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NA3HL announces 2011-12 season award winners

March 30, 2012

Matt Grove (right), pictured here with 3HL Director of Hockey Operations Denny Scanlon (left), won the 3HL's MVP and Goaltender of the Year.

The North American 3 Hockey League (3HL) has announced its award winners for the 2011-12 season, which include: Most Valuable Player, Forward of the Year, Defenseman of the Year, Goaltender of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, General Manager of the Year and Organization of the Year, along with its All-NA3HL Teams, Community Service and Academic Award winners as voted by the league’s coaches and general managers.

Granite City Lumberjacks goaltender Matt Grove has been named Most Valuable Player and as 3HL Goaltender of the Year. Grove, 21, dominated between the pipes this season and was honored three times as Brian’s Goaltender of the Month (October 2011, November 2011, February 2012).  The Crookston, Minnesota native led the 3HL in wins (29), shutouts (5), goals against average (1.66), games played (37), minutes played (2,134) and was second in save percentage (92.2%).  “Matt has been so consistent all season long,” said Lumberjacks head coach Brad Willner.  “He deserves a lot of credit for our team’s success this season and the guys are playing with a lot of confidence knowing he is behind them.”

Peter Lindblad was honored as the 3HL’s Forward of the Year.  The 20-year-old from Benson, Minnesota tied for 2nd in the 3HL scoring with 67 points as was tied for 1st in game-winning goals with seven.

A pair of Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks were honored as Cameron Dimmitt took home Rookie of the Year honors and defenseman Steve Lecey took home Defenseman of the Year honors.  Dimmitt, 19, led the 3HL in scoring with 77 points, while Lecey was 2nd among 3HL defensemen in scoring with 35 points.

North Iowa Bulls head coach Todd Sanden won the 3HL Coach of the Year award thanks in large part to leading his expansion Bulls to a 2nd place finish in the West Division in both the regular season and playoffs, while also leading the 3HL in attendance.

The Granite City Lumberjacks and their head coach/general manager Brad Willner were awarded with the 3HL Organization of the Year and Willner with the General Manager of the Year.  The Lumberjacks won both the regular season and playoff titles in the West Division and finished 2nd in the 3HL in both wins (33) and points (70), while also having several players move up to the NAHL during the season.

Trace Jablin, an 18-year-old forward from the St. Louis Jr. Blues was honored with the 3HL’s Academic Achievement Award, while Chicago Hitmen forward Jeremy Edwards, 18, was honored with the 3HL’s Community Service Award.

All-3HL 1st Team
Forward:  Cameron Dimmitt, Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks
Forward:  Peter Lindblad, Granite City Lumberjacks
Forward:  Steve Klisz, Metro Jets
Defense: Steve Lecey, Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks
Defense: Nick Zierden, Granite City Lumberjacks
Goaltender: Matt Grove, Granite City Lumberjacks

All-3HL 2nd Team
Forward:  Matt Kroska, North Iowa Bulls
Forward:  Michael Mikulan, Peoria Mustangs
Forward:  Nico Vecchio, Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins
Defense: Nikolas Sakellaropoulos, Peoria Mustangs
Defense: Joe Bowler, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Goaltender: Ben Myers, Flint Jr. Generals

The 3HL playoffs will come to a conclusion this weekend as the league hosts its annual 3HL Championship Tournament at the Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva, Illinois from March 30th – April 2nd.

Four teams have advanced to the 3HL Championship Tournament: Flint Jr. Generals (East Division), Granite City Lumberjacks (West Division), St. Louis Jr. Blues (Central Division), Toledo Cherokee (North Division).  All four not only won their respective divisional regular season titles, but also their playoff divisional titles as well, marking the first time in 3HL history the four #1 seeds from each division advanced to the 3HL Championship Tournament.  The teams will be seeded 1-4 based upon their regular season records because all were crowned as divisional champions.

Competition begins on Friday, March 30th.  All four teams will play one another in a round-robin format with the top two teams advancing to the 3HL Championship game on Monday, April 2nd.  Here is a look at the Championship schedule:

Friday, March 30th
4:30pm - #3 St. Louis vs. #2 Granite City
7:30pm - #4 Toledo vs. #1 Flint

Saturday, March 31st
4:30pm - #4 Toledo vs. #2 Granite City
7:30pm - #3 St. Louis vs. #1 Flint

Sunday, April 1st
2:30pm - #4 Toledo vs. #3 St. Louis
5:30pm - #2 Granite City vs. #1 Flint

Monday, April 2nd
12:30pm – 3HL National Championship Game

Tickets for the 3HL Championship Tournament will be on sale at the Fox Valley Ice Arena beginning Friday, March 30th.  Tournament and daily passes will be available for purchase.  Tournament and daily passes for scouts will also be available.  All seven games of the 3HL Championship Tournament can also be viewed live on FASTHockey, the official broadcast provider of the 3HL.

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