Regular season title leads to prestigious SUNYAC awards

After a nearly flawless season in SUNYAC play, the Oswego State men’s ice hockey team earned the three major SUNYAC Post-Season Men’s Ice Hockey awards released last Wednesday.

Head coach Ed Gosek was named SUNYAC Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. Gosek was also named coach of the year in 2005. Sophomore forward Eric Selleck earned the Herb Hammond Most Valuable Player award and freshman forward Jon Whitelaw earned the Rookie of the Year award.

Gosek, a 1983 alumnus of Oswego State, is in his seventh season with the Lakers, leading the team to a 138-41-14 record and its only NCAA National Championship in 2007. Gosek also led the Lakers to the NCAA National Championship in 2003, losing to Norwich University, 2-1, in Northfield, Vt. Despite winning the award, Gosek is quick to give his staff credit.

"It’s nice to be recognized, but in a team sport where it takes many people to accomplish the objectives and goals that we set out at the beginning of the season, it’s not an individual award," Gosek said. "They call it a coaches award, but we believe here, and have always believed, that it’s a staff award."

Gosek praised assistant coaches Dan Ford and Pete Sears, and athletic trainer Gary Fulsaas for their hard work and dedication to the program.
"It makes my life easier," Gosek said. "One person can’t do it all. The [staff] here now care about the program, care about the team, care about the players. When you have people like we have here that truly care about the program, it certainly makes for a good atmosphere."

Gosek also praised his team for this year’s success, saying that they are the ones that take the ice and have to execute every game. On a team that features 13 freshmen, Whitelaw has found his place in the lineup. In SUNYAC play this season, Whitelaw led all freshmen in scoring with 22 points. In 15 conference games, Whitelaw tallied eight goals and 14 assists, helping the Lakers capture the SUNYAC regular season title. Whitelaw’s 14 assists led all freshmen in Division III.

"His personality on the ice and off the ice is consistent, level-headed, coachable and a team player," Gosek said. "We thought he was the right fit, he was the right kind of kid we wanted here."

Whitelaw was named Ontario Player of the Year in his final season with the Huntsville Otters of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL). In his final season with the Otters, Whitelaw registered 79 points on 40 goals and 39 assists.

Last year’s SUNYAC Rookie of the Year, Selleck, collected another collegiate award, winning the Herb Hammond Most Valuable Player award. Selleck led the SUNYAC in points with 39. In 16 conference games, Selleck registered 14 goals and a conference-leading 25 assists. In Division III, Selleck’s 51 points tied him for first in scoring with Adrian’s Mike Dahlinger. In 25 regular season games this year, Selleck registered a team-leading 21 goals and 30 assists, which was second to only junior forward Justin Fox.

During his SUNYAC Rookie of the Year-winning season, Selleck totaled 19 points on nine goals and 10 assists in 15 conference games. But it’s his attitude and dedication this season that has earned him the prestigious award.

"He’s sacrificed," Gosek said. "He’s made more of a commitment. He’s living a better lifestyle. His academics have shown it, his quality of play has shown it. It’s a credit to him. He’s found a way to manage his emotions in a better direction."

Junior forward Chris Laganiere, junior defenseman Stephen Mallaro and Selleck all received First Team All-Conference honors while senior forward and assistant captain Neil Musselwhite received Second Team All-Conference honors. Senior defenseman and captain Tyler Lyon and senior goalie Kyle Gunn-Taylor each received honorable mention All-Conference honors for their efforts on the ice this season.