April 16, 2011

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OXFORD, Ohio - A season of firsts was celebrated Saturday night and five seniors from one of the most successful classes in program history were honored, as the Miami hockey program held its annual year-end Night of Celebration banquet at Shriver Center.

Following a silent auction with lots of memorabilia and a delicious dinner, several awards were handed out. All five seniors from the 2010-11 class (Carter Camper, Pat Cannone, Vincent LoVerde, Andy Miele and Justin Vaive) - the second winningest class in school history - were also on hand to speak and reflect on their last four years at Miami. Each senior also took home at least one award on the night.

Miele was named Gary DeLonge Most Valuable Player after becoming the first player in school history to win the prestigious Hobey Baker Award. He led the nation with 71 points and 47 assists, both of which are second on Miami's single-season list and the most since 1978-79. The RedHawks' assistant captain and new member of the Phoenix Coyotes also was named Outstanding Offensive Player on the team, as Miele also captured CCHA Player of the Year, First-Team All-America and CCHA Tournament MVP honors during the season after leading Miami to its first Mason Cup in program history.

LoVerde was awarded the Outstanding Defensive Player Award after leading the team with 72 blocked shots, the fourth straight year he's led the team in that category, and posting a +20 rating. Cannone, who signed with the Ottawa Senators two weeks ago, claimed the Berry Family Outstanding Senior Award after being promoted to captain midseason while serving as one of Miami's most consistent players throughout the season, ranking fourth on the team with 37 points.

The Blue Line Club Award was given to Camper, a two-time All-American, two-time Hobey Baker Award Finalist and Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Finalist, who also signed a pro contract with the Boston Bruins two weeks ago. Camper finished second on the team and fourth nationally with 57 points. Camper, along with Vaive, were presented the Scholar-Athlete Award, as Camper carries a 3.62 GPA while majoring in psychology and Vaive holds a 3.42 GPA while majoring in sport studies with a management and organizations minor. The Scholar-Athlete Award is given to seniors with a GPA above 3.0.

Sophomore forward Reilly Smith earned the Steve Cady Most Improved Player Award after ranking seventh nationally with 54 points and fourth in the NCAA with 28 goals this year, a 20-goal and 34-point improvement from his freshman season. Freshman Bryon Paulazzo garnered the Rookie of the Year Award as the forward from Redwood, Calif. played in 34 games, notching four goals and seven assists for 11 points. Three of his four goals came in Miami's final three games, scoring one each in the CCHA Tournament semifinal and championship game and the RedHawks' NCAA Tournament game.

Miami also handed out the Jim Grant "7th Player" Award to Dr. Don DiPaolo for his service and support to making the team and program better over the last five years. DiPaolo is a leadership consultant who has worked with and traveled with the team to make them better leaders and teammates on and off the ice.

The annual awards banquet was sponsored by the Blue Line Club, Miami's hockey support group.