STEVENS POINT, Wis.--Adrian College senior defensemen Cory Dunn (Trenton, Mich./Austin Bruins, NAHL) and Braden Hellems (St. Thomas, Ontario/Trenton Golden Hawks, OJHL) were named on Thursday to the CCM/AHCA All-America Team during the 2019 NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Championship banquet, the American Hockey Coaches' Association announced tonight. A four-time AHCA All-American, Dunn makes the first team for the third season in a row. Hellems earns his All-America debut on the second unit.
Dunn, the Bulldogs team captain, becomes the first four-time AHCA All-American in 14 years, the second at the NCAA Division III level and he is one of only four skaters in the history of the NCAA men's game to earn four citations, joining Kurtis McLean (D-III Norwich, 2001-2005), Brian Gionta (D-I Boston College, 1997-2001) and Hubie McDonough (D-II St. Anselm, 1982-1986). He also is the first defenseman ever feted.
Both Dunn and Hellems also were selected All-Northern Collegiate Hockey Association last month. Dunn also is only the sixth player in NCHA history to earn all-league honors every season of his career.
"I'd like to publicly congratulate Cory on being recognized for a big deal," stated Adrian head coach Adam Krug '12, who wrapped up his fifth season behind the bench this winter. "He's been a pillar of our program for the past four years. He'll be irreplaceable in our dressing room and on the ice. He'll go down as one of the best to ever play at Adrian College and in Division III hockey.
"Braden is the epitome of perseverance and what sticking to the process is all about," Krug continued. "As a freshman and sophomore he found himself out of the lineup on a regular basis but to his credit, he came to the rink every day with a smile on his face, kept his head down, didn't pout, put his work boots on, and ultimately, earned opportunity. Congratulations to Braden on such an awesome accomplishment."
Dunn had another stellar year for the Bulldogs, ranking second nationally among defensemen with 1.11 points per game and tied for third in NCHA overall scoring with 31 points on five goals and 26 assists. His assist totals were one shy of tying his career high heading into the postseason--he had 27 in each of the past two seasons. Entering the NCAA Division III Semifinals, Dunn is second and third among NCAA Division III defensemen with 26 assists and 31 points, respectively. In a 7-0 victory over Lawrence back on Nov. 2, Dunn became the 15th Bulldog and third defenseman ever to reach 100 career points. In 116 career games, the finance major lists tied for 10th on the program's all-time point-scoring chart (128), fifth in assists (105), second in defenseman scoring (Chris Stansik, 135 points) and second in defenseman assists (Quinn Waller, 108). Dunn finished with a plus-89 and 248 shots.
"Cory Dunn has been a special player. He was a young man that, as I recruited him, knew he'd be special," Krug said. "Watching him on the ice I couldn't believe there wasn't a Division I school willing to take a risk on him. Cory has always been a player to have to prove people wrong. He did it in youth hockey, junior hockey, college hockey, and now he's doing it in pro hockey (for the ECHL's Newfoundland Growlers).
"(During) his freshman year, he went through some learning early on but developed and developed. We put him out there and he'd get the job done. We recruited him knowing he'd be a power-play asset and someone who would develop into an All-American caliber offensive defenseman. But, Cory is a hockey player. He battled and competed, day-in and day-out. He got better. We were soon putting him in bigger roles, up a goal in the last minute of a period or a game, killing penalties, you name it, he was doing it, and doing it well.
"At some point during his sophomore year you realized that a freshman appointment to the All-America team wasn't a fluke and that he would be special. It became easy to assume he'd accomplish a feat basically never done--he'd be a four-time All-American.
Hellems, who is Dunn's partner on the blueline, posted a career year that included 11 goals (5 in 2018), 16 assists (16 in 2018) and 27 total points (21 in 2018) to go with his first All-NCHA citation. A criminal justice major, Hellems emerged as an offensive weapon on the team's primary power play unit with a career-best eight goals with the man-advantage--a figure that is tied for seventh in the nation and leads the NCHA going into the weekend. Hellems twice was named to the D3hockey.com National Team of the Week on Nov. 20 and Dec. 12 this season. Hellems, who also scored three game-winning goals, was second only to senior teammate Trevor Boyd (114) in shots on goal with 105, which is another personal record. Hellems also was second in plus/minus to Dunn (17) with a +14. He finishes his 76-game career with 18+37=55 scoring totals, a plus-46 and 241 shots.
"I'm not sure I've ever been more proud of an individual," Krug said referring to Hellems. "In Division III you often see players transfer after one year of little playing time or a couple years of things not being perfect, but not Braden. He loved his teammates, our program, our school, and believed in himself. He stuck to the process and now he's an All-American.
"Braden was sought out by several ECHL organizations and he's done great so far with the Indy Fuel.
Krug concluded: "Student-athletes like Braden should serve as a role model for youth. Of course the Crosbys and McDavids of the world get all the press but there aren't many kids that will grow up to be superstars. Most kids out there will find their back against the wall, at some point, or struggling with something, and Braden Hellems would be the kid I'd want my children to model themselves after."
The duo brings to 16 the number of Bulldogs who have been accorded AHCA All-America status a total of 21 times--all since the program's founding in 2007-08.
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