Anthony Cusanelli brings home five WCHL honors for Wildcat hockey
It was announced late Wednesday night that the leading scorer–in both goals and points–for Arizona Wildcat hockey, Anthony Cusanelli was given five honors by the Western Collegiate Hockey League conference.
Cusanelli's honors are as follows:
WCHL Most Valuable Player
WCHL All-Rookie Team
WCHL All-League 1st Team
WCHL Rookie of the Year
WCHL Sportsmanship Award
Aside from the team selections, there are only three individual awards, all of which Cusanelli won.
The MVP award is handed out to the player that is the most "valuable" to their college. The All-Rookie team is compromised of the best three forwards, two defensemen and goaltender that are in their first year. All-League 1st team is formatted the same way, but players of any experience level can be nominated. Rookie of the year is awarded to the standout first year player, and sportsmanship award is for the player that best exemplifies the values of hockey.
Despite missing a total of nine games with an ankle injury, Cusanelli finished 13th in the ACHA in points with 51, and third in goals with 31.
Cusanelli will be the most decorated Wildcat hockey player in recent history. Last season, Toppie Hogan only received two awards (he was not eligible for rookie awards).
Cusanelli can also claim an ACHA All-Atheltics or All-Rookie nomination as well, only bolstering his presence and possible legacy for Arizona.
The process for selecting each of these awards was off of a vote from the WCHL coaches. The official rules for the voting, via the award release, are that "for the WCHL All-League Team (First Team and Second Team) and All-Rookie Team, the coaches were permitted to vote for their own players; however, coaches were permitted to vote only one of their own players for First Team consideration, only one of their players for Second Team consideration and only one of their players for All-Rookie Team consideration."
The WCHL is home to eight American Collegiate Hockey Association teams, including Arizona and the defending National Champion Central Oklahoma. Only UCO and Colorado were ranked higher than Arizona in the conference this season.
No player from any of the eight teams had more points or goals than Cusanelli.
Cusanelli was the most valuable player to Arizona during the regular season, and will be when they head to Columbus, Ohio for the ACHA National Championship. Arizona is ranked No. 16 and will face No. 17 Missouri State on March 8.
The tournament is a sudden-death style in which a team must win every game they play, which can be up to five games in six days, to be named the National Champion. Should Arizona win their game against Missouri State, they would go on to face No. 1 Minot State Beavers the follow night.
If Arizona were to lose, they would immediately head home.
Regardless of how the post-season turns out for Cusanelli and the Wildcats, the regular season can be dubbed one full of growth and success, and it is only confirmed by these awards.
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