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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
The Phoenix Coyotes announced today that Coyotes' prospect Blake Wheeler has been named the MVP of the 2007 WCHA Final Five Championship at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Wheeler registered 5-1-6 in 6 games to earn the award. He also recorded a hat trick in his team's semi-final 4-2 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers Friday night and scored the overtime game-winning goal in the championship game to defeat North Dakota Saturday night.

"You always like to see your prospects experience winning," Coyotes' General Manager Mike Barnett said. "When they play a pivotal role in winning, it affirms that their development is progressing. It's not a race...its one step at a time. Blake took a nice step this weekend.''

This season, the 6-foot-5, 214-pound center from Robbinsdale, Minnesota registered 18-20-38 and 40 penalty minutes (PIM) in 42 games and ranked 3rd on the team in points, T-2nd in goals and T-4th in assists. He was recently ranked 35th among The Hockey News' Top 50 prospects in the publication's annual "Future Watch" edition.

Wheeler was drafted by the Coyotes in the first round (5th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

With the win, the Golden Gophers earn the WCHA's automatic bid to the 2007 NCAA Tournament and will garner a No. 1 seed for a sixth consecutive season . The Golden Gophers will learn their opponent and destination for the NCAA Regionals on today's Selection Show at 10:30 a.m.

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