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Bemidji State hockey: Beavers sweep conference honors

League champion Bemidji State swept the College Hockey America conference postseason awards Thursday night at Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Beaver freshman forward Jordan George was named CHA Rookie of the Year, junior forward Matt Read was tabbed player of the year, senior defenseman Kyle Hardwick won the league's Student-Athlete of the Year award, and ninth-year head coach Tom Serratore garnered coach of the year honors in a poll of CHA coaches.

George becomes the fifth BSU student-athlete, and third in as many years, to earn the league's top newcomer award and following Riley Riddell (2002), Luke Erickson (2004) and teammates Read (2008) and Brad Hunt (2009). Read and Hardwick become just the Beavers to claim their respective awards following Andrew Murray, who took home both CHA Player of the Year and Student-Athlete of the Year honors in 2005, while Serratore hauls in his fifth CHA Coach of the Year award.

With 33 points in 33 games, George finished the regular season second on the team in scoring and is currently third among his teammates in both goals (13) and assists (20). George's 33 points established a record for offensive output by a freshman in BSU's Division I era, surpassing current teammate Hunt, who netted 32 points a year ago as a rookie. In addition, the freshman currently sits fourth on the nation's rookie scoring list.

Selected to the 2010 CHA All-Rookie Team already this week, George tallied 21 points in conference play to lead not only all league rookies, but also to rank third among all CHA scorers.

Read, a two-time first team All-CHA selection, paced the Beavers in scoring for the third consecutive season racking up 40 points. With at least 40 points in each of the last two seasons, Read became the first BSU player since Bernie Adlys (1993-96) to post back-to-back 40-point seasons. His scoring effort marks the first time in BSU's Division I history that a junior has broken the 40-point plateau. He eclipsed the 100-point mark for his career in just his 102nd game in the green and white, becoming the second-fastest BSU Division I-era player to 100 career points.

Hardwick, a business administration major with a minor in political science, carries a 3.93 grade point average into his final semester of undergraduate work. A three-time Academic All-CHA honoree, he is a regular on the BSU Dean's List, qualifying all seven semesters he has been eligible, while he has received the Presidential Award, given to 4.0 students, six times. A recipient of BSU's Leadership Scholarship, Hardwick has already been accepted into the University of Minnesota's Law School.

Hardwick has also been active in the community. He is a regular volunteer for the Special Olympics, has been active in BSU's elementary school reading partnership program and served two years on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

On the ice, the alternate captain has played in 76 games for the Beavers, mounting one goal and six assists for seven career points from the blue line.

Serratore was named CHA Coach of the Year for the fifth time in the last seven seasons. This winter, he directed the Beavers to their fifth CHA regular-season title with a mark of 14-3-1.

Under Serratore, BSU has posted eight consecutive seasons with a record of .500 or better, while it has captured seven straight top two finishes in CHA play. Since the beginning of the 2003-04 season, no NCAA Division I program has fared better within its own league than BSU. During that time frame, the Beavers are 102-38-16 --good for a .705 winning percentage.

Under the tutelage of Serratore, the Beavers have also excelled off the ice. On Thursday night, 17 members of the team were recognized a Academic All-CHA squad selections for excellence in the classroom. Since Serratore took the reins of the program prior to he 2001-02 season, his teams have piled up 132 Academic All-CHA awards.

With a career coaching record of 163-126-32 at his alma mater, Serratore ranks second on BSU games coached list (282), while his 163 victories rank second, behind only legendary head coach R.H. "Bob" Peters.

As the CHA Coach of the Year, Serratore will automatically be a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award, given to the national coach of the year as selected by USA Hockey. When that announcement is made, Serratore will have made the list of finalist six times in his nine seasons as head coach at Bemidji State.