Sacred Heart’s Cotton earns Atlantic Hockey Player of the Year honors for ’19-20

 (Mike Miller/Sacred Heart Athletics)
Jason Cotton led Sacred Heart in scoring this season with 20 goals and 37 points in 34 games (photo: Mike Miller/Sacred Heart Athletics).

Atlantic Hockey announced Wednesday the conference’s individual award winners for the 2019-20 season.

Player of the Year: Jason Cotton, Sr., F, Sacred Heart

Cotton was one of the most prolific scorers in Atlantic Hockey this season, tallying 20 goals and 17 assists for 37 points in 34 games. He posted three power-play goals, three short-handed goals, three game-winning goals, a hat trick (Dec. 8 vs. Robert Morris), and was named to the All-Conference First Team this season. Cotton ends his Pioneer career playing 118 career games with 41 goals and 40 assists.

Rookie of the Year: Braeden Tuck, F, Sacred Heart

Tuck was an immediate contributor to the Pioneers this season, scoring five goals among 28 points to lead all conference freshmen. He is also tenth in the nation in points per game among freshmen (.82) and was also named to the All-Rookie Team this season.

Coach of the Year: Eric Lang, AIC

Lang, in his fourth season with the Yellow Jackets, led the program to their best season in its Division I history with an 21-12-1 record (21-6-1 AHA). AIC has now won back-to-back regular-season titles, earning the No. 1 overall seed in the 2020 Atlantic Hockey tournament, and had the longest winning streak in school history with 11 straight wins this season.

Best Defenseman: Mike Lee, Sr., Sacred Heart

Lee capped off his senior year in style with the Pioneers, scoring at a point-per-game average with five goals and 33 points in 33 games. He ends his career at Sacred Heart with 10 goals and 48 assists in 119 games.

Best Defensive Forward: Brady Tomlak, Sr., F, Air Force

Tomlak led the Air Force offense this season with seven goals and 13 assists for a total of 20 points, and led the team in plus/minus with a plus-13.

Individual Sportsmanship: Alex Wilkinson, Sr., D, Army West Point

Wilkinson scored three goals and nine assists with two power-play goals this season. One of the most disciplined players in the AHA, Wilkinson has not committed a single penalty in conference play in two seasons, including a clean slate this year.

Team Sportsmanship Award: Sacred Heart

The Pioneers, who were the No. 2 seed in the tournament, finished the conference portion of their regular season with a league-low 230 penalty minutes in 28 games.

In addition, Sacred Heart senior forward Austin McIlmurray was named the scoring champion with 17 goals and 31 points in conference games this season, while AIC senior goalie Zackarias Skog is the goaltending champion with a 10-4-1 record, a 1.40 GAA and a .942 save percentage.