The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston announced its semifinalists for the 53rd Walter Brown Award, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England.
The candidates include nine players from Hockey East, five from the ECAC, and one from Atlantic Hockey. The slate comprises six forwards, three goalies and six defensemen. Only Harvard and Boston College, with three players each, have more than one candidate. Five of the nominees were also semifinalists for last year’s award, which was won by New Hampshire forward Steve Saviano.
Two-time nominees Ryan Shannon and Tom Cavanagh, senior captains of Boston College and Harvard respectively, head their schools’ three-man delegations. Shannon has collected eight goals and 20 assists this season and is third in Hockey East scoring with 20 points. Cavanagh, whose father Joe was the Walter Brown Award winner in 1971, has compiled 7-14–21 to date.
Other repeat nominees are Maine junior goalie Jimmy Howard, who has posted a 1.95 goals-against average for the Black Bears; Dartmouth senior forward Lee Stempniak, the Big Green’s leading scorer with 9-16–25; and Merrimack junior defenseman Bryan Schmidt, the leading point getter among Hockey East blueliners with 12-16–28 overall.
Holy Cross senior defenseman alternate captain Tony Coskren is the lone candidate from Atlantic Hockey. Coskren has amassed 3-9-12 this season in pacing the Crusaders to second place in league play.
Boston College junior forward Patrick Eaves, whose brother Ben made the Walter Brown Award short list three times, leads Hockey East in scoring with 23 points in league play. Eaves’ overall scoring total is 14-22–36. The third Eagle candidate is senior defenseman Andrew Alberts, a 6-foot-4 defenseman who has posted 3-6–9 in scoring and backboned the second-in-the-nation BC defense that has allowed only 1.64 goals per game.
New Hampshire senior Sean Collins has matched Eaves in point production with 12-24–36, placing the pair atop the list of Hockey East’s point scorers through all games to date.
Harvard senior goalie Dov Grumet-Morris is well on his way to rewriting the Crimson’s career goaltending record book. He currently is tied for third in the country in goals-against average, allowing 1.71 scores per game. Crimson senior captain Noah Welch, a defenseman who was a semifinalist in his sophomore year, has been the leader of a stout Harvard defensive corps and has compiled 5-7–12 in scoring.
Boston University sophomore goalie John Curry has posted a stellar 1.98 goals-against mark to date in backstopping the resurgent Terriers to title contention in Hockey East. Northeastern senior center and captain Jason Guerriero is just behind Eaves and Collins in scoring, notching 12-22–34 for the Huskies. Vermont junior defenseman Jaime Sifers has been a prime factor in the Catamounts’ return to prominence in the ECAC and has compiled 3-10–13 on the season. Massachusetts junior defenseman Marvin Degon has performed in similar stellar fashion for the Minutemen and compiled 8-4–12 thus far.
“This has been a very exciting and competitively balanced year in all three of the East’s upper-division leagues, and I think that our slate of semifinalists for the Walter Brown award reflects that balance and diversity,” said Gridiron Club Hockey Awards Committee chairman Tim Costello. “There is a lot of hockey yet to be played, though, and our committee members will be observing these nominees closely the rest of the way. We expect to make the final selection in mid-March, will be making the formal presentation of the 2005 Walter Brown Award at the New England Hockey Writers’ Dinner in April.”
This year’s Walter Brown Award will be a topic of discussion on New England College Hockey Weekly with Paul McNamara. Gridiron Club past president and longtime committee member Tom Burke will be a guest on the show, which will air this coming Thursday, Feb. 10, from 8 to 10 p.m. on 1510 The Zone, WWZN-AM 1510. The program will also be broadcast over the Internet at www.1510thezone.com.
Committee chairman Tim Costello is scheduled to appear on New England College Hockey Weekly next Thursday, Feb. 17. Costello will discuss the field of finalists for the Joe Concannon Award, bestowed annually on the best American-born Division III player in New England. The Gridiron Club expects to announce the Concannon Award finalists on Monday, Feb. 14.
2004-2005 Gridiron Club Hockey Awards Selection Committee and Advisory Board: Tim Costello, Chairman; Joe Bertagna, Tom Burke, Paul Costello, Ned Cully, Bob DeGregorio, Kevin Fleming, Steve Hagwell, Dick Lawrence, Hon. Gordon A. Martin, Jr., Bob Norton, Paul Stewart, William J. Stewart III, and Brian Sullivan.