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College Hockey:
ECAC Hockey pre-playoff accolades

It’s relatively easy to pick a player of the year, a goalie, a rookie, all that stuff, but I’m going to try throwing a few new categories in there as well, to give some credit to those who deserve it… but in very specific ways.

Props for the Players

Pad-pounder award: Alex Killorn, Harvard

The Crimson junior averaged over four and a half shots per game, leading the league in that category and keeping every goaltender on his toes… or knees, or side, or whatever he had to do to stop the rubber. Generating shots is obviously a great way to generate goals (and Killorn had 13 of them on what was a generally impotent offense), but it also means that the other team isn’t taking those shots: Killorn finished a team-best +4 for the campaign, thanks as much to his ability to keep the puck as his ability to let it fly.

Most inconspicuously lethal award: Mat Bodie, Union

That’s a pretty broad category, of course, but Bodie fits it to a T. He plays for a regular-season league champion that boasts only one scorer among the ECAC’s top 20. He’s a defenseman who puts up points, but not many goals. He isn’t a seasoned veteran with a proven track record; not only is he an exceptional rookie with a team full of exceptional rookies (Daniel Carr, Josh Jooris, and Matt Hatch), but he’s not even the highest-ranking Bodie on the team – brother Kyle is a sophomore. But if he has to be second-best in almost any quantifiable category, he may as well be the best second-best player in the league. With 14 league points and 28 overall, Bodie is no tagalong… and with the second-best +/- in the league (+17, after his captain, Brock Matheson’s +19), Bodie is no cherry-picking coaster, either.

Rookie of the year: wait for it… who will it be…?…

… Greg Carey, St. Lawrence

Yes, the aforementioned Carr and Princeton’s Andrew Calof were both strong contenders as well, but when it ultimately came down to Calof or Carey, I went to the bottom line: Carey’s 11 league goals accounted for over a fifth of SLU’s conference total, while Calof’s seven goals were only around 10 percent of Princeton’s sum. Calof had more points and a far better +/- rating in league play (+9, to Carey’s -7), but Carey also did a lot of damage on the Saints’ 20-percent power play unit. The long and short of it is that Carey is a primary concern for SLU’s opponents, while Calof is a supporter to the likes of Mike Kramer, Kevin Lohry and Taylor Fedun. Even classmate Andrew Ammon has more goals overall (10) than Calof.

Finishing touch award: Chase Polacek, Rensselaer

The senior who needs no introduction puts up the flashy numbers, of course, but he’s more than a garbage-time cleanup man or a power-play opportunist: Polacek’s a killer. The once-and-ought-to-be-future Hobey candidate led the league with five game-winning goals against conference foes, and eight overall for the ‘Tute, including any icy-veined penalty-shot OT snipe against Colgate.

Bang for the buck award: Ben Sexton, Clarkson

The hard-luck rookie played only 10 games this season after breaking his leg early in early November. He averaged a solid 1.00 shots per game – that would be 10 shots in 10 games – but scored goals on four of them, and finished the regular season with six points. We knew he was a dangerous guy from the get-go, and he did not disappoint… we can only imagine how ‘Tech might have fared with him in the lineup more regularly.

Defenseman of the year: Danny Biega, Harvard

There were others in the mix – Nick Bailen at RPI, Union captain Brock Matheson, and Princeton’s Taylor Fedun, specifically – but sophomore Biega’s combination of points (a league-leading 21 with nine goals) and +/- (+3 on a woefully low-scoring team) kept me from having to resort to a coin-flip. Danny (not to be confused with any of the 18 or so other Biegas running around Bright Hockey Center) led Harvard in both league and overall scoring with 21 and 25 points, respectively, and finished second to Killorn in goals. He potted nearly a fifth of the Crimson’s league goals this season and accounted for over 15 percent of the roster’s points.

Loose cannon award: Harry Zolnierczyk, Brown

Program-record 126 penalty minutes, but also 16 goals and 31 points in 28 games. Need I say more?

Goalie of the year: James Mello, Dartmouth

I can hear Union and Yale fans shrieking already, but hear me out: Mello may have played a shorter, Ivy League schedule, but he was a work horse all the same up in Hanover: Only Clarkson’s Paul Karpowich saw more rubber in ECAC games than Dartmouth’s junior. Despite that, he maintained a high level of play with the best overall (.938) and league (.929) save percentages in ECAC Hockey, and trailed only Union’s Keith Kinkaid (1.90) with a 1.93 goals-against average in conference competition. Thanks to Mello, the Big Green finished with the third-fewest goals against in ECAC Hockey action and the third-highest scoring differential to match.

And finally…

Player of the year: It’s down to Polacek, Union’s Carr, or Yale’s Andrew Miller or Brian O’Neill. Who do you think should earn the accolade? Speak now, click here!

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  • DR

    Miller.
    Playmaker throughout and crucial goal scorer during the last weeks of the season.
    Regular shifts, PP, PK.
    Drives opposition crazy with skating and stick work.

  • GO BIG RED

    O’Neill. Second on team in points, assists and GWG, as well as first in overall goals and power play goals with 8. If not, Polacek. RPI’s power play revolves around him.

    • guest

      Why is it O’Neill and not Miller? O’Neill is second on the team in points, assists and GWG…guess who is first?

      • Union44

        haha it’s by one point

        • Bulldog07

          The real crime is both of those guys have been destroying lately, but it’s Kearney and Little who are voter’s choice nominees for the Hobey. The very same Kearney and Little who have fallen off the face of the earth the last month!

          • Gatefan

            Those don’t really matter. McIntyre in ’09 was not a voter’s choice nominee either and still was a top 10 candidate.

  • Union Alum ’97

    I am a Union fan and I agree with you on Mello. That guy was a stud. We could not solve him. I hope to not see him and Dartmouth in the playoffs.

  • just saying

    Brian,

    I did a little research on the goalies. I looked at all league games that Kinkaid, Mello and Rondeau have played since the new year, since these games are considered “crunch time” games. Kinkaid was 14-1-1 and gave up 29 goals. Mello was 7-6-1 and gave up 31 goals and Rondeau was 10-3-1 and gave up 29. goals.

    • ECACWriter

      Kinkaid and Union have been darn near unbeatable in 2011, it’s true… but it’s not a 2011 award; it’s a recognition of season-long success. We’ll see if Kinkaid can maintain the hot hand going into the playoffs though, because he was certainly the best goalie in the league over the last couple months.

  • FD8

    Polacek; yes, I’m a bit of a homer. Especially after finding out we lit up 9 on the goaltender of the year… :P

  • Skate

    We had no trouble with Mello at the end of the season, and neither did Cornell. I would go with Rondeau

  • Hockey7

    I’d love to say Miller, or make a case for Rondeau, or call for Martin’s inclusion in the D discussion, but the numbers just aren’t there compared to the competition. No matter. It would be fitting for the #1 team in the nation (pairwise-wise, that is) not to pick up any individual honors in the conference. Yale wins with depth and consistency – and several very, very good players. (allain for Coach of the Year, perhaps?)

  • iEatgoophsForBrkfst

    It is the writers of these dumb articles that will give the goophs all the credit for everything. If they split, it will be because they gave one away, not that they sucked or something. And if they sweep, they will write that they are the greatest team ever. Im hoping, like everyone else, that the goophs actually play a caliber team and show their true colors. Its a long season, and eventually they will start to fall apart. There are much better teams around college hockey

    • Mr Hockey

      It’s the writers? You just stated you hope the Gophers play a caliber team. What about Duluth who the Gophers swept in Duluth?  They haven’t lost since being swept by the Gophers and the only other team to beat UMD is Notre Dame. This is what us Gopher fans are talking about.

    • Sandman7733

      First off, given that the schedule is predetermined, how can you say they have not played a “caliber” team?? UMD and North Dakota are not “caliber” teams??
      It isn’t up to the U of Minnesota when they schedule them, or when a team gets hot. What are they supposed to do, wait until UMD or No. Dak is playing their best hockey and somehow alter the schedule to accommodate the naysayers??
      Besides, when Minnesota plays the likes of North Dakota, Wisconsin or UMD, it doesn’t really matter what the teams records are, they are RIVALS and will play each other accordingly.
      So, just WHO are the better teams around college hockey…in your opinion of course?? gigg

      • Fan Man

        Its not up to the U of M when/where they schedule teams?   That might be the dumbest thing Ive heard from a goofer thus far this season!  So who makes the schedule then?  the NCAA no,   hmmm   could be the athletic director from the U and dont think for a second that the coach has no input on when and where to schedule these games.

        • Mr Hockey

          You’re really showing how little you know. The schedules are made 3 years in advance. The point is, 3 years ago Sacred Heart and Vermont had good teams, the Gophers scheduled them as opponents. Now 3 years later Sacred Heart and Vermont don’t,what are you suppose to do cancel the games? Here’s a tip no what you’re talking about before you posts, especially when it’s national.

          • BestUShockeyComesFromMN

            Love all the Gopher haters. Especially the ones who probably have trouble even tying their own shoes. GO GOPHERS !

          • Fan Man

            Sorry dont have to time to be on here twenty five times a day like you to clarify things but here is what I was commenting on you dink.  Sandman says “It isn’t up to the U of Minnesota when they schedule them.  I begged to differ saying that he was a moron for saying that when in fact prestigious schools usually do have the upper hand in when and where they schedule games.  Your not just going to get the Sioux to go play on the road at some little school like Bentley or something…   I know they schedule far in advance too!  For instance,  Maine and the Sioux exchanged home and road games from last year to this year.  So ya I think I do have a pretty good idea of how/who teams schedule.    Another, dont you have a life or do you just troll this site all day and nite looking to pick an arguement.   Get a life!  Im just as knowledgeable if not more but cannot troll around looking for fights like you.  Here’s to hopeing that st.cloud stomps them goofs tonight!!!!!!!!!

            Cheers

          • Fan Man

            Yes 1-0   GO CLOUD GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • iEatgoophsForBrkfst

            4-1 now! Goophs suck. they will come back to reality and play like they have the last 5 years

          • Fan Man

            I am absolutely loving it right now and I dont even like st. cloud!  I just like anybody that puts the goofs in their place…

          • Mr Hockey

            St Cloud played a nice game last night. They took advantage of their opportunities. The Gophers outshot them but shots don’t matter goals do. Not going to sit an argue about who is a better team all day. I’m heading to Mariucci to watch tonights game. St. Cloud scored more goals and won, they didn’t out play the Gophers if you watched the game. Love or hate the Gophers anybody who watched the game saw the Gophers are the better team just didn’t win. But hockey is the won sport where talent doesn’t matter, anybody can win any game. That was the case last night. Respond if you like, I’m heading to Mpls so I won’t be responding back. Catch you tomorrow.

          • Fan Man

            I can sympathize with you in that the Sioux are usually the better team but somehow end up on the short end of the stick.  st. cloud freshman goaltener Farhaha or whatever comes in to our building and saves 44 and shuts us out!  Sucks doesnt it

        • Sandman7733

          Usually the respective conference determines the schedules of teams within the conference well in advance. As to teams outside the conference, that has to be determined by BOTH schools, not just one.
          So, you honestly believe that the U of Minnesota holds a gun to everyone else’s head and says, you play us on this date, etc, etc.??? IT’S A TWO WAY STREET!!!!
          So, according to your logic, the U of Minnesota is somehow able to determine who they will play, when and where they will play precisely to their benefit?? And the opposing school has NO say, what so ever?? That is simply AMAZING!!! Not to mention that they somehow know in advance when an opposing team will become hot and somehow avoid scheduling them at that time??? Even more AMAZING!!!

    • Anonymous

      There are much better teams around college hockey? What?? Do you even watch college hockey? The Gophers swept Duluth and North Dakota and split with Wisconsin. They are in first place in the best conference in College Hockey and number 1 in the rankings in both major polls. 

    • jmsptrk

      These “much better” teams are sure having a hard time proving it.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IBX3ZLT5XKNZDOL2YZHPVX27VI STEVEN P

      “There are much better teams around college hockey”

      OK,care to elaborate? Judging from everything I can find online,that’s an unsupportable argument,so I am assuming you are privy to information not available to us common folk. I am anxiously awaiting your erudition.

  • CanSeeClearly

    BC > MN

    • Anonymous

      Oh my gosh… What the heck are you doing on this forum you clown. I could write a whole Library of Editions on how The Gophers are superior to BC.

  • Bob

    The press in this division should open their eyes — comments like vvet behind the ears or playing out of his mind — no Gentleman, that is hovv he plays – get used to it because he is going to beat you until the NHL takes him — the league has just obtained a league changer — Ryan Faragher.

  • http://twitter.com/Butterz07 Aaron G.

    the bull dogs are weak this year. vermont blows. the sioux are rebuilding.  wisconsin is youn and unpredictable.  the gophers always start the year playing weak teams.   I WIN

  • Anonymous

    What I learned after watching UMaine pick up a tie at UMass, and then watching UMass get hammered at UMass-Lowell the next night, is FIRE TIM WHITEHEAD.  Good grief Maine is a terrible team –

    • Anonymous

      Your hit the NAIL AGAIN with the Hammer…now if UM & A.D. Abbott have any sense they will show TW the door right after the season ends…and that may be after the regular season,as they will be fighting for either the 7th or 8th seed…either way they need a Big Time Change behind the Bench. Pretty sad how this Program has fallen in the last 5-6 years,after so many years of Hard Work by Coaches & Players and the Pride they took of being the Hardest working Team on the ice,night in and night out…..not anymore…but with change…you will see that it will turn around alot quicker then people think…Right Man….means you’ll see the REAL UMaine Hockey team…and there are a handful that could and would do the job.

  • Guest

    Michigan all the way……

  • Guest

    Michigan 5-2…oops.

  • http://www.collegehockeypulse.com/ mrjakep

    Not that I don’t think Michigan deserves a bump but to put them at 3 seems a little premature!  Ohio State not having a win in the last 4 in a row has to force them down just a little bit more than 4!  Just what crosses my mind!

  • Mr Hockey

    I love your take. It is exactly what the Gopher haters will say. Go Gophers!

  • Anonymous

    Are all Gopher fans this paranoid?

  • Chris

    no

  • Mr Hockey

    It’s not paranoid, it’s reality. We as Gopher fans know what people will say if they win or lose.

  • Sandman7733

    So true. However, it seems to be that way in nearly every sport when rivals go at each other. I actually witnessed 2 men (and I use the term “men” loosely) get into an actual fight, in a sports bar, over the 2009 NCAA Nat’l Championship football game in which Alabama beat Texas. One of them was insisting that Texas would have won had Colt McCoy not gotten hurt. Of course, the Bama fan would have none of that. The sad part was that the Texas guy had one of his children with him, and of all places for this to happen, it was at a Buffalo Wild Wings in the Twin Cities. Also, at the 2002 Frozen Four in St. Paul, during the Championship game (which I was blessed to have tickets for), watched a guy in a North Dakota jersey get so upset when the Gophers won, that he actually started crying. However, with a bit over 2 minutes left, the Sioux fan was relentless in his taunting of nearby Gopher fans. I guess he got what he deserved.

  • http://twitter.com/Butterz07 Aaron G.

    word choice should be “paranoia” and the gophers are good just not great. if you want to win consistently in hockey now, you need out of state players  the potulny’s  and vanek  are why the gophers have been winners in the last 10 years.  from Europe and North Dakota   enough said. 

  • Mr Hockey

    Two years ago I went to a Gopher game in St. Cloud after the Huskies won and I was leaving fans were all over me. I mean they were in my ear saying the Huskies kicked your arse. I let it go 10 minutes, then I said stop yelling for a second. They asked why? I said i’ve been trying to count SCSU’s National Championship banners, but I keep losing my count at zero. Then it was silent.

  • http://twitter.com/Butterz07 Aaron G.

    when the gophers barely swept the sioux a few weeks ago i was sad….but then i realized who had more championships and who had a more reliable fan base as well as the better hockey venue. In conclusion  every time i witness gophers enjoying themselves i don’t get angry, i simply congratulate them. maybe one day their program could stand in the same great spotlight as the great fighting sioux hockey program. 

  • Guest

    Who’s got more banners?  Sioux or Gophers     Silence……

  • Sandman7733

    Classic. As much as I love going to the games, I’ve never myself been one to taunt opposing fans. I’ll trash talk in fun, but I’ll never take it to a level where I feel the need to scream directly in someones face, or get into an altercation. Frankly, I’ve never understood that mentality. What really gets me are those who actually believe that the success of a team, be it college, pro or whatever,  somehow determines how great an academic institution the respective college is, or how wonderful the city and/or state is that they represent. I’ve never been able to figure out why people actually believe that to be the case. As if LSU is a better school than Stanford, or Oakland is a better place to live than Minneapolis, Denver or San Diego. To each his own I guess.

  • Mr Hockey

    No silence, it’s smarts. That’s the old joke North Dakota fans ask Wisconsin and Minnesota fans that question all the time and it gets passed down the line. Same as when Michigan asks North Dakota who has more Championships.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Guest,

    You are a moron. 

  • chickenstrip6

    We could change this to who has more wins? now who’s silenced?
    143 > 128

  • Mr Hockey

    Hey Goldy it’s just you & I vs the rest. I love are odds in winning this battle…lol

  • Guest

    Dear Goldy,

    Have you looked in the mirror today?  What does football have to do with hockey you dumb chit…

  • Anonymous

    Dear Guest,

    Football has nothing to do with Hockey.. It’s called an analogy. Did attend the prestigious educational institution known as the University of North Dakota? I thought they taught this. Oh well. Your degree in Underwater Basket Weaving will take you far in life when your living on your farm harvesting crops and bathing your best friend. A pig named “Suey”.

  • Anonymous

    Haha! I’ll take these odds any day.

  • Guest

    Really, because ya I graduated there and now live in Minneapolis and going to graduate  school so I dont think Ill be farming anytime soon.  Looks like my degree in psychology is doing me a little better than your degree in recreation and tourism..   still, your football analogys have no place here bud!  Keep to the subject

  • Guest

    Not me haha!  Id rather have more banners, wouldnt you?

  • http://twitter.com/Butterz07 Aaron G.

    gopher fans are so gullible!!! lol   a reply of wins ( which UND will eventually take, even though it will take years because of the new conferences) but really wow. go sioux go north dakota!!!

  • BC Fan

    What was the ruling on that non-goal? Since the face-off was in the BC Zone, it had to be either a hand-pass or a high-stick; but from every replay I saw … it was a phantom call and BC got hosed on that call.

  • BC Fan

    And its a shame that that single call, will “PROBABLY” have Pair-wise ramifications in the end.

    Yes, in the end, you can say that Milner should have handled that last second dump-in that ended up being the game winner; but without the disallowed goal, BC wins 3-2 before heading to overtime!

  • After Further Review

    It was actually the right call.  It was knocked down with a hand and the goalie touched it next, therefore, the play is over because the puck was directed toward the net with a hand.  If the goalie doesn’t make contact and BC taps it in off a stick, it would have been a good goal.
    The announcers talked about the rule during the game.

  • ritalum

    As a student, I’d be embarassed to support a team with a weekend goal diff of -13.

  • http://www.collegehockeypulse.com/ mrjakep

    You can never abandon your team!  Just because Sacred Heart beat the Gophers I didn’t bail on them!

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