REGAN UNANIMOUSLY SELECTED AS HOCKEY EAST PLAYER OF THE YEAR; ONE OF SEVEN WILDCATS HONORED AT ANNUAL LEAGUE BANQUET
CAMBRIDGE, Mass – Senior goaltender Kevin Regan (South Boston, Mass.), of the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team, was unanimously selected as the 2008 Hockey East Player of the Year at the annual league banquet at the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Thursday night in Cambridge. In addition, the Wildcats had a record three First-Team All-Hockey East selections, an additional two on the league’s Second Team, one All-Rookie selection and the league’s Best Defensive Defenseman.
      Regan, who becomes the second-straight goaltender to earn the league’s top honor, is the first Wildcat to earn the league’s Player of the Year honors since Steve Saviano in 2004. Regan’s accolades speak for themselves as he has garnered Defensive Player of the Week six times this season, Co-Player of the Week once and Goalie of the Month for February. Regan was also a unanimous First-Team All-Hockey East selection.
At 23-6-1, Regan is the first goaltender in UNH history to post back-to-back 20-win seasons. His .934 save percentage is the second-best single-season mark in school history, trailing only his own .935 effort from last season. Regan’s 23 wins and 2.07 goals-against-average rank him fourth on UNH’s single-season lists in those respective categories. Regan has won 13 of his last 14 games, including an unbeaten month of February when he was 7-0-1.
    The assistant captain has been even better against Hockey East opponents, posting an 18-4-1 record to go along with a 1.83 GAA and a .940 save percentage. The 18 wins and .940 save percentage are the second-best marks in a single Hockey East season. In his last 18 games versus Hockey East foes, Regan has compiled a 16-1-1 record with a 1.55 GAA, .952 save percentage and three shutouts.
    In the conference, Regan ranks at the top of all the major goaltending categories both overall and in Hockey East play. Regan is first in GAA, save percentage, wins, shutouts (3/3 HE) and winning percentage (.783/.804 HE). Nationally, Regan stands with the elite as he ranks second in save percentage, fourth in winning percentage and ninth in GAA.
Other UNH Players of the Year include Jason Krog (1999), Ty Conklin (2000 – co), Darren Haydar (2002), Mike Ayers (2003 – co) and Saviano.
Regan was not the only Wildcat collecting major hardware; junior defensman Joe Charlebois (Potsdam, N.Y.) was named the Old Time Hockey Best Defensive Defenseman. Charlebois is just the second UNH player to ever win this award; Steve O’Brien the honor took home in its inaugural season in 1999. Charlebois tallied one goal and eight assists for nine points. However, he has a team-best plus/minus rating of +25, including a +7 in last weekend’s quarterfinal series with Massachusetts.
    Overall, the Wildcats made up half of the Hockey East First Team. Joining Regan on the league’s First Team is senior forward Mike Radja (Yorkville, Ill.) and senior defenseman Brad Flaishans (Glendale, Ariz.).
Radja ranks 12th nationally in scoring at 1.25 ppg, third in game-winning goals with six and 15th in goals at 1.25 gpg. Radja broke out in February when he was named National Player of the Month. Radja recorded 16 points (5g, 11a) as he tallied at least a point in all eight games lifting the Wildcats to their first unbeaten February (7-0-1) in over 80 years.
    Flaishans is among the top offensive defensemen in Hockey East, ranking third in scoring at 0.63 ppg (5g, 17a). He’s the leading scorer among UNH defenseman and has a +9 rating this season.
While half of the First Team was made up of Wildcats, two additional players composed a third of Hockey East’s Second Team as Matt Fornataro (Calgary, Alberta) and Craig Switzer (Peachland, B.C.) take home all-league honors for the first time in their career.
    Fornataro is the team’s leading scorer and ranks ninth nationally at 1.25 ppg. In addition, Fornataro ranks 15th nationally in assists (0.56 apg) and was Hockey East Player of the Week once and was the league’s Player of the Month in October. A nominee for Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, Fornataro most recently added to his resume by tallying his first career hat trick in his final game at the Whittemore Center on March 15.
    Switzer, who has made his career by being one of the league’s best passers, has become one of the top-scoring defensemen in UNH history. Switzer ranks seventh in Hockey East in defenseman scoring at 0.56 ppg, which rank 22nd nationally. UNH’s iron man on the defense, Switzer has played in 156-straight games just two shy of the program record set by Darren Haydar (158).
    Highly touted freshman James vanRiemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) was everything the Wildcats expected as he was named to Hockey East’s All-Rookie team.  Hockey East Player of the Month in January and a semifinalist for the Walter Brown award, vanRiemsdyk is the team’s leader in rookie scoring despite missing four games for the World Junior Championship. vanRiemsdyk was the tournament’s leading scorer overseas and led USA to a fourth-place finish. vanRiemsdyk rankes fifth nationally in rookie scoring at 1.0 ppg.
    These honorees and the rest of the Wildcats (25-8-3, 19-5-3 HE) will return to action Friday, March 21 at 5 p.m. when they face seventh-ranked Boston College (19-11-8, 11-9-7 HE) in the Hockey East semifinals at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston on NESN.
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