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Gophers' Stoa is All-America first team in hockey

Ryan Stoa

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Having already received several postseason honors, Minnesota junior forward Ryan Stoa capped the 2008-09 season with one of the nation's most prestigious individual honors, collecting first-team All-America laurels from the American Hockey Coaches Association.

Stoa, who al-ready won first-team honors from College Hockey News and Inside College Hockey publications, joins an elite group of former Gophers as the 39th first-team AHCA All-American in school history. Six players have won the award twice, making Stoa the 33rd different player in Minnesota history to earn the honor. The All-Americans were an-nounced on Friday evening at the NCAA Frozen Four in Washington, D.C.

Stoa is the seventh Minnesota Gophers men's hockey player to receive first-team All-America honors in the past nine years and the third in four years.

Alex Goligoski was a first-team All-American in 2007 and Ryan Potulny was honored in 2006. Keith Ballard received the award in 2004, while John Pohl was selected in 2002 and Jordan Leopold was a two-time pick in 2001 and 2002.

A Bloomington, Minn. native, Stoa was a first-team All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association selection and led the Gophers in most offensive categories with 24 goals and 22 assists for 46 points. In addition to leading the league with 36 points in conference games, he also was the WCHA's top goal-scorer with 19 goals in league contests.

Stoa ranked sixth nationally with 1.28 points per game and third in the country in goals per game with 24 goals in 36 games. He was one of five players in the country with four shorthanded goals. Stoa was named the WCHA Player of the Month for November with 12 points in nine games. He recently signed with the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League, opting to forgo his final season of collegiate eligibility.

Other West Region players recognized on the first team were Minnesota Duluth junior goaltender Alex Stalock, Wisconsin junior defenseman Jamie McBain, Notre Dame sophomore defenseman Ian Cole and Michigan sophomore forwards Aaron Palushaj and Louie Caporusso.