Miami and Western Michigan dominated the All-Conference selections. - WMU Media File
Miami, Western Michigan, and Bowling Green combined to produce seven of the twelve CCHA All-Conference players, led by Miami's Riley Barber and Austin Czarnik and Western Michigan's Dan DeKeyser on the First Team. Miami and Western also combined for four of the seven All-Rookie Team members.
The CCHA announced its First and Second All-Conference Teams for the 2012-13 season, its final season ever. Seven schools in total were represented by the twelve players, but it was MAC schools leading the way with seven combined players from Miami, Western Michigan, and Bowling Green. (Other schools represented: Ohio State - 2, Michigan - 1, Notre Dame - 1, Alaska - 1.) The teams were chosen by the conference coaches based on only conference games, with each coach not being able to vote for their own players.
Miami's two representatives were both on the First Team. Sophomore forward Austin Czarnik was fourth in the conference with 26 points (8G, 18A), and tied for the most first-team votes with 8. The RedHawks hope Czarnik, who went undrafted in 2012, will return for his junior season, but he could attract some interest from NHL teams in the offseason. He was joined by freshman phenom Riley Barber, who finished with 30 points (12G, 18A).
Western Michigan's star junior defenseman Dan DeKeyser was also selected to the first team. DeKeyser finished the season with 9 points (0G, 9A), but he obviously wasn't selected for his offensive prowess. The 6'3", nearly-200 lb bruiser is expected to forgo his senior season and become one of the top free agents available to NHL teams as soon as Western's season ends. The Broncos also had senior defenseman Luke Witkowski and sophomore goalie Frank Slubowski selected to the Second Team. It comes as no surprise that all of Western's representatives played on the defensive side, as they gave up the second-fewest goals in the conference, allowing only 55 goals in 28 games.
Bowling Green's sophomore forward Ryan Carpenter, who led the Falcons in conference scoring and finished tied for 15th in the conference with 21 points (12G, 9A), was selected to the Second Team. Joining him on the Second Team was senior defenseman Bobby Shea, who was second among conference defensemen in scoring with 17 points (2G, 15A).
DeKeyser was on last year's Second Team, and Czarnik and Slubowski were on last year's All-Rookie team. None of the other players were honored by the CCHA last season.
On March 11th, the CCHA announced their All-Rookie Team. The seven players honored included a trio of RedHawks: Barber (the only unanimous selection), defensemen Matthew Caito, and goaltender Ryan McKay. Western Michigan's defensemen Kenney Morrison was also selected to the team.
The CCHA's major individual awards (Player, Coach, Rookie, Offensive Defenseman, Defensive Defenseman, Defensive Forward) will be announced at the league award show on March 22nd, the night before the conference semifinals.
UPDATE: The finalists for the individual awards have been announced, and the MAC schools are well represented. Miami has a nominee in every category, and Western and Bowling Green have nominees as well.
Czarnik is up for Player of the Year and Best Defensive Forward, and Barber is nominated for Rookie of the Year. Miami is also represented by nominees Enrico Blasi (Coach of the Year), Caito (Offensive Defenseman), and Steve Spinnell (Defensive Defenseman).
Western Michigan has four nominees, led by DeKeyser, who will likely repeat as Best Defensive Defenseman. Other Broncos nominated include Andy Murray (Coach of the Year), Morrison (Offensive Defenseman), and senior Dane Walters (Defensive Forward).
Shea rounded out the all-MAC category of nominees for Best Defensive Defenseman, and is Bowling Green's only individual nominee.