DENVER – University of Denver senior Sam Brittain (Calgary, Alberta) has been named to the 2014 AHCA/CCM All-America First Team (West) and junior defenseman Joey LaLeggia (Burnaby, B.C.) was selected to the AHCA/CCM All-America Second Team (West), it was announced Friday.
Brittain’s presence in net was invaluable this season as the Pioneers boasted one of the strongest blue lines and penalty kill units in the nation as they qualified for their school-record seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament and extended the program’s streak of 20-win seasons to 13 straight – the longest such streak nationally.
“Sam Brittain had a phenomenal season for Denver and led the Pioneers on and off the ice,” DU head coach Jim Montgomery said. “His mental toughness and ability to maintain focus throughout the season enabled us to win the NCHC playoffs. He is a perfect example of how we want all Pioneers to represent DU as student-athletes.”
Brittain came up big in a number of huge wins this season in addition to posting a career-best five shutouts. In addition, Brittain played the second-highest minutes of any goalie nationally and posted 30 or more saves in a total of 16 games in 2013-14 – including five contests with 40 or more stops. He ranked among the national leaders in goals against average (2.22), save percentage (.929) and his 1,130 saves ranked as the second-highest total in the nation.
The senior netminder was previously recognized as the NCHC Goalie of the Year and was a member of the All-NCHC First Team. In addition, Brittain was recognized as the NCHC Goalie of the Week a league-best six times in 2013-14.
“It is great to see Sam recognized by the AHCA for his body of work this past year by being named a First Team All American,” DU assistant coach David Lassonde said. “For him to perform at the high level he did over the course of six months was a testament to his focus and preparation. His stellar play earned him NCHC First Team honors and was a key factor in the Pioneers capturing the inaugural NCHC Championship. We are very proud of Sam's accomplishments this past year and all the postseason accolades he has earned are well deserved.”
Brittain’s All-America selection represents the ninth goaltender under Lassonde’s tutelage to be recognized with the national honor. During his career that includes previous stops at New Hampshire, Miami and Wisconsin, Lassonde has coached an overall total of 35 All-America honorees, regardless of position.
LaLeggia led Denver’s high-scoring defensive unit with 25 points on 12 goals and 13 assists – despite missing five games this season due to injury. The junior posted five power play goals and one game winner. He ranked as the 18th highest-scoring defenseman nationally with an average of 0.68 points per game.
“Joey is the straw that stirs the drink for Denver hockey,” Montgomery said. “His passion, intensity and skill was evident every game despite being a focal point for every opponent. We look forward to seeing him grow and lead our team next year with his team-first attitude.”
The junior was previously honored this season as the NCHC Defenseman of the Year and the NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year, in addition to earning first-team All-NCHC honors.
Since the beginning of Denver hockey in 1949, a total of 40 individuals have been recognized with 47 All-America honors. Brittain is the eighth All-American goalie for the Pioneers in the program’s history, while LaLeggia’s selection marked the 19th time a DU defenseman has earned All-America recognition.
Connor Hellebuyck, SO, UMass Lowell
Sam Brittain, SR, University of Denver
Mat Bodie, SR, Union College
(East St. Paul, MB)
Jake McCabe, JR, University of Wisconsin
(Eau Claire, WI)
Shayne Gostisbehere, JR, Union College#
Mike Reilly, SO, University of Minnesota
Greg Carey, SR, St. Lawrence University#
Josh Archibald, JR, University of Nebraska-Omaha (Brainerd, MN)
Johnny Gaudreau, JR, Boston College*
(Carneys Point, NJ)
Nic Dowd, SR, St. Cloud State University
Kevin Hayes, SR, Boston College
Ryan Dzingel, JR, The Ohio State University
Colin Stevens, JR, Union College
Adam Wilcox, SO, University of Minnesota
(South St. Paul, MN)
Ben Hutton, SO, University of Maine
Joey LaLeggia, JR, University of Denver
Michael Matheson, SO, Boston College
Colton Parayko, SO, University of Alaska
(St. Albert, AB)
Daniel Carr, SR, Union College
(Sherwood Park, AB)
Austin Czarnik, JR, Miami University*
Ryan Haggerty, JR, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Cody Kunyk, SR, University of Alaska
(Sherwood Park, AB)
Devin Shore, SO, University of Maine
Michael Mersch, SR, University of Wisconsin
(Park Ridge, IL)
Kyle Rau, JR, University of Minnesota
(Eden Prairie, MN)
* First Team in 2012-13; # Second Team in 2012-13
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