Gridiron Club of Greater Boston president Dave O’Brien today announced the eighteen semifinalists for the seventh annual Joe Concannon Award, given annually to New England’s best American-born Division II/III college hockey player.
Three Concannon Award semifinalists from last season, all of them among the leading scorers for their respective teams, head the field of nominees. St. Anselm College senior Brett Smith (Hudson, Mass.) has posted five goals and thirteen assists in leading the Hawks in their defense of their Northeast-10 title. UMass-Dartmouth senior Kyle McCullough (Danvers, Mass.) has posted seventeen goals and twenty-six assists in pacing the Corsairs to the regular season crown in the ECAC Northeast. Stonehill sophomore Brendan O’Brien (Braintree, Mass.) has posted eleven goals along with twenty-eight assists despite receiving a lot of extra attention from opposing defenders.
Five outstanding forwards, two all-around defensemen, and a solid goaltender are the NESCAC representatives on the Concannon Award semifinalist slate. Senior forward Sean Ellis (Springfield, Mass.) captained Amherst and contributed eleven goals and fifteen assists for twenty-six points. Junior forward Rob Campbell. (Reading, Mass.) is the leading scorer with over 15% of Connecticut College’s goals during the season as the team reached conference playoffs for the first time in league history. Senior Greg Osborne (Stoughton, Mass.) led the Colby White Mules in scoring with twenty-one goals and nineteen assists, and he passed the century mark in career points 104 in just 96 games played.
Senior John Sales (Downington, Pa.) from Middlebury College is a rarity in today’s athletic world; he is a twelve-letter athlete for the Panthers, with four letters each in soccer, hockey and, after this Spring, lacrosse. This season Sales has eight goals and twelve assists for 20 points and has been a vocal leader for the defending national champions. Rounding out this strong group of forwards is Will Bennett (Boston, Mass.) from Wesleyan. The senior co-captain leads the team in scoring, and the Cardinals have posted their best season in school history while contending for the NESCAC regular season title.
On defense, Colby junior Arthur Fritch (South Boston, Mass.) has been a strong all-around contributor to the White Mules season as the second leading scorer with ten goals and twenty-five assists. Senior captain John Halverson (Lexington, Mass.) has embraced Trinity’s new 3-2 alignment and leads the team in scoring with 12 goals and 27 points. Backstopping the NESCAC nominees is sophomore goaltender Mike Palladino (Litchfield, Conn.), who took over the starting role and has helped guide the Cardinals to their first ever home-ice playoff seeding.
From the ECAC East, senior defenseman Joe Huchko (Congers, N.Y.) has captained a young team at Castleton into league title contention and the national rankings in the school’s fourth season of varsity hockey. Huchko has tallied seven power play goals. Senior goaltender David Beckles (Stamford, Conn.) has been a solid and consistent goaltender for the University of Southern Maine, posting thirteen wins, with a goals-against average of 2.68, and a save percentage of .906. Sophomore Brad Baldelli (Northboro, Mass.) from Babson led the Beavers in scoring with 15 goals and 32 points while emerging as a team leader.
Rounding out the list of semifinalists are three stellar offensive performers and one outstanding goaltender from the ECAC Northeast. UMass-Dartmouth junior forward Jeff Grant (Burlington, Mass.) leads the Corsairs in scoring with 21 goals and 27 assists for 48 points, including seven power play goals and six game winners, while surpassing the 100 point mark.
Senior forward Ryan Moore (Randolph, Mass.) has scored 22 goals and 18 assists in leading his Fitchburg State Falcons to yet another playoff appearance. Sophomore John Rocchio (East Greenwich, RI) leads his Suffolk team in scoring with 13 goals and 30 assists for 43 points in just 23 games. Jeff Green (Medway, Mass.), a sophomore goalie for the UMass-Dartmouth, has been a big factor in the Corsairs’ success, playing every game for coach John Rolli’s team and posting a 23-2-1 record that includes three shutouts.
“No doubt we have seen the most exciting and competitive season at the D-II and D-III levels, with lots of up- and-coming programs establishing themselves with some truly notable performers in each of the three leagues in New England,” said Concannon Award committee chairman Tim Costello.
“In addition to proving themselves as superb hockey players, each of the nominated players exemplifies sportsmanship and character in representing his team and institution. This year in particular, the committee’s final decision will not be an easy one, based on the caliber of play and competitive nature of all of the conferences. We will be very diligent in evaluating the final performances of the season in order to determine this year’s winner.”
Past Joe Concannon Award Winners
2001: Keith Aucoin, Norwich
2002: Michael Carosi, Bowdoin
2003: Nick Stauder, Salem State
2004: Jim Pancyzkowski, Wesleyan; Michael O’Sullivan, Curry
2005: Brian Doherty, Curry; Joseph Ori, Trinity
2006: Adam Dunn, Bowdoin