The Musketeers clinched a playoff spot on Tuesday against Lincoln and Head Coach Luke Strand singled out some of the players who have been instrumental in returning Sioux City to the Clark Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007-08 when he announced the Team Awards.
Captain Ryan Carpenter was named the teams Most Valuable Player. The Oviedo, FL native returned for his second season in Sioux City and was the coaching staff's choice to be the captain of the team in September. After 58 games, the future Bowling Green Falcon sits 2nd in team scoring with 43 points but more than that, he's instilled the work ethic and determination into his teammates both on and off the ice. He plays in all siutation, and has suited up for all but one game this year. Last year, Carpenter was named the teams most improved player and finished the year with 22 points. He's almost doubled his point total from a year ago and has 19 power play points this year after finishing last year with just one.
Rookie of the Year honors went to sensational 17-year old defenseman Jordan Schmaltz. The Verona, WI native was recently named the USHL's Defensive Player of the Week for a third consecutive week. He leads all USHL blueliners in scoring with 42 points. Schmaltz's growth as a player throughout the year was immense and along with goaltender Matt Skoff (who was Sioux City's ROTY in 2009-10), Schmaltz was the catalyst in the Musketeers eight game winning streak. He enters Friday night's game against Sioux Falls on an eight game scoring streak where he has six goals, 16 points, a +6 rating, 4 power play goals, five power play assists and two game winning goals. Enough said.
The Defensive Player of the Year went to Musketeers assistant captain Jake Suter. Suter, the son of former NHLer Gary Suter, has been a rock on the Musketeer blue line since Day 1. Willing to do anything for his teammates, he's the best shot blocker on the team and a staple on the teams penalty killing unit. The 3rd round draft pick in last May's draft is second on the team with 83 penalty minutes and is a +6 in his last 21 games.
Caleb Herbert was named the teams' Offensive Player of the Year. Coming into the season with a big reputation as a draft pick of the NHL's Washington Capitals, the Boomington, MN native has met every expectation. With two games to go in the season, he leads the team in goals (22) and points (48). He sits 18th in the entire USHL in scoring despite missing time in December with a shoulder injury and is 2nd in the league in power play points with 28.
The 7th Man Award went to fan favorite and heart and soul winger Max McCormick. The teams' first round draft pick in 2010, McCormick is one of those players who has every intangible you want as a coach. He scores, he hits, he fights and battles. He's one of only two forwards who plays in all situations and as witnessed on Saturday against Lincoln, always scores clutch goals. One fourth of McCormick's 20 goals have been game winners.
The teams Most Improved Player award went to winger Tim O'Brien. A 12th round draft pick of the team, O'Brien might be one of the best finds of any player picked in the 2010 draft. The Chicago, IL has become a vital cog in the Musketeers offense and has become one of the best defensive forwards on the team. Arguably the fastest skater on the team, he's a team best +9 and over his last nine games, O'Brien has four goals, ten points, and a +9 rating.
The Booster Club Scholarship Award went to veteran Matt Paape. The Appleton, WI native is a terrific person off the ice and one of Coach Strand's most reliable forwards. He notched his first career USHL hat trick in the Musketeers biggest game of the year over Des Moines on April 1st. Paape will take his talents to the University of Wisconsin next year.
Lastly, the D'Artagnan Award went to longtime volunteer, Off-Ice Official and housing parent Larry Dicks. For the last 10 years, Dicks has served as the Director of Off-Ice officials and as a billet hosting family, the Dicks family has housed 19 Musketeer players in 16 years.