Saints, Bagnall Lead ECACHL Awards

St. Lawrence defenseman Drew Bagnall was named the ECAC Hockey League’s Player of the Year and the league’s Best Defensive Defenseman at the league’s annual banquet. The senior was one of several individuals to earn recognition at the annual event.

Clarkson’s David Leggio was the league’s Ken Dryden Award winner as the Goaltender of the Year, after being named a first-team all-league selection. Rookie of the Year honors were shared between Quinnipiac’s Brandon Wong and Yale’s Sean Backman, while St. Lawrence’s Kyle Rank was named Best Defensive Forward. Joining Bagnall, Leggio and Rank as first-team all-league selections were Quinnipiac’s Reid Cashman, Dartmouth’s David Jones and Clarkson’s Nick Dodge. Union’s Olivier Bouchard was named the league’s Student-Athlete of the Year.

St. Lawrence head coach Joe Marsh was named the Tim Taylor Coach of the Year, and his team took home the Turfer Athletic Trophy for the second year in a row. The Turfer Athletic trophy is given to the team that the coaches believe best fits the ideals of both Turfer Athletic and the ECAC Hockey League: Sportsmanship, Commitment, Tenacity and Innovation.

Bagnall becomes just the ninth defenseman in league history to earn Player of the Year honors and is the first defenseman since 1998 to claim the award. One other St. Lawrence defenseman has claimed Player of the Year honors, and that was Dan Laperriere in 1992. Bagnall had 15 league points from the blue line with five goals and 10 assists. Three of his goals were game-winners this season. The senior led a defense that held league opponents to 2.50 goals per game, while helping his team capture the league’s regular-season crown. Overall, Bagnall has six goals and 17 assists on the season. Drew was also a unanimous selection to the league’s first team, and is the second straight Saint to claim Best Defensive Defenseman honors.

Leggio posted a league-best .927 save percentage in conference games along with a 2.25 goals against average. He helped backstop the Golden Knights to their second-place finish, while posting a 13-4-4 mark in league games. Overall, Leggio, who is a junior, led the conference’s netminders with a 2.15 GAA and a .931 save percentage. His save percentage is also ranked 10th nationally. Leggio also has two shutouts this season – a 5-0 blanking of Bowling Green and a recent 3-0 victory vs. Harvard in the playoffs. Leggio is the only Golden Knight to earn Goaltender of the Year honors since the award was first presented in 1996.

Rank was among the league’s top scorers with 25 points in conference play on 13 goals and 12 assists. His 13 goals tied for third among the league’s snipers. Two of his goals were short-handed efforts, and two were game winners. Overall, the senior averages 0.89 points per game with 15-17-32 numbers through 36 games. His 32 points leads St. Lawrence in scoring. He is the fourth Saint to earn Best Defensive Forward honors.

Joining Rank as first-team forwards are Dodge and Jones.

Dodge helped his Golden Knights lead the league in scoring with 3.36 goals per game in conference matchups and 3.53 GPG overall. The junior had 20 points in league games with eight goals and 12 assists and led his team overall with 37 points on 17 goals and 20 assists. Nine of his goals this season have been game winners.

Jones led the league in scoring with 31 points on 11 goals and 20 assists. In 22 games, the junior averaged 1.41 points per game and had two game-winning tallies. Overall, he has played in 31 games and has 18 goals and 24 assists for 42 points on the season. His points per game average of 1.35 ranks fifth nationally.

On defense, Cashman earned his second trip to the league’s first team after leading all blue liners with 22 points in conference games. He had one goal and 21 assists (first in the ECACHL) in league outings for a 1.00 points per game average. Overall, he leads the nation’s defenders in scoring with three goals and 37 assists for 40 points on the year. A senior, he is averaging 0.97 assists per game, which is third in the nation.

Wong and Backman tied for Rookie of the Year honors after both posted 14 goals in league games this season. Their 14 goals led not only the rookies, but all players in league contests. Wong finished the ECACHL season with 12 assists to give him 26 points, while Backman had 10 assists for a 24 point output. Overall, Wong has 26 goals and 17 assists for 43 points on the year and is third among the nation’s rookies with an average of 1.13 points per game. Backman is 11th among the nation’s first-year players with 31 points on the year from 18 goals and 30 assists for 0.62 ppg.

In earning Coach of the Year honors, Marsh becomes the first ECAC Hockey League mentor to claim the honor four times. Marsh also won the award in 1989, 1996 and 1999. The Saints started the season as an underdog in both the coaches’ and media’s preseason polls (sixth and seventh, respectively) before they worked their way to the No. 1 position at the end of the year to claim the William J. Cleary Cup as the regular-season champion.

Prior to the start of the 2006-07 season the league’s coaches and administrators voted to rename the Coach of the Year Award and call it the Tim Taylor Coach of the Year Award in honor of long time ECACHL head coach Tim Taylor. Taylor played his collegiate hockey at Harvard and spent 28 seasons behind the bench at Yale before leaving his post at the end of last season.

The inaugural Student-Athlete of the Year Award was given to Bouchard, who has maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.5 at Union while studying neuroscience with a concentration in pre-medical studies in a non-native tongue. He is a Dean’s List student and is a three-time ECACHL All-Academic Team selection. Bouchard has served as an on-ice leader throughout his four-year career. He ranks seventh in Union’s Division I history in points with 86 on 43 goals and 43 assists. He led the team in scoring last season, and has netted a career-high three game winners and two overtime goals this season.

The league also recognized its top rookies, with Wong and Backman leading the way on the six-man list. Dartmouth’s T.J. Galiardi was the third forward named to the team, while Harvard’s Alex Biega and Cornell’s Brandon Nash were the defensive picks. St. Lawrence’s Alex Petizian was named the top rookie netminder. Petizian and Backman were unanimous selections.