(FREDERICTON, NB) Kris Bennett and Randy Gazzola earned major awards at the U SPORTS men’s hockey awards gala, Wednesday night in Fredericton.
The event was held on the eve of the 2018 Cavendish Farms University Cup, being hosted by the University of New Brunswick.
Bennett was named winner of the Clare Drake Award, as U SPORTS Rookie of the Year.
In just his first season with the Varsity Reds, Bennett finished second in the conference and tied for fifth nationally in goal-scoring with 18 goals in the regular season. In 30 games, the Brampton, ON, native finished eighth overall across the country in points, adding 20 assists this season. He finished with a plus-minus rating of plus-15.
The 22-year-old joined UNB after five seasons with the Ontario Hockey League's Saginaw Spirit, where he amassed 114 points in 195 games.
Bennett becomes the third UNB winner of the Clare Drake Award, joining Kevin Young who earned the honour in 2003-04, and Ryan Lindsay who won in 1997-98.
He beat out Alberta’s Steve Owre, the Canada West Rookie of the Year, and Riley Brandt, of RMC, the OUA’s Rookie of the Year.
Gazzola, playing In his fourth season with the Varsity Reds, won the R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award as the most sportsmanlike player in the nation.
A first-year MBA student from Thorold, ON, Gazzola finished the regular season with 24 points. He scored six goals and 18 assists and finished with a plus-minus rating of plus-13. In 30 games, he amassed just eight penalty minutes.
In his four AUS regular seasons, Gazzola has suited up for 110 games, tallying 85 points and taken just 52 career regular season penalty minutes.
Gazzola is the second Varsity Reds player to be named the most sportsmanlike player, after Chris Culligan took home the honour in 2014.
Gazzola was selected over Saskatchewan’s Josh Roach and Spencer Abraham, of Queen’s.
The Varsity Reds, the top seed in the University Cup, face No. 8 Concordia, Thursday, at 7:00pm, at UNB’s Aitken Centre.