Gridiron Club of Greater Boston president George Crotty announced today that fifteen NCAA Division One players are semi-finalists for the 54th Walter Brown Award, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England.
The candidates include 12 players from Hockey East, two from the ECAC Hockey League, and one from Atlantic Hockey. The slate comprises four forwards, four goalies, and seven defensemen. Boston College and Boston University have three players each among the candidates while the University of Vermont has two. Three of the nominees were also semifinalists for last year’s award, which was won by Harvard goalie Dov Grumet-Morris.
Two-time nominees John Curry and Jaime Sifers, head their respective schools’ delegations. Sifers, a senior defenseman at Vermont, is a three-time captain of the Catamounts, one of only two in the school’s history. Known as a “defensive defenseman,” he has compiled 15 points to date. Curry, a junior who burst onto the Boston University scene last year, has backstopped the Terriers to ten straight wins and sports a 2.18 goals-against average. The other repeat nominee is University of Massachusetts senior defenseman Marvin Degon whose 20 points on the season place him second in scoring among Hockey East blueliners.
Curry is joined on the semifinalists’ slate by BU teammates Brad Zancanaro and Dan Spang. Zancanaro, a Terrier co-captain, has compiled 25 points including four game-winning goals as center of BU’s top line. Spang, a senior defenseman, is enjoying his best scoring season ever with 19 points. Sifers’ teammate Joe Fallon, a sophomore goalie, has posted six shutouts for Vermont, the top defensive team in Hockey East. Fallon has a 1.80 goals-against mark, placing him fifth in the nation in that category.
Boston College’s trio of candidates are senior left wing Chris Collins, senior defenseman Peter Harrold, and sophomore goalie Cory Schneider. Collins’ prolific scoring output of 23 goals and 24 assists in 24 games places him second in the country in points and first in goals. He also leads all Hockey East scorers and has six shorthanded goals. Harrold is the league-leading Eagles’ captain and only upperclassman on the team’s blueline corps. He is tied with Spang for third in scoring among Hockey East defensemen with 19 points. Schneider, who was this year’s U.S. Junior National Team netminder, has a 2.00 goals-against average, good for seventh in the nation, and five shutouts.
Rounding out the candidates from Hockey East are Providence College senior forward Torry Gajda, whose 33 points for the resurgent Friars have nearly tripled his output of 13 last season and place him third among Hockey East scorers; Maine senior forward Greg Moore, currently Hockey East’s second leading goal scorer behind Collins with 21 tallies in 30 contests; and New Hampshire’s senior defenseman Brian Yandle, the top point getter among Hockey East defenders with 24 points in 30 contests.
Holy Cross senior goalie Tony Quesada is this year’s sole candidate from Atlantic Hockey. Quesada has a 14-3-1 record and a 2.23 goals-against average in the net for the league-leading Crusaders.
The ECAC Hockey League’s semifinalists are defensemen Tom Walsh of Harvard and Reid Cashman of Quinnipiac. Walsh, a senior, has been the workhorse of the Crimson defense, compiling 12 points to date. His uncle Ed Walsh, a goalie at Boston University, was the Walter Brown Award winner in 1974. Cashman, last year’s Atlantic Hockey player of the years, has been by far the brightest light in Quinnipiac’s first season in the ECACHL. A junior, he has amassed 33 points, good for third in scoring by league players thus far.
“This has been another exciting and competitively balanced year in all three of the East’s upper-division leagues. That balance brought forth a very large slate of worthy candidates, and unfortunately only 15 of them could make it to the watch list,” said Gridiron Club Hockey Awards Committee chairman Tim Costello. “There is a lot of hockey yet to be played, and our committee members will be observing these nominees closely the rest of the way.”