College Hockey Slap Schotts 2011-12: Week 22 — The Daily Gazette ECAC Hockey Awards
It's time once again for the most prestigious award show in the country. Who needs the Academy Awards or the Grammys?
It's time for my annual Daily Gazette ECAC Hockey Awards.
No, I don't have a red carpet show where Ryan Seacrest can interview everyone. This is college hockey, we don't need no stinking red carpet!
So, sit back in your chair and enjoy the show.
Player of the Year — Austin Smith, Colgate
Picking Smith as the winner is a no-brainer. The senior right winger was consistently great all season. He led the ECACH in scoring with 25 goals and nine assists for 34 points. He easily led the way in goals. The next-most total was 13, and that was shared by Brown's Jack Maclellan, Yale's Brian O'Neill and Union's Jeremy Welsh. He had the most short-handed goals (five) and short-handed points (six), and he was tied for the league lead in game-winning goals with Cornell's Nick D'Agostino (four).
Smith is a legitimate Hobey Baker Award finalist. He's earned a spot in the Hobey Hat Trick.
Ken Dryden Award (top goalie) — Troy Grosenick, Union
There were two big questions about Union coming into the season. One of those questions was who would replace Keith Kinkaid, last year's Dryden winner, in the Dutchmen goal after he gave up his final two years of eligibility to sign with the New Jersey Devils.
Grosenick, who played just three games last season in his freshman year, more than filled the bill. He led the league in goals-against average (1.60), save percentage (.940) and win percentage (.767). Grosenick was a major reason the Dutchmen allowed the fewest goals in league play with an average of 1.73.
Rookie of the Year — Matthew Peca, Quinnipiac
This award was the toughest one to pick. There was a good group of freshman this season. Peca, a forward was the top freshman scorer with four goals and 16 assists in 22 games. I also considered Cornell forward Brian Ferlin (7-10-17 in 19 games), Dartmouth forward Brandon McNally (10-5-15- in 22 games) and Union defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (3-11-14 in 22 games).
What swayed me was Peca's production on the power play. He was the top freshman scorer on the power play, and tied for fifth overall, with a goal and nine assists.
Best Defensive Forward — Kelly Zajac, Union
Zajac, who was the Dutchmen's top scorer in ECACH play with five goals and 20 assists, had a defensive rating of plus-13. The senior center is one of the Dutchmen's top penalty killers.
Best Defensive Defenseman — Danny Biega, Harvard
Forget that Biega was the top defensive scorer in the league with eight goals and 15 assists. The junior was a plus-10 defensively, and was on the ice for only nine even-strength goals. Biega was a big reason Harvard finished third this season.
Tim Taylor Award (Coach of the Year) — Rick Bennett, Union
As I said earlier, there were two big questions about the Dutchmen this season. The other question involved Bennett.
After six years as an assistant/associate head coach with Union, Bennett was elevated to the position last April when Nate Leaman left to become head coach at Providence College. Bennett was well liked, and had recruited the majority of the players. But could he make the transition from associate coach to head coach?
The answer was a resounding yes.
Bennett guided the Dutchmen to their second straight Cleary Cup title. Yes, he had just about everyone back from last year's squad, but he kept the Dutchmen train rolling. His handling of the goaltending situation worked out very well. The Dutchmen were the top offensive and defensive team in the league. You can't argue with Union's success.
Joe Marsh Sportsmanship Award (Most Gentlemanly Player) — Shawn Stuart, Union
Ok, so this isn't an official league award, but I am starting it because, one, Joe Marsh should be honored after a long and distinguished career as St. Lawrence's head coach and, two, a player should be recognize for his gentlemanly play, much like the NHL's Lady Byng Trophy.
Stuart, a junior defenseman, fits the bill. He played in all 22 league games, and had just two penalty minutes, and that was a hitting after the whistle call against Clarkson Jan. 27.
All ECACH Teams
First team — Forwards: Austin Smith (Colgate), Chris Wagner (Colgate) and Brian O'Neill (Yale). Defensemen: Danny Biega (Harvard) and Mat Bodie (Union). Goalie: Troy Grosenick (Union).
Second team — Forwards: Kelly Zajac (Union), Jeremy Welsh (Union) and Alex Killorn (Harvard). Defensemen: Jeremy Price (Colgate) and Patrick McNally (Harvard). Goalie: Andy Illes (Cornell).
Third team — Forwards: Jack Maclellan (Brown), Louke Oakley (Clarkson) and Greg Carey (St. Lawrence). Defensemen: Nolan Julseth-White (Union) and Nick D'Agostino (Cornell). Goalie: Paul Karopwich (Clarkson).
All-Rookie Team — Forwards, Matthew Peca (Quinnipiac), Brian Ferlin (Cornell) and Joel Lowry (Cornell). Defensemen — Shayne Gostisbehere (Union) and Patrick McNally (Harvard). Goalie: Steve Michalek (Harvard).
No TV for ECACH championships
If you can't make it down to Atlantic City and were hoping to watch the games on TV, forget it. You will have to pay to watch it on your computer.
The ECACH won't have TV coverage for this weekend's games. The only way you can watch is to plunk down $9.95 per game each day. The broadcasts are being produced by RPI TV.
Last year, CBS Sports Network televised the games. This year, it decided not to. With NBC Sports Network televising the Hockey East tournament championships and with no regional cable sports networks interested, the ECACH is out of luck.
"We tried with NBC, but they opted for Hockey East," ECACH commissioner Steve Hagwell said. "CBS Sports said they would not do our games. From a national standpoint, those two were out.
"On regional sports network, NESN, which was approached, has the Hockey East, obviously, so they weren't interested. Comcast New England has a Celtics' commitment."
In the Capital Region, Time Warner Cable Sports is committed to televising the state boys' and girls' high school basketball championships this weekend, so it's unable to pick up the hockey contests. SNY was also approached.
"You start dwindling down, and you're network options are limited," Hagwell said.
Hagwell said he was given feedback by CBS Sports Network, but wouldn't get into the specifics.
A CBS Sports Network spokesman said that the network decided to expand its NCAA basketball tournament programming this year.
Asked if the league would offer the games free on America One to the fans, Hagwell said no.
"We have a contractual obligation with America One," Hagwell said. "As part of that contractual obligation, there's a financial tie-in. They, obviously, have their interests."
Naturally, the coaches aren't happy.
"It's very disappointing," Cornell coach Mike Schafer said. "One of the reasons we went down to Atlantic City is they gave us a great guarantee. Not to be on TV is as one of the major conferences is really disappointing. For our alumni base across the country, they depend on TV [to televise the] semis and the championship games and get an opportunity to see your team play.
"I think it's a big failure for our league not to have those games on TV. It's something that can't happen."
And this from Colgate coach Don Vaughan.
"I heard there were some issues with some of the networks maybe not wanting to carry us," Vaughan said. "I didn't find out about it until a couple of weeks ago from my athletic director. A league of our stature, especially with the teams that are in this championship this weekend, I just find it really hard to believe that a major network would not want to pick up an ECAC championship round. I'm really disappointed that we weren't able to make that happen."
Union is giving away a free travel and ticket package to the ECACH championships during the "Union Hockey Coaches Corner LIVE from Bombers" Burrito Bar in downtown Schenectady at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The show is on WVKZ-AM (1240), WABY-AM (1160) an Teamline.cc.
The package includes round trip Brown Coach bus transportation from Union College (departing Friday at 8 a.m. from College Park Hall), with dropoffs to the Trump Plaza and Tropicana hotels and an all-session ticket in the lower level. Fans must make their own hotel reservations.
Dutchmen move up to sixth in polls
A two-game sweep of RPI in the ECAC Hockey tournament quarterfinals vaulted Union up the college hockey polls Monday.
The Dutchmen (22-7-7) moved up from eighth to sixth in USCHO.com/NCAA top-20 hockey poll, and from seventh to sixth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine top-15 poll. The top-seeded Dutchmen beat RPI, 3-2 and 4-2, over the weekend to advance to the championship round. They will face fourth-seeded Colgate in Friday's semifinal at 4:30 p.m. at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
Colgate, which beat Quinnipiac in three games in the quarterfinals, is ranked 20th.
Team (First Place) Record Pts Last Week
1 Boston College (50) 27-10-1 1000 1
2 Minnesota-Duluth 24- 8-6 914 3
3 Michigan 23-11-4 889 4
4 Minnesota 26-12-1 841 5
5 Boston University 23-13-1 786 6
6 Union 22- 7-7 708 8
7 Miami 23-13-2 650 11
8 Ferris State 23-11-5 644 2
9 Denver 23-12-4 557 9
10 Massachusetts-Lowell 23-12-1 550 7
11 Maine 22-12-3 529 10
12 North Dakota 22-12-3 513 12
13 Cornell 17- 7-7 443 13
14 Western Michigan 19-13-6 344 16
15 Merrimack 18-12-7 275 14
16 Michigan State 19-15-4 236 15
17 Air Force 19-10-7 119 19
18 Notre Dame 19-18-3 97 17
19 Harvard 12- 9-11 95 NR
20 Colgate 19-15-3 90 NR
Others receiving votes: Northern Michigan 72, St. Cloud State 49, Colorado College 31, Michigan Tech 23, Lake Superior 11, Ohio State 11, Quinnipiac 10, Niagara 8, Bowling Green 3, Providence 2.
USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
Rank School Last Week's Ranking 2011-12 Record Weeks in Top 15
1 Boston College, 510 (34) 1 27-10-1 23
2 Minnesota Duluth, 458 3 24-8-6 23
3 Michigan, 423 5 23-11-4 19
4 Minnesota, 419 4 26-12-1 22
5 Boston University, 357 6 23-13-1 20
6 Union, 312 7 22-7-7 21
7 Ferris State, 288 2 23-11-5 18
8 Miami (Ohio), 277 11 23-13-2 7
9 Denver, 208 9 23-12-4 22
T10 UMass Lowell, 199 8 23-12-1 11
T10 Maine, 199 10 22-12-3 8
12 North Dakota, 178 12 22-12-3 11
13 Cornell, 130 13 17-7-7 13
14 Western Michigan, 65 NR 19-13-6 17
15 Merrimack, 25 14 18-12-7 22
Others receiving votes: Michigan State, 18; Air Force, 8; Harvard, 6.
Union remained second in the Inside College Hockey top-20 Power Rankings. To view the rankings, click here.
I have a vote in the USCHO.com poll. Here is how I voted this week.
1) Boston College
2) Minn. Duluth
6) Boston U.
7) Ferris State
12) North Dakota
14) Western Michigan
15) Air Force
17) Michigan State
19) Notre Dame
20) Colorado College
Daily Gazette ECACH Awards
Time for my weekly awards.
Player of the Week — Chris Wagner, Colgate
The sophomore center had five goals and an assist to help the Raiders eliminate Quinnipiac in three games. Wagner scored two goals each in Colgate's Game 1 and Game 3 wins.
Goalie of the Week — Andy Iles, Cornell
The sophomore made 73 saves to help the Big Red sweep Dartmouth.
Rookie of the Week — Patrick McNally, Harvard
The freshman defenseman had four assists as third-seeded Harvard eliminated sixth-seeded Yale in three games in the quarterfinals.
Team of the Week — Union
The top-seeded Dutchmen didn't have a quarterfinal failure this time. They swept RPI to reach the final four. Union went 5-0 against RPI this season.
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Good Monday! Good Hockey!