April 8, 2013

Former Laker Zapolski Named ECHL's Most Valuable Player

Courtesy of Mercyhurst Athletic Communications

Former Mercyhurst men's hockey goaltender Ryan Zapolski has been named the 2012-13 CCM East Coast Hockey League's (ECHL) Most Valuable Player as announced by the league office late Friday. It marks the third major postseason honor given to Zapolski this season.

The CCM Most Valuable Player award is presented annually to the player selected to be the most valuable to his team as determined in a vote of ECHL coaches, broadcasters, media relations directors, and media members.

Zapolski joins Frederic Cloutier (Louisiana, 2001-02) as the only players in ECHL history to win Rookie of the Year, Goaltender of the Year, and Most Valuable Player in the same season. He is the first rookie to win MVP honors since Cincinnati's David Desharnais in 2007-08, and joins Cloutier and Scott Stirling (Atlantic City, 2003-04) as the only goaltenders to be named ECHL Most Valuable Player.

The former Laker has also been named to the ECHL's All-Rookie Team and the All-First Team, which were both announced last week.

The 26-year-old led the ECHL with a 1.64 goals-against average, a .942 save percentage and eight shutouts, while finishing tied for second with 27 wins and fifth with 2,378 minutes played. He set a new ECHL single-season record for lowest goals-against average, while tying the mark for most shutouts in a season and tying the second best save percentage in league history. Zapolski also earned Most Valuable Player honors at the 2013 ECHL All-Star Game, stopping all 17 shots he faced in the second period of the ECHL All-Star 7-3 win against Colorado.

A native of Erie, Pa., Zapolski allowed two goals or less in 32 of his 38 appearances this season, and was at his best down the stretch going 12-3-2 over his last 17 games with five shutouts, a 1.22 goals-against average and a save percentage of .960.

Zapolski last played for the Lakers during the 2010-11 season, finishing the year with a 13-14-3 record and a 2.84 goals against average. He finished his four-year career at Mercyhurst with a 48-43-11 record, a 2.77 goals against average, and a.920 save percentage. He had eight shutouts in his four seasons with the Lakers.

He holds the Division I record at Mercyhurst with 3,360 saves and his .920 career save percentage is also tops in the Lakers' D-I record books. His career 2.77 goals against average ranks second only to current Mercyhurst assistant coach, Peter Aubry, who posted a 2.45 goals against average in his four seasons.