an honor watching her grow as a person, hockey player and leader the last few years.
Posted by Kyle Rossi