Gridiron Club of Greater Boston president Steve Grogan announced today that 16 NCAA Division II/III players are semi-finalists for the eighth Joe Concannon Award, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England playing at the D-II/III level.
The list is comprises 12 forwards, two defensemen and two goalies, including two nominees from the D-II ranks. The candidates include seven players from the ECAC East. Nominees Eric Tallent (Garland, TX) and repeat candidate Ryan Kligensmith (Morton, PA), represent the unbeaten and second-ranked Norwich Cadets, who have benefited by their defensive and goaltending skills to lead Norwichs number one ranked scoring defense.
The remaining representatives from ECAC East include four forwards whose achievements are a big part of their respective teams strong results this season. New England College senior forward Alex Muse (Lynnfield, MA) has provided key production to spark the Pilgrims offense, and he leads the team with seven power-play goals. Babsons Terry Woods (Duxbury, MA) leads his team in scoring and has been a catalyst for the Beavers offense. Junior forward Vinnie Jacona (East Stroudsburg, PA) has flourished this season at UMass-Boston as a key playmaker for the Beacons. Lastly, Southern Maine junior Zach Joy (Dover, NH) is averaging nearly a goal per game with 18 goals in his first 19 games for the Huskies.
From the NESCAC conference, four different institutions have had players recognized for their great play and strong leadership on and off the ice. Senior Alex Smigelski (Mt. Lakes, NJ) leads Williams College in scoring and has helped the Ephs to stay near the top of the conference standings. Junior Billy Crinnion (Smithtown, NY) leads the White Mules of Colby in their quest to return to the playoffs among the best in NESCAC. Another repeat nominee, forward Tom Derosa (Charlestown, MA) and teammate Scott Barchard (Reading, MA) have been the pivotal players on offense and defense for a rejuvenated Tufts team. Barchard currently leads the nation in save percentage in backstopping the Jumbos. Junior Bryan Curran (Wilmette, IL) is the sole defenseman among his conferences nominees but plays big for Middlebury in the offensive zone with fourteen points in his first sixteen games.
The nominees from the newly instituted MASCAC conference are key contributors in leading their teams in scoring. Senior forward Chris Chambers (Crofton, MD) is Plymouth States main offensive threat and has been a key contributor on the power-play. The other MASCAC representative is forward Dennis Zak (Dover, NJ) from Westfield State, also a repeat nominee from last season. Zak has led the Owls to the top spot in the very competitive new league.
The ECAC Northeast is represented by sophomore forward Skylur Jameson (Long Beach, CA) who is a threat to score in any situation and has led his Wentworth team as the sixth-ranked scoring offense in the nation.
Lastly, two representatives from the D-II ranks include a pair of high-energy forwards who make opponents pay for taking penalties by converting on the power play. St. Anselm forward Coleman Noonan (Norfolk, MA) and Assumptions Pat OKane (Hollis, NH) are amongst the top players in the country when it comes to scoring with the man advantage or when on the penalty kill.
With the new league alignments this season, we have seen great individual talent shine through in each of the conferences in New England. Each and every season it becomes increasingly more challenging to single out worthy nominees for the Concannon Award, said Gridiron Club Hockey Awards Committee chairman Tim Costello. There are many players that have been considered by the committee but do not appear as semi-finalists. Our committee believes this is a strong group of nominees and it will take the remaining games of the regular season and conference tournaments to identify the most worthy player for the 10th anniversary winner of this prestigious award.
The Gridiron Club plans to announce the finalists and winner of the 10th Joe Concannon Award in March, prior to the start of NCAA Frozen Four Tournament play and present the award during the New England Hockey Writers dinner in mid-April.
Previous winners include:
2001: Keith Aucoin, Norwich University
2002: Michael Carosi, Bowdoin College
2003: Nick Stauder, Salem State College
2004: Jim Pancyzkowski, Wesleyan University; Michael OSullivan, Curry College
2005: Brian Doherty, Curry College; Joseph Ori, Trinity College
2006: Adam Dann, Bowdoin College
2007: Greg Osborne, Colby College
2008: Tom Maldonado, Middlebury College
2009: Jeff Landers, Amherst College