Five Lopes’ players earn ACHA All-Independent, Academic All-Independent honors
By: Garrett Osterode/GCU Staff
There were no playoffs to show for it, but five different Grand Canyon University Men’s Ice Hockey players received accolades for their performances – on and off the ice – in 2019-20.
The American Collegiate Hockey Association handed out their annual ACHA Conference Awards, and five Lopes’ players were honored with some type of recognition – including one player who took home a pair of awards.
For the 2019-20 season, Murphy was recognized for both the 3rd -Team All Independent Conference and the Academic All-Independent awards. Murphy led the team with 15 assists, and finished second on the team with 17 total points. Murphy made his presence known early in the season when he recorded three assists in one game in a mid-November victory over the University of Utah[.
Murphy was also recognized for his excellent work in the classroom. In order to qualify for the Academic All-Conference team, the player must be a regular player in the lineup, be at least a junior or senior and maintain at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average.
After an excellent first season with the Lopes. Duran was awarded with All-Rookie team honors. The junior goaltender from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, led the Lopes with a .891 save percentage during his 13 games in net. Duran’s first career victory came on Jan. 31 against Northern Arizona University when he had 26 saves and allowed just three goals.
Mezik shined on and off the ice in 2019-20, earning Academic All-Independent honors. A transfer from Williston State College in North Dakota, Mezik played in every game for the Lopes, finishing the season with 16 points, good for third on the team. It wasn’t just the play on the ice that gained the respect of his teammates and coaches, but his motor.
“Matt played every game with the same energy,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Daniel Roy. “It was because of that we decided to make him an assistant captain at the semester break.”
Cronin, a defenseman from Fort Collins, Colorado, was recognized with Academic All-Independent honors in his second season with the Lopes. The junior recorded eight points (two goals and six assists), and Cronin’s big highlight on the ice came on Oct. 18 in the Lopes’ victory over NAU when he assisted on two goals. Cronin is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in sports management with a minor in marketing.
The 2019-20 season was Barabash’s third season with the Lopes and it is a season that garnered him Academic All-Independent honors. Barabash, a mainstay in the Lopes’ lineup, was in front of the net for four of the team’s five wins this season. The junior goalie saved 45 shots and allowed just two goals in the Lopes’ final victory at Colorado State University on Feb. 29. Barabash is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in sports management and is expected to graduate in April 2021.
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