Hockey East Regular Season Awards

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By: Jarett Leonard, Dave Souza and Matt Dresens

Our men’s ice hockey writers broke down who they thought were the best in Hockey East during the regular season. The trio named a player, rookie and coach of the year, as well as naming a Hockey East First, Second and Rookie Team. They rounded out their selections with the Hockey East All-Names Team, which featured what they thought the best names in the conference were.


 Jarett

Player of the Year: Adam Gaudette, Northeastern

You’ll probably be able to add a Hobey Baker Award to the long list of accolades that Gaudette will garner this season.

Rookie of the Year: Cayden Primeau, Northeastern

It came down to two goaltenders for this award between Primeau and Maine’s Jeremy Swayman, but you have to give the edge to Primeau. His save percentage wasn’t just the best among rookie goaltenders, but it was by far the best in all of Hockey East.

Coach of the Year:Mike Cavanaugh, Connecticut

This was a tough one. While an argument can be made for Jerry York after BC won the regular season title or Jim Madigan for his success with Northeastern, I always look at who exceeded expectations the most, and Cavanagh stuck out in that regard. Even without his starting goaltender Adam Huska, UConn went on a late season seven-game winning streak to earn the fifth seed and a bye in the tournament.

First Team
F Adam Gaudette, Northeastern
F Dylan Sikura, Northeastern
F Nolan Stevens, Northeastern
D Jeremy Davies, Northeastern
D Dante Fabbro, Boston University
G Cayden Primeau, Northeastern

We should just rename this Northeastern’s starters (plus Fabbro). The best line in college hockey up front, Hockey East’s top scoring defenseman, and the best goaltender in the conference are all deserving of First Team honors. The second D spot is a little more flexible, but Fabbro was second among defensemen in scoring and his goals came at important times for the Terriers.

Second Team
F Erik Foley, Providence
F Bobo Carpenter, Boston University
F Max Letunov, Connecticut
D Jacob Bryson, Providence
D Brandon Hickey, Boston University
G Stefanos Lekkas, Vermont

Foley’s 34 points was fourth in the league and provided an offensive threat on a team full of defensive-style players. Carpenter had 30 points and scored in bunches for BU, including a 5-goal weekend against UConn that almost single handedly delivered his team three points. Defense was a little tricky here, but Bryson and Hickey were both integral parts of their teams in different ways, with Bryson providing an offensive spark to the Friars from the backend and Hickey leading BU to a second-half resurgence. Take away the teams in front of them, and Lekkas is the best goalie in the league in my opinion. His numbers take a hit with Vermont’s defense, but the sophomore has a bright future in front of him.

Rookie Team
F Logan Hutsko, Boston College
F Shane Bowers, Boston University
F John Leonard, Massachusetts
D Cale Makar, Massachusetts
D Max Gildon, New Hampshire
G Cayden Primeau, Northeastern

Hutsko led the league’s rookies in points and Bowers’ 16 goals was second in the nation and most in Hockey East among freshmen. While BU’s Brady Tkachuk was third in points for rookies and was a big presence early in the season, he seemed to not make as big of an impact in the last month or so, so I went with Leonard. Makar’s skating reminds you a lot of Charlie McAvoy, and Gildon led the league’s freshmen defensemen in goals, points, and power play goals.

Names Team
F Kasperi Ojantakanen, Connecticut
F Vimal Sukumaran, Providence
F Cedric Lacroix, Maine
D Kasper Kotkansalo, Boston University
D Dominic Dockery, Merrimack
G Hayden Hawkey, Providence


Dave

Player: Adam Gaudette, (NU)

I mean there really isn’t much to be said. He’s the consensus conference player of the year – or should be – by every person who covers Hockey East. Leads the nation in goals (29) and points (56) plus has a 14th-best 27 helpers on the year too. Gaudette leads a Northeastern team that is already lethal and will look to inflict a massive amount of damage come tournament time. Oh, and pencil him in for the Hobey Baker Award while we’re at it.

Rookie: Cayden Primeau (NU)

Northeastern hasn’t lacked scoring talent over the last several years. While Gaudette is the newest edition of that firepower, he is not the only Husky to be a stellar goal-scorer. Before him came the likes of Zach Aston-Reese and Kevin Roy. But what kept Northeastern from being a true power in Hockey East was their goaltending. Names like Clay Witt and Ryan Ruck have started between the pipes for Northeastern in recent years, but they were only serviceable at best. Now the Huskies have a true number one goalie, Cayden Primeau. He’s fifth in the nation with a 1.85 goals-against average and is tied for fourth with a 9.33 save percentage. Both of those numbers top Hockey East – by a lot. While other rookies like Bowers and Husko have made big impacts for their teams, neither has done so like Primeau.

Coach:Red Gendron (Maine)

This one was a toss up between Gendron, Carvel and Cavanaugh – as evident by all three of our choices. The reason I went with Gendron was similar to Jarett’s reasoning for Cavanaugh, expectations were shattered. At the beginning of the season I thought Maine was going to be a cellar-dweller in the conference. Instead, they were a weekend away from a bye in the Hockey East playoffs and were one of the toughest teams to play against all season – especially in their own building. 18-14-4 overall and a tie for fifth place in the league? That’s COY worthy in my book.

First Team
F: Dylan Sikura (NU)
F: Adam Gaudette (NU)
F: Erik Foley (PC)
D: Jeremy Davies (NU)
D: Dante Fabbro (BU)
G: Cayden Primeau NU)

I mean there really isn’t that big of a discussion on all of the Northeastern picks. While the Huskies may not have won the league’s regular season title, there is no doubt they are the best team in Hockey East. Their two best players, their best defenseman, and their stellar netminder have easily paced the entire conference. And while a lot of people may chastise me for not including the final third of the best line in college hockey – Nolan Stevens – my final forward selection has to go to Erik Foley. Mid-way through the season there were rumblings the Providence standout might win league MVP; and while Gaudette has run away with that award, Foley’s great offensive play on a defense-first team is still worthy enough of a first team selection. Fabbro slots in as the last defense spot because of how he dictates the entire BU team. The offense usually is at its best when it generates from the point – specifically on the power play – and Fabbro is the best at doing so. In his own zone he’s equally as important, blocking shots left and right.

Second Team
F: Nolan Stevens (NU)
F: Max Letunov (UConn)
F: Bobo Carpenter (BU)
D: Jacob Bryson (PC)
D: Max Gildon (UNH)
G: Hayden Hawkey (PC)

The second team is where it gets interesting. Stevens and Carpenter are easy picks because of their offensive production – plus the latter’s two-way and face-off abilities. Letunov also has some of that lethal scoring ability, and turns it on when he needs to. Hawkey has been a mainstay in the Providence net, anchoring a defense that allowed the second fewest goals both in conference and overall. Bryson and Gildon both provided massive sparks offensively from their team’s blue lines.

Rookie Team
F: Logan Hutsko (BC)
F: Shane Bowers (BU)
F: John Leonard (UMass)
D: Cale Makar (UMass)
D: Max Gildon (UNH)
G: Cayden Primeau (NU)

Husko led all rookies in scoring with 29 points, though Bowers and Leonard nipped right on his heels with 27 – Bowers led all freshman in goals with 16. Leonard was one of the most noticeable players on the ice for the Minutemen and would have been the most impactful for UMass were it not for Cale Makar, their stud blue liner. Both young guns turned in highlight-reel goals against Vermont in their opening round series with the Catamounts.

Names Team
Kasperi Ojantakanen (UConn)
Biagio Lerrario (NU)
Vimal Sukumaran (Providence)
Kasper Kotkansalo (BU)
Croix Evingson (Lowell)
Hayden Hawkey (PC)


Matt

Player: Adam Gaudette, NU (29-27-56)

Duh.

Rookie:Shane Bowers, BU (16-11-27)

Most consistent among rookies. Hutsko (12-17-29) had a great season, but scored 12 points in his last six games and had a stretch of plat where he scored only one point in eight games. The two have the same point total, but Bowers has four more goals and never went more than three games without a point. Second national among rookies in goals scored.

Coach: Greg Carvel, UMass

Yes, UMass finished 8th, but they were supposed to finish last. The Minutemen are hosting a home playoff series for the first time since 2007 and last year they went 5-29-2. They are 15-17-2 this year and Carvel have the team headed in the right direction. His recruits are outstanding, Makar and Ferraro are among some go the best defenseman in the league and. Five freshman and one sophomore lead the team in scoring.

First Team
F, Dylan Sikura (NU)
F, Adam Gaudette (NU)
F, Erik Foley (PC)
D, Jeremy Davies (NU)
D, Tommy Panico (Lowell)
G, Cayden Primeau NU)

Second Team
F, Nolan Stevens (NU)
F, Logan Hutsko (BC)
F, Bobo Carpenter (BU)
D, Dante Fabbro (BU)
D, Michael Kim (BC)
G, Hayden Hawkey (PC)

Rookie Team
F, Logan Hutsko (BC)
F, Shane Bowers (BU)
F, Alex Esposito (Vermont)
D, Cale Makar (UMass)
D, Mario Ferraro (UMass)
G, Jeremy Swayman (Maine)

Names Team
Eetu Torpström (UMass)
Kasperi Ojantakanen (UConn)
Veli-Matti Tiuraniemi (Maine)
Simon Lööf (Merrimack)
Vlad Dzhioshvili (Vermont)
Hayden Hawkey (PC)


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