Meet the athletes who excelled during the 2011-12 hockey season. The awards were selected by MSG Varsity's staff of reporters and editor.
MSG Varsity: Westchester/Hudson Valley hockey awards
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Ian Palfrey, Eastchester/Tuckahoe/Bronxville
At times this season, it looked like the senior forward had rocket boosters glued to the back of his skates. Palfrey, who was the area's fastest skater and most prolific playmaker, led Section 1 in scoring with 75 points on 40 goals and 35 assists. He was named all-section and earned the Conference 2 Don Rasbeck Scholarship award. But it wasn't all about individual statistics and honors for Palfrey, who guided ETB to its best season in program history. The Eagles went 19-4 and fell to eventual NYS D1 champ Suffern in the sectional championship game. Palfrey, a four-year varsity player, finished his illustrious career with 184 points (99G, 85A) to make him ETB's all-time leading scorer.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Rob Schelling, Suffern
After suffering heartbreaking losses the previous two years at the NYS Final Four in Utica, Mounties coach Rob Schelling finally got it right in 2011-12. Schelling guided Suffern to its first NYS Division 1 title since 1992, scoring a 3-2 comeback victory over Section 4's Pittsford in the championship. In the state semis, Suffern knocked off previously undefeated and No. 1 state-ranked West Genesee of Section 3. The Mounties won it in a shootout after the rival powerhouses played to a 2-2 stalemate through four overtimes. Suffern — which finished the year with a record of 21-2-3 — remains the only Section 1 team to have won a state title. Schelling, who has coached the Mounties the past 14 seasons, was awarded with NYS D1 Coach of the Year honors. The '89 Suffern High School graduate and former varsity hockey captain spent two years as an assistant under the legendary John Orlando, who coached the program to its other state crown in '92. Schelling won his third straight Section 1 D1 title in 2011-12 and has racked up a surreal record of 64-7-4 during the three-year run of dominance.
All-Westchester/Hudson Valley: First team
Forward: Ian Palfrey, Sr., Eastchester/Tuckahoe/Bronxville * Player of the Year
Forward: John Redgate, Sr., Suffern
Mounties coach Rob Schelling once said, “John Redgate is Suffern hockey.” The senior forward more than proved it in 2011-12, taking on the role of unquestioned leader to guide Suffern to its first NYS D1 title since 1992. Redgate, who totaled 50 points (21G, 29A) on the year, was named co-NYS D1 Player of the Year along with West Genesee's RJ Tinkelpaugh. He was also named to the all-state first team and the all-tournament team at the NYS Final Four. “(Redgate) is a do-it-all kid who is incredible,” Suffern coach Schelling said. “He goes so hard every game and every shift. He's the kind of guy you wished you had 20 of. He's amazing in every way — whether it be practice, the locker room and definitely on the ice.”
Forward: Colin Reilly, Sr., Pelham
The senior captain led Pelham to its second straight Section 1 D2 title in 2011-12. Reilly was one of the area's most dynamic players, possessing the rare combo of speed, size and skill to make a difference all over the ice. He led the Pelicans in scoring with 43 points on an almost even 21 goals and 22 assists. Reilly was named to the all-state D2 first team and earned Section 1 D2 Player of the Year honors. The four-year standout finished his career with 135 points (66G, 69A).
Defense: Steve Scholer, Sr., Suffern
In the beginning of the season, Suffern coach Rob Schelling called Steve Scholer one of the best players in the state. After struggling through injuries early in the season, Scholer lived up to his coach's billing when it mattered most. The versatile 6-2 senior scored a pair of goals to help the Mounties overcome an early 2-0 first-period hole against Pittsford in the NYS D1 championship game. Scholer, who also notched an assist against West Genesee in the semis, was named MVP of the state tournament. He finished the year with 17 points on seven goals and 10 assists to earn all-section honors.
Defense: Matt Landis, Sr., Pelham
The backbone of Pelham's stingy defense was also Section 1's most fearsome player. Landis, who will play lacrosse next season at Notre Dame, joined teammate Colin Reilly on the all-state D2 first team. The physically imposing senior was the biggest reason Pelham gave up just 53 goals on the year despite playing a schedule that featured some of the best teams in the state. Landis, who earned the Russ Simon Sportsmanship award in Conference 2, also chipped in on offense with two goals and nine assists.
Goalie: Tyler Stark, Sr., Suffern
Tyler Stark's performance in Suffern's NYS D1 semifinal victory over West Genesee will go down as one of the best in the history of the state tournament. The senior netminder racked up an amazing 40 saves on the biggest stage imaginable to help the Mounties pull out a thrilling shootout victory. Stark was named to the all-state D1 first team and also the NYS Final Four all-tournament team. He finished the year third in Section 1 with .96 goals against and posted the top goalie rating of 9.589. Stark had an impressive save percentage of 94.58 percent and allowed just six goals in six pressure-packed playoff games. “Unbelievable,” teammate John Redgate said of Stark's clutch play at the state tournament. “I have no words for that kid.”
FW: Willie Sanchez, Sr., Suffern
FW: Joe Wegwerth, So., Brewster
FW: Frazier Bostwick, Jr., John Jay-CR
D: Graham Lambdin, Sr., Pelham
D: Frankie Sherding, Sr., ETB
G: Jaime Ketchabaw, Sr., Rye Town/Harrison
Email Isaac Cass at Icass@cablevision.com | Follow him on Twitter @MSGV_Icass