The Canisius College hockey team recognized its top players during the 2012-13 season on Thursday, naming its award winners for the campaign.
Junior Tony Capobianco was named the team’s MVP after anchoring the Canisius defense throughout the 2012-13 campaign. The junior set four school records in saves (1,256), save percentage (.929), goaltender wins (18) and shutouts (four) during the season. He led all players in the country with his 1,256 saves, which ranks 12th in NCAA history and the most since the 1988-89 campaign. He also finished 12th nationally with his .929 save percentage to go along with a 2.40 goals against average.
Capobianco was also key in leading the Griffs to their first Atlantic Hockey Championship. He was named to the league’s All-Tournament team after setting a tournament-record with 235 saves. Overall, he posted a 6-0-0 record during the team’s postseason run with a 1.99 goals against average and .951 save percentage.
Junior Kyle Gibbons earned the team’s Top Forward Award after leading Canisius with 43 points, 21 goals and 22 assists during the 2012-13 campaign. His 43 points and 21 goals are the third most in the program’s history, while also placing second with nine power-play tallies. Overall, Gibbons placed 12th in Division I in points, eighth in goals and sixth in power-play goals.
Gibbons played his best hockey with the team’s season on the line, earning Atlantic Hockey Tournament Most Valuable Player honors. The junior led all players in the country with 18 points during the month of March, posting six goals and 12 assists. He recorded at least one point in all seven postseason contests, including a career-best four points in the championship win over Mercyhurst.
Junior Ben Danford collected Top Defenseman accolades for the third-straight season. He is the first Griff to earn the honor in three-straight campaigns in the program’s Division I history and the third overall (joining Joe Federico – 1984-87 and Craig Jantzi – 1986-89). Danford led all defenders on the team this season with 18 points, scoring two goals to go along with 16 assists. The junior was also a key member of the Griffs’ record-setting penalty kill unit.
Freshman Ralph Cuddemi earned the team’s Rookie of the Year award. Cuddemi recorded 10 points, four goals and six assists in his first season in the Blue and Gold. Five of the his 10 points came during the Griffs’ postseason run, including his first career multi-goal game in the Atlantic Hockey Championship victory over Mercyhurst.
Sophomore Cody Freeman earned Most Improved honors, finishing his sophomore season with 20 points, 12 goals and eight assists in 28 games. Freeman increased his scoring by 15 points from his rookie campaign and the sophomore led all players in the country with eight goals during the month of March.
Senior captain Preston Shupe received the Dr. David B. Dietz Award, which is presented to a player for his dedication in both athletics and academics. Shupe finished second on the team with 29 points and 16 goals during his final season with the Griffs.
Senior captain Torrey Lindsay was honored with the Top Chapman Memorial Award as the team’s unsung hero for the second-straight campaign. Lindsay appeared in all 43 games with 14 points, three goals and 11 assists. He was also a key member of the team’s penalty kill unit, which finished as the 11th-best unit in NCAA history by killing 90.1 percent of its opponent’s power-play chances.
In addition, Shupe and freshman Stephen Miller earned team awards for their work off the ice. Shupe collected the Hasek’s Heroes Award for the third-straight year for his work with the program, while Miller earned the team’s Community Outreach Award.
Canisius had its most successful season in school history during the 2012-13 campaign. The Griffs won the program’s first Atlantic Hockey Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Canisius finished the season ranked 19th in the USCHO.com national poll, the highest placement in the program’s history.