LSSU\’s Schofield garners second MVP and most-valuable forward honors

SAULT STE. MARIE – Senior forward Rick Schofield, who was recently named Lake Superior State’s Male Athlete of the Year, claimed his second Most-Valuable Player and Most-Valuable Forward honors at the 29th annual Soo BlueLiners Banquet, which was held Thursday at the Cisler Center.

Schofield (Pickering, Ont.) scored 20 or more points during all four collegiate seasons, and finished his impressive career with 51 goals and 53 assists for 104 points in 144 games. He is one of only two Lakers to total more than 100 points since 1998. He scored the most career goals since Joe Blaznek had 57 from 1994-98. The last time a non-goalie received back-to-back MVP awards at LSSU was in 1990 and ’91 (career scoring leader Jim Dowd). Schofield received CCHA All-Conference Honorable Mention and was named to the First Team along with three players from Michigan, one from Western Michigan and one from Michigan State. This year’s season total of 17-18–35 is the most points by a Laker since Terry Marchant totaled 39 points in 1997-98. He signed a one-year entry-level contract for the 2011-12 season with the Anaheim Ducks. After signing an amateur tryout contract for the rest of the 2010-11 season with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, he totaled three goals and two assists in eight professional games.

LSSU coach Jim Roque said that Schofield has been a solid player since the day he stepped on campus and deserves a chance to play in the National Hockey League.

“He’s right there with Jeff Jakaitis for sure,” said Roque of Schofield’s impact on the Laker hockey program. “Other than get to Joe Louis, he’s done everything we’ve asked. He’s respected by his teammates, by opponents, by other coaches. He deserved everything he got.”

Schofield, a business major with a 3.49 grade point average, was also presented with the BlueLiner Scholastic Award by LSSU President Tony McLain. Senior Matt Cowie (Nepean, Ont.) was named Most-Valuable Defenseman and garnered the Gay Blade Award for the second straight year. Goaltender Kevin Kapalka (Mississauga, Ont.) was named Outstanding Freshman, while sophomore forward Domenic Monardo (Oakville, Ont.) was most-improved. The Jim Howie Unsung Hero Award was presented to senior forward Will Acton (Stouffville, Ont.), and the BlueLiner Award was given to sophomore forward Fred Cassiani (Toronto, Ont.).

Cowie was second among LSSU defenseman in scoring during the 2010-11 season with 4-13—17. He totaled four assists during the Northern Michigan sweep Feb. 4-5, was named CCHA Defenseman of the Week for his play during that series. He led the Lakers in points for the month of February, earning CCHA Player of the Month Honorable Mention. In league play, he led the defense in points with 14. Cowie played in all 39 games this season and led the senior class with the most career games played at 153. He has a career points total of 9-33—42.

Kapalka was a unanimous selection to the CCHA’s All-Rookie team for the 2010-11 season and received the Terry McDermott Outstanding Freshman of the Year Award at last week’s LSSU Athletics Banquet. The rookie goaltender ended the season ranked third against league opponents in save percentage (.928), sixth in goals-against average (2.16) and tied for seventh in winning percentage (.500). He was ranked second in the CCHA and ninth nationally in overall save percentage (.926). Kapalka finished among the top six in every single-season goaltending category in the Laker hockey record book and totaled four shutouts.

Monardo more then doubled his points from his freshman season, going from six goals and 12 points in 2009-10 to 12 goals and 29 points this season. He ranked second on the team in overall points and totaled 9-11–20 points against league opponents. Monardo was a force on the power play, recording six goals and 12 points, and tied for 10th in the CCHA in power-play goals.

Acton was third on the team in points with 9-15–24 in 34 games despite missing five early-season games due to illness. He enjoyed a six-game point streak, totaling five goals and eight points, from January 21 through February 5, and had seven multiple-point outings. Acton saw the ice in 144 games as a Laker, totaling 32-45—77.

Cassiani tied for seventh for the Lakers and led the junior class in points with 7-5—12. He played in 38 games during the season, and has 23-24–47 in 113 games. He came through with three goals and two assists during five playoff games, and including four points and a game-winning goal against NCAA Tournament bound Notre Dame.

Roque introduced the recipients of three hockey endowed scholarships. The Mason Scholarship, established in 2008, is named after James R. Mason (1917-2006), a long-time youth hockey coach and lifetime hockey fan from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Jim’s family and friends established this scholarship, which goes to an incoming Laker hockey freshman or transfer with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Preference is given to residents of Chippewa, Luce or Mackinac counties. The Norvell Endowment, named after former LSSU employee and lifetime hockey fan Ruth Norvell, annually goes to a partially-funded student-athlete, and the Somes Endowment is named after retired equipment manager Gil Somes.

This year’s recipients are freshman Kyle Jean (Mason), junior Kyle Pobur (Norvell) and student manager Corey Markuson (Somes). Jean, a two-time recipient of the Mason Scholarship, was the Lakers’ top-scoring freshman this season with one goal and 13 assists, while Pobur is a role player who has the highest grade point average among the team’s upperclassmen. He is a business major with a 3.664 GPA. LSSU welcomed back student manager Corey Markuson, who returned to campus in January after being deployed in the Middle East as a member of 4th Marine Logistics Group based in Green Bay, Wis.

LSSU’s seven seniors, which also included defenseman Dillin Stonehouse, Chad Nehring, Brian Mahoney-Wilson and Tyson Hobbins, followed tradition and spoke at the banquet.

“That whole group has been really good – good leaders, good students, good people,” Roque said. “Their leadership, as far as helping other guys, was their biggest contribution. Tyson and Dillon were team players, and Matt was the quarterback on the power play for a long time. Brian and Chad, I’ve never seen two more committed guys as far as training and dedication. Hopefully that will rub off on the guys coming back.”