Union men's ice hockey head coach Rick Bennett was named one of seven finalists for the Spencer Penrose Award given annually to the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Coach of the Year, the American Hockey Coaches Association announced today.

In Bennett's first year as head coach, Union has earned its first ever trip to the Frozen Four with wins over UMass-Lowell and Michigan State in the East Regional of the NCAA Tournament. Union earned its first-ever Whitelaw Cup as ECAC Hockey Tournament champions and its second consecutive Cleary Cup, capturing the ECAC Hockey regular-season title.

No. 3/3 Union (26-7-7, 14-4-4 ECAC Hockey) posted a 12-2-4 record in its last 18 ECAC Hockey contests. Bennett has recorded the most wins by a Union head coach in his first season, and is the only Union coach to record 20 wins in his debut year. With 26 wins, Union has matched the school single-season record set last season. Bennett also became the first Union coach to beat a non-conference top-five team in the USCHO.com poll when the Dutchmen earned a 3-1 at No. 5 Merrimack on Dec. 17. On Nov. 27, Bennett also led Union to a 6-3 win over No. 11 Michigan in the team's first ever trip to Yost Arena.

Last season, former Union head coach Nate Leaman earned the Spencer Penrose Award, marking the program's first recepient of the honor.

Voting will be conducted prior to this year's Frozen Four and the winner will be announced on Friday, April 6 in Tampa, FL.

The preceding information was provided by Jeffrey Weinstein, Assistant Sports Information Director for Union College Athletics.

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