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Rochester, N.Y. – The Atlantic Hockey Association handed out awards for the 2013-14 season on Thursday night at the league's annual championship weekend reception at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y.
The receptions serves as the opening ceremony for the Atlantic Hockey championship weekend, which will take place Friday and Saturday, also at Blue Cross Arena.
The majority of the awards are based on voting between the league's 12 head coaches. The final three trophies – the scoring title, regular season goaltending trophy and team sportsmanship award – are awarded based on in-conference statistics.
Mercyhurst goaltender Jimmy Sarjeant took home top honors as the Atlantic Hockey Association Player of the Year. Justin Danforth of Sacred Heart earned Rookie of the Year honors, and Mercyhurst head coach Rick Gotkin was voted Coach of the Year.
Sarjeant becomes the third goaltender to be named AHA Player of the Year in league history. It is also the second-straight season a goaltender has won the award. Sarjeant posted a 14-0-5 record, with a 2.00 goals against average, .943 save percentage and one shutout. He played a key role in helping the Lakers win the regular season title and earn the top seed in the Atlantic Hockey tournament.
Danforth led the Pioneers in scoring during his rookie campaign with 28 points, netting five goals along with 23 assists. He also finished the season tied for points in league games amongst rookies, helping Sacred Heart win 10 more games than they did last season.
In his 26th season at the helm of the Mercyhurst men's program, Gotkin led his team to a 17-4-6 record in conference play, earning the AHA regular season trophy and the number one seed in the tournament. This is his first time being named Atlantic Hockey Coach of the Year.
Mercyhurst's Dan O'Donoghue was named the league's top defensive forward, recognized by the league's coaches for his strong play against the opposition's top scorers, as well as his work on special teams. O'Donoghue scored nine goals and added 17 helpers for 26 points. Another Laker, Nick Jones, was named the top defenseman in the league, scoring 23 points on four goals and 19 assists, while posting a plus-18 rating.
Two players were selected by the coaches for the Individual Sportsmanship Award, which is given to players that show class not only to his opponents, but to league officials as well. Jason Fabian from the Air Force Academy, and Nick Jones from Mercyhurst both received the honor this season. Fabian posted just four penalty minutes this season, with seven goals and nine assists. Jones scored four goals and added 19 assists, with a plus-18 rating and eight penalty minutes.
The final three honors, listed below, are based on statistics and are not voted on by the coaches. Bentley's Brett Gensler earned the Atlantic Hockey Association Scoring Trophy. Gensler scored 40 points, 15 goals and 25 assists, in conference games this season.
The regular season goaltending trophy was awarded to Mercyhurst's Jimmy Sarjeant. Sarjeant posted a 14-0-5 record, with a 2.00 goals against average, .943 save percentage and one shutout. He played a key role in helping the Lakers win the regular season title and earn the top seed in the Atlantic Hockey tournament.
The final award not voted on by the coaches is the team sportsmanship award. This season, American International College earned the award after averaging a league-low eight penalty minutes per game.
The Atlantic Hockey Association championship weekend kicks off tomorrow, with two semi-final games. Top-seed Mercyhurst will face Canisius in the first game, set for 4:05 p.m. Robert Morris and Niagara will then square off in the second game, with faceoff scheduled for an hour after the end of the first game.