Gabaj leads ECAC West in scoring, tabbed conference Player of the Year

The ECAC West announced Tuesday the major award winners and All-Conference selections for the 2016-17 season.

Nazareth senior Dominik Gabaj took home the award for Player of the Year, while Hobart College’s Carl Belizario was voted the Defensive Player of the Year, Cole Hepler of Lebanon Valley earned Rookie of the Year and Manhattanville’s Arlen Marshall garnered Coach of the Year.

Gabaj earns the award for Player of the Year after a leading the league in scoring in conference play. The Slovakian forward collected 13 goals and eight assists for 21 points against league foes, and also recorded three game-winning goals in ECAC West action, most in the league. Overall, Gabaj finished the regular season with 27 points (18 goals, nine assists), setting new career-highs in goals and points in the process.

Belizario served as a lynchpin on defense for the Statesmen in 2016-17. The senior helped his side post the league’s stingiest defense during the regular season, as the Statesmen allowed just 60 goals in 25 regular-season outings. The blueliner chipped in offensively as well, compiling 13 points (four goals, nine assists) with three goals and seven assists coming in league action.

Hepler’s Rookie of the Year honor comes after the freshman led his team in goals (16) and points (32) during the regular season. The forward saved some of his best work for league action, tallying 11 and setting up nine more for 20 points in 14 conference contests, just one behind the league’s leading scorer in conference play. Hepler also led all ECAC West skaters with five power-play goals in league play.

Marshall led the Valiants to a 14-10-1 overall mark and a 10-4-1 ledger against conference opponents in 2016-17. In his fifth year at the helm, Manhattanville rattled of wins in six of its final eight league games to earn the second seed and a first-round bye in the ECAC West tournament. Additionally, the Valiants’ 10 wins against league foes represent the most they have accrued in a season during Marshall’s tenure.

First Team All-ECAC West

Player's NamePositionClassSchool
Jory MullinFSr.Neumann
Roman AmmiratoFJr.Utica
Dominik GabajFSr.Nazareth
Carl BelizarioDSr.Hobart
Tanner HicksDSr.Manhattanville
Patrik VirtanenGFr.Utica

Second Team All-ECAC West

Player's NamePositionClassSchool
Nick BingamanFSr.Hobart
Matt LippaFSo.Manhattanville
Adam PlattFSr.Manhattanville
Vinny StefanDJr.Utica
Brad NolanDSo.Lebanon Valley
Tyler FeaverGSo.Manhattanville

All-Conference Honorable Mention

Player's NamePositionClassSchool
Cole HeplerFFr.Lebanon Valley
Mike DavisFJr.Stevenson
Oliver JanzenFJr.Nazareth
Anthony McVeighFJr.Utica
Kevin KirisitsDSr.Utica
J.R. WojciechowskiDSo.Nazareth
Jake DavidsonDJr.Neumann
Anthony PupploGFr.Neumann

ECAC West All-Rookie Team

Player's NamePositionSchool
Cole HeplerFLebanon Valley
Jarrod FitzpatrickFUtica
Matthew CuceFElmira
Harry KramerDElmira
Mike StraubDLebanon Valley
Patrik VirtanenGUtica