May 13, 2012

New England Hockey Journal College Players of the Year

BY NEHJ staff

From Hockey East, ECAC Hockey and Atlantic Hockey to Div. 3, we pick the best men’s and women’s players.

HOCKEY EAST

Spencer Abbott

Senior, F, Maine

How prolific was Abbott’s senior season in Orono? If he hadn’t scored any of his 21 goals, his nation- and league-best 41 assists alone would still have him seventh among Hockey East point scorers. With the goals tacked on, he led the nation in points with 62, as well as points per game (1.59). He won the Hockey East scoring title by a wide margin — 14 points better than linemate Brian Flynn.

He played in all but one of Maine’s games this year, missing the Hockey East final due to injury, and of those 39 appearances, he was held without a point in just 10. A Hobey Baker finalist and first-team All-American, 2011-12 was a coming out party for Abbott, who nearly doubled his career assist total in his final season.

ECAC HOCKEY

Chris Wagner

Sophomore, F, Colgate (Walpole, Mass.)

Playing alongside Hobey Baker Award finalist Austin Smith, Wagner was the top ECAC Hockey player from New England. He tallied 17 goals and 34 assists in 38 games for the Raiders. The breakout season came on the heels of a freshman season in which Wagner had nine goals and 10 assists.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, Wagner inked a three-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks at the end of the season. He had a plus-21 rating this season.

ATLANTIC HOCKEY

Brett Gensler

Sophomore, F, Bentley

A 5-foot-9 and 169-pound sophomore, Gensler piled up 50 points for the season on 23 goals and 27 assists, eclipsing the next highest total in the league.

UConn’s Cole Schneider, also a sophomore, had 45 points, but everyone else was at least 16 points behind Gensler. A St. Charles, Mo., native, he now has 36-38-74 totals in 73 games.

MEN’S DIVISION 3

Jonathan La Rose

Senior, G, Amherst

It was a triumphant return to the Lord Jeffs for La Rose, whose save percentage (.943) and five shutouts led Division 3, and whose goals-against average (1.55) ranked second.

He was a huge reason Amherst won the NESCAC title and advanced to the first Frozen Four in program history, losing to Oswego State, 2-1, in the national semifinals. The team’s 24-4-1 record set a program mark for wins.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY EAST

Florence Schelling

Senior, G, Northeastern

The Swiss sensation capped a stellar four-year career with her best season, leading the nation in save percentage (.950) and finishing second in goals-against average (1.42). She also was a top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award.

It also was the best season for the Huskies (22-7-4) in that span, as they finished first in Hockey East and won the Women’s Beanpot for the first time in 13 years, with Schelling making 43 saves in a 4-3 overtime win against Boston University in the final.

WOMEN’S ECAC HOCKEY

Jillian Dempsey

Junior, F, Harvard (Winthrop, Mass.)

It was a breakout year for Dempsey, whose 27 goals were the 10th most in the nation and who finished with her most productive line (27-21-48) as a collegian, good for the fourth-most points in the league.

She parlayed her success into a spot on both the All-ECAC first team and the U.S. squad for the Women’s World Championship, and was a nominee for the Patty Kazmaier Award.

WOMEN’S DIV. 3

Julie Fortier

Senior, F, Norwich

The Cadets (27-3-1) came up one win short of a second straight national championship, but Fortier did all she could, leading the nation in goals (31) and points (55).

The final marker for the Saint-Malachie, Quebec, native was the game-winner in the 4-3 win over Gustavus Adolphus in the national semifinals, before the Cadets fell to RIT in the championship. Fortier leaves Norwich with 93 career goals.

This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of New England Hockey Journal.