By RICKY LINDSAY, Sports Editor
Ryan Urso was the lone University of Michigan-Dearborn hockey player to receive a Great Lakes Conference Hockey League award March 28. And he made it count.
The freshman defenseman took home three awards, earning spots on the GLCHL’s first team All-League, All-Rookie team and All-Defensive team.
Playing in 35 games for UM-Dearborn last season, Urso scored nine goals and adding 29 assists. His 39 points ranked third on the team behind veteran forwards Jase Paciocco and Ryan Kelly.
In just his first season playing collegiate hockey, Urso became a star at a position UM-Dearborn had lacked for years. On Nov. 28, 2014, he scored four goals and added an assist in a win over Michigan State to kick off the Great Lakes Showcase. It marked the first time UM-Dearborn won the Thanksgiving weekend tournament.
During his rookie year, Urso became a premier scoring defenseman in the ACHA. His 39 points ranked amongst the nation’s top forwards and was the second-highest output for defensemen.
A Livonia Stevenson graduate, Urso signed with UM-Dearborn on June 27, 2014 to team up with Andrew Palushaj, a former high school teammate. Wolverines’ head coach Chris Haltinner spoke highly of Urso following his signing.
“He might be our go-to guy,” Haltinner said of Urso on June 27. “He’s going to be one of the better players you’ve ever seen come through here.”
At the time, it seemed like lofty expectations for an incoming freshman, but Urso managed to become one of UM-Dearborn’s best players. He proves to be a factor next season alongside Jeff McFarland and Andrei Novikov.