TROY, N.Y. – The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men’s hockey team held its annual year-end banquet and among the fesitivites were celebrations of the six seniors and the distribution of the year-end team awards.
The team’s highest honor is the Most Valuable Player Award and it was presented to junior goaltender Jason Kasdorf. Senior defenseman Curtis Leonard was named the Best Defensive Player, while Drew Melanson earned the Freshman of the Year Award. Freshman forward Kenny Gillespie was selected as the Most Improved Player, while the Eric James ’99 Scholar-Athlete of the Year went to Mark Miller. Senior Mark McGowan was presented with the Ben Mayo Most Inspirational Player Award and junior Travis Fulton collected the Community Service Award for the second year in a row.
The Class of 2015, which in its time played on teams that were nationally-ranked in two of their four years consists of Leonard, McGowan, Luke Curadi, Matt Neal, Jacob Laliberte and Scott Diebold. Curadi is a defenseman, while Neal and Laliberte are forwards and Diebold is a goaltender.
In 33 games this season, Kasdorf (Winnipeg, MB/Des Moines Buccaneers) went 11-19-2, with a 2.97 goals against average and a .902 save percentage. He was 7-9-2 in 19 ECAC Hockey games, posting a 2.76 goals against average and a .901 save percentage. Recording one shutout, he made 831 saves on the year.
Leonard (Napanee, ON/Wellington Dukes) was chosen as the Best Defensive Player after helping the Engineers hold the opposition to 3.17 goals per game and 30.2 shots per contest. RPI allowed two-or-fewer goals in 14 of 41 games, including one shutout. Leonard also chipped in with two goals and eight assists for 10 points. He led the team’s blueliners in assists and points, while carrying a +8 rating, which was good for second on the club. A freshman forward, Melanson led the Engineers in scoring, with nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points. Being named to the ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team, he netted two power play goals, while playing in 36 games.
Gillespie (Morrisville, NC/Jersey Hitmen) played 15 games, collecting three assists and two penalty minutes. He registered two assists in the Mayor’s Cup game on January 24 and one the following Friday at Dartmouth. Miller (Massena, NY/Omaha Lancers) was the team’s fifth leading scorer with seven goals and seven assists for 14 points. He has a 3.81 grade point average in Mechanical Engineering.
The Ben Mayo Most Inspirational Player Award was presented to McGowan (Toronto, ON/Oakville Blades), who played in 39 games, netting seven goals and adding four assists for 11 points. He recorded double-digit points in each of four years at Renssealer, including a career-high 15 as a junior, when he had seven goals and eight assists to go along with a career-best +8 rating.
Fulton (Oakville, ON/Vaughan Vipers) has been active in the community in his time in Troy. He has participated in a variety of fundraising activities, supporting various other causes and participating in charitable events, including the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.