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Halonen leads MTU Hockey award winners

Eight Huskies recognized
(WLUC)
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 11:50 PM EDT
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - Michigan Tech hockey coach Joe Shawhan honored eight different Huskies with the program’s annual team awards. Brian Halonen was named the Merv Youngs Most Valuable Player. Descriptions of the awards are listed below.

Brian Halonen also received the Gary Crosby Memorial Award as the team’s leading scorer. The Delano, Minnesota native was a Hobey Baker Top 10 Finalist and was named to the All-CCHA First Team after he tallied a career-high 44 points in 37 games. Halonen scored 21 goals and added 23 assists and led the nation in even-strength goals (18). He led the CCHA in points (36) and goals (16) during conference games. He became the 67th player in program history to reach the 100-point mark for his career and finished 59th in career points with 105 points. Halonen signed a two-year, two-way entry-level NHL contract with the New Jersey Devils on March 28 as an undrafted free agent.

Defenseman Colin Swoyer was awarded the Gitzen-Loutit Memorial Award as the team’s most outstanding defensive player for the third straight season. Swoyer, a native of Hinsdale, Illinois, skated in 35 games and tallied a career-high 23 points with five goals and 18 assists. The alternate captain led CCHA defensemen with four power-play goals to rank seventh among all CCHA players. He was second amongst CCHA defensemen with 13 assists and third amongst CCHA blueliners with 18 points in league games. Swoyer signed a one-year, entry-level NHL contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 28 as an undrafted free agent.

Trenton Bliss was recognized with the George McCarthy Performance Award for Scholastic and Athletic Achievement. Bliss, a native of Appleton, Wisconsin, skated in 36 games as a senior. He tallied a career-high 40 points with 12 goals and 28 assists and was named to the All-CCHA Second Team. The co-captain ranked third in the CCHA in points (31) and assists (21) in conference games and was eighth with a +13. He became the 68th player in program history to reach the 100-point mark for his career and finished 56th in career points with 107. Bliss signed an AHL contract with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Justin Misiak received the Harold Meese Sportsmanship Award. The native of St. Clair Shores, Michigan played a Michigan Tech record 180 games over the past five seasons. He tallied 64 career points with 25 goals and 39 assists. In 2021-22, Misiak notched a career-high 19 points with five goals and 14 assists and signed a professional contract with the Idaho Steelheads in the ECHL.

Logan Pietila was named the Elov Seger Memorial Most Improved Player. The Howell, Michigan native finished second on the team with 13 goals and was tied for fourth in overall points with 23. Pietila led the team with four game-winning goals and added two power-play tallies and a pair of shorthanded goals.

Blake Pietila received the Rick Yeo Unsung Hero Award. The Howell, Michigan native was a semifinalist for the Mike Richter Award and was named to the All-CCHA Second Team. He broke the Michigan Tech record for shutouts in a season with seven and tied the career record with 10. Pietila ranked fourth in the nation in shutouts (7), sixth in minutes played, and seventh in goals-against average (1.91).

Michael Karow was honored with the John MacInnes Slide Rule Award as he held a 3.9 grade-point average while pursuing his master’s in business administration. Karow, a native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, transferred to Tech in the offseason and skated on the blue line in all 37 games for the Huskies in 2021-22. He tallied a career-high 10 points with two goals and eight assists and was +13. Karow helped anchor a Tech defense that ranked third in the nation in penalty killing percentage and fourth in scoring defense. He signed a professional contract with the Texas Stars in the AHL.

Trevor Russell received the Norbert Matovich Memorial Award as the team’s outstanding freshman. The native of Old Hickory, Tennessee appeared in 18 games on the blue line.

Merv Youngs Award (Team MVP)The award is named after Merv Youngs, a journalist and editor for the Daily Mining Gazette. Youngs is credited with convincing Doc Gibson to join and organize the Portage Lake hockey organization.

Gary Crosby Memorial Award (Leading Scorer)The award is named after Gary Crosby who led Tech in scoring his sophomore season and was drafted and signed by the LA Kings after the season. Unfortunately, he was killed in a car accident soon after. He played 67 games for the Huskies from 1970-72.

Harold Meese Sportsmanship AwardThe award is named after Harold Meese, a professor and dean of students at Michigan Tech from 1947-83. He was an active supporter of the Huskies and has a sportsmanship award named in his honor across all sports teams. Meese was inducted into the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.

George McCarthy Performance Award for Scholastic and Athletic AchievementThe award is named after the late George McCarthy, a former hockey player and member of Michigan Tech’s Sports Hall of Fame. McCarthy played for the Huskies from 1935-38 and was named the team MVP all three seasons.

John MacInnes Slide Rule AwardThe award is named after legendary hockey coach John MacInnes who had a record of 555-295-39 from 1956-82. MacInnes was most proud of the fact that 94 percent of his hockey letter winners graduated with degrees. He won three NCAA Championships as head coach of the Huskies and is in the US Hockey Hall of Fame, UP Sports Hall of Fame, and Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame.

Gitzen-Loutit Memorial Award (Outstanding Defensive Player)An annual award since the 1957-58 season, the Gitzen-Loutit Memorial Hockey Award, is presented each year to Tech’s most outstanding hockey defenseman in their honor. Robert Gitzen played hockey for Tech from 1949-50. He and team manager Dick Loutit were killed in a bus accident while the team was traveling home from a series at Michigan State on January 14, 1950.

Rick Yeo Unsung Hero AwardThe award is named after Rick Yeo who played hockey for Tech from 1963-66, winning the NCAA Championship in 1965. He was also an assistant coach for Tech from 1973-76 and then the Athletic Director from 1990-2005. He was inducted into the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.

Norbert Matovich Memorial Outstanding Freshman AwardThe award is named after Norbert Matovich who was a freshman hockey player from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In 1966 he was killed in a car accident over Christmas break.

Elov Seger Memorial Most Improved Player AwardThe award is named after Elov Seger, who passed away in the mid-sixties as a result of a brain tumor. Throughout his career, he battled against great odds and was always successful. He played for Tech from 1959-62 and was an All-American in 1962 when the Huskies won the NCAA Championship. He was inducted into the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.

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