USA Hockey unveiled their 2017 Annual Award Winners, and three players with USHL ties earned honors. USHL Forward of the Year and scoring champion Zach Solow of the Dubuque Fighting Saints was named Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year, Muskegon Lumberjacks goaltender Keith Petruzzelli earned Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year honors, and former Team USA defenseman and current University of Denver blueliner Will Butcher picked up the College Player of the Year Award.
Solow, a native of Naples, FL, led the USHL in scoring this season with 69 points (18G, 51A) in 56 games. He also led the USHL in assists and tallied at least one point in 46 of the 56 games he played. Solow went on a 20-game point streak from Oct. 28 through Jan. 27, tallying 32 points (6G, 26A) in those 20 games, giving him the longest point streak in the USHL in 2016-17. The 20-game point streak is also the third longest point streak in USHL Tier 1 history. Solow was named to the U.S. Junior Select Team for the World Junior A Challenge on Nov. 22 and helped Team USA to a gold medal in that tournament, tallying four points (2G, 2A) in five games, including a three-point performance (1G, 2A) in Team USA’s 9-0 shutout of Switzerland on Dec. 14. He was also named to Team East for the 2017 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Solow is committed to Northeastern University and was ranked as the 183rd North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting's Final Rankings ahead of the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago, IL.
Petruzzelli was solid between the pipes for Muskegon in his first USHL season, finishing with a record of 22-10-0-1, a 2.40 GAA and a .918 SV%. His wins and SV% ranked seventh among all USHL netminders, while he finished first among rookie goaltenders in wins and SV% and second in GAA, and also scored a goal on Feb. 24 in a 4-1 win over the Madison Capitols. The Quinnipiac commit was named to USA Hockey’s Ivan Hlinka Team, the USA Hockey/CCM All-American Prospects Game, the U.S. Junior Select Team, where he helped Team USA to a gold medal at the World Junior A Challenge, and the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. At the Top Prospects Game, Petruzzelli, a native of Wilbraham, MA, recorded 21 saves in 27:15 of play en route to being named Team East MVP. He was ranked second among North American goaltenders on NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings.
Butcher, the Pioneers captain, was named winner of the Hobey Baker Award following a season in which he put up 37 points (7G, 30A) in 43 games, second among all defensemen in college hockey. He also won the NCHC Player of the Year and Offensive Defenseman of the Year after tallying 25 points (3G, 22A) in 24 NCHC games. He also led Denver to the school's eighth national title. The Sun Prairie, WI native played in two games for the Dubuque Fighting Saints in 2010-11 before spending the next two seasons of his USHL career with Team USA. In 25 USHL games, Butcher tallied 25 points (5G, 20A) in 59 games. He was selected in the fifth round, 123rd overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2013 NHL Draft.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in four consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
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