Tuesday, April 23, 2024

MSU men's hockey players collect multiple Big Ten awards, Nightingale named Big Ten Coach of the Year

March 19, 2024
<p>Sophomore forward Karsen Dorwart (28) and freshman forward Gavin O'Connell (29) laughing together before a game against Ohio State University at Munn Ice Arena on March 16, 2024.</p>

Sophomore forward Karsen Dorwart (28) and freshman forward Gavin O'Connell (29) laughing together before a game against Ohio State University at Munn Ice Arena on March 16, 2024.

Photo by Donté Smith | The State News

After being crowned Big Ten regular season champions for the first time in program history and given a shot at becoming the Big Ten Tournament champions, the 2024 Big Ten award winners were announced on Tuesday, March 19, solidifying huge accomplishments for the Michigan State men's hockey program.

“With team success comes individual success,” head coach Adam Nightingale said in a press release. “We are super excited for the guys that both won awards and were honorable mention. What I enjoy most about them is that it is never about themselves, but rather, the team.”

Freshman defenseman Artyom Levshunov was the most decorated player to come out of the regular season as he was announced as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and also earned his spot on the All-Big Ten First Team and All-Freshman Team. Levshunov, at 18 years old, is the third youngest player in NCAA hockey this season and scored nine goals and gave out 23 assists, totaling 32 points for the season. In addition to his highly successful season on the blue line, Levshunov has also been on the fan voting ballot for the Hobey Baker Award, as well as a candidate for the Tim Taylor National Rookie of the Year. 

Freshman netminder Trey Augustine was quick to join his fellow freshman teammate, as he was awarded a spot on the All-Freshman Team, as well as All-Big Ten Second team. Augustine remains the youngest goalie in Division One hockey this season and has kept a .919 save percentage and a 21-8-2 record between the pipes, as well as leading Big Ten goalies in saves per game (31.75).

Three Michigan State sophomore forwards were given Honorable Mention Awards, including Karsen Dorwart, Isaac Howard and Joey Larson. All three players surpassed their freshman year season points and helped contribute to a nationally ranked seventh-place offense. Howard and Dorwart each have 32 points apiece and Dorwart has the second most goals on the team with 14 goals. Howard leads the team with 24 assists. Larson leads the Spartans in goals with 14 and totals with 31 points on the season. 

Fifth-year forward Nicolas Müller captured the Sportsmanship Award. Müller tallied up seven goals and 27 points, is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten player and was voted last year as the team’s Outstanding Offensive Player, Outstanding Senior and won the Spartans Shield Award.

Adam Nightingale was awarded as the Big Ten Coach of the Year. The unanimous selection was announced after his second season behind the bench of his alma mater after leading the Spartans to their very first Big Ten regular season title and their first ever Big Ten tournament victories. This award was given ahead of the Big Ten championship game and the NCAA Hockey Tournament, the first time Michigan State will make an appearance in a decade. He is responsible for a 41-27-5 record, which is the second-most winningest record of any coach in the program in their first two years. 

Michigan State will play the University of Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament championship game on Saturday, March 23 at 8 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena for a chance to strip the Wolverines of their two-year running title. Big Ten Network will air the game.

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