HOUGHTON - Sophomore forward Blake Pietila was named the Merv Youngs Award winner as Michigan Tech hockey's 2012-13 most valuable player as the Huskies handed out their awards at a team meal this week. A total of nine players earned awards at the event.
Pietila (Milford, Mich.) posted 14 goals and 10 assists for 24 total points in 35 games this past season. He logged ice time in all situations as he played key roles on both the Huskies' power play and penalty kill.
Two senior defensemen - Steven Seigo (Edenwold, Sask.) and Carl Nielsen (Amherst, Ohio) - shared the Gitzen-Loutit Award emblematic of the team's outstanding defenseman. The players represent the last two to earn the award (Seigo in 2011-12 and Nielsen in 2010-11). Seigo, an assistant captain, notched six goals and 11 assists to finish his career with 75 total points-tied for 14th most by a Tech blueliner. He played in all 37 games this season and all 150 possible contests in his career.
Michigan Tech sophomore Blake Pietila poses for a picture in front of a giant American flag unfurled in his honor before a Jan. 18 home game against Bemidji State at MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Pietila, who played for the winning U.S. team at the World Junior Championship, recently received the Merv Youngs Award as the Huskies’ most valuable player of the 2012-13 season. (DMG photo by David Archambeau)
Nielsen served as team captain and recorded five points on a goal and four assists. He also played in every one of Tech's 37 contests in 2012-13.
The Elov Seger Memorial Award for the most improved player went to freshman defenseman Walker Hyland. The Woodbury, Minn., native didn't see his first game action until Nov. 17, but played in 23 of the team's final 28 games including each of the final 11. He totaled eight points (two goals, six assists) and was a member of the Huskies' power play.
Rookie Alex Petan claimed both the Norbert Matovich Memorial Award (outstanding freshman) and Gary Crosby Memorial Award (leading scorer). The Delta, B.C., native tallied a team-high 34 points on 14 goals and 20 assists. He finished as the WCHA's top rookie scorer and earned a spot on the All-WCHA Rookie Team.
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The Harold Meese Sportsmanship Award was handed to sophomore Tanner Kero (Hancock). The center tied for fourth on the team in scoring with 24 points on 11 goals and 13 assists.
Academic awards were presented to both Kevin Genoe (Qualicum, B.C.) and Bradley Stebner (Fort McMurray, Alta.). Genoe earned the George McCarthy Performance Award for Scholastic and Athletic Achievement with a 3.72 grade point average in civil engineering. The senior goaltender posted a 3-3-3 record in 12 total appearances with a 3.16 goals against average and .903 save percentage.
Stebner claimed the John MacInnes Slide Rule Award with his 4.00 GPA in biological sciences. He tallied 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) in 35 games on the season and served as assistant captain.
The Rick Yeo Unsung Hero Award was presented to Dennis Rix (Grande Prairie, Alb.) for the second straight year. The center played in all 37 games with six goals and five assists.