With the high stakes Hockey East semifinal matchup with Boston University looming, several Eagles were honored as the conference announced its award winners over the past few days. Head coach Jerry York took home Coach of the Year, Logan Hutsko won Rookie of the Year, Casey Fitzgerald was named the conference’s top defensive defenseman to go with his second team Hockey East honors, and Joe Woll and Michael Kim were named to the conference’s third team.
There’s a lot to get to here but I feel as if it has to start with Jerry York. The Eagles were picked to finish 4th in Hockey East in the preseasons coaches poll and the general consensus was that they were in for a down year. And while that happened to a certain extent in out of conference play, York took a team without a ton of top end talent, won a regular season title with them, and has them two games from an auto bid to the NCAA Tournament. In all honestly, Jerry could probably win this award just about every season - the fact that this is only his fourth in 24 years is kind of a joke - but he may have earned it more than ever this season.
Logan Hutsko took home Rookie of the Year honors on the heels of an outstanding second half that propelled him to the team lead in points. Hustko finished the season with a 12-19-31 line that included 2 game winning goals. He played well above his listed 5’10” size and managed to play a physical game without putting the team in jeopardy by taking penalties (taking just six minors on the season). His 31 points lead all rookies in Hockey East and Hutsko should be a joy to watch for years to come at BC.
Casey Fitzgerald and Michael Kim both took home honors of their own, with Fitzgerald being named the defensive defenseman of the year and to the second all-conference team while Kim was named to the third. As the two real veterans on the blue line and considering the seasons they had, it’s probably best to talk about them together. Fitzgerald put up a 6-13-19 line while Kim finished at 5-15-20, and both were tasked (along with grad transfer Kevin Lohan) with bringing along a defensive core that included four underclassmen. The two biggest parts of the Eagles’ defense lead a group that allowed just 2.6 goals per game and that clicked at a very solid 81 percent on the penalty kill. Both will be huge parts of any extended postseason run that BC hopes to make.
Finally, Joe Woll was named to the conference’s third team along with Kim. Woll played the lion’s share of the games for BC, starting in 29 of their 36 games and posting a .915 save percentage on the season. Woll went 17-10-2 with two shutouts, a 2.45 goals against average, and, somehow, 19 penalty minutes. Looking back to our preseason predictions, a common thought was that Woll would need to have a big season to help out with expected early season scoring problems, and to his credit, he did just that. Woll was mostly good while occasionally flashing signs of being great (his play in the team’s seven game winning streak was almost flawless), with just an occasional moment that left you scratching your head (his turnover leading to Providence’s game winning goal jumps to mind). But on the whole, Woll turned in a very solid sophomore campaign, and walks away with a well earned third team nomination.
Congrats to all the award winners and best of luck in tomorrow’s game.