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Friday, March 28, 2008

Hockey Log

The PC men's hockey team is expected to distribute its team awards in mid-April. Only the players and coaches get an official say in the voting process, but the Free Press decided to offer its own writer's choice selection ahead of time.

Most Valuable Player: Jon Rheault

It’s redundant, but reasonable. Coming into his Friar Finale year with two of these already, not to mention Most Valuable Freshman accolades from 2004-05, Rheault proceeded to embolden the C over his heart and accordingly penned a career season.

Even when PC’s depth vaporized from river to kiddie pool proportions in the stretch drive, Rheault remained the most consistent producer towards final totals of 17-14-31 and 56-49-105 on his career. Unable to mistake that consistency, coach Tim Army appointed his captain as a noticeably effective scoring missionary who rotated lines right up to the dark curtain at Boston College. Most every contemporary Friar mentioned below, and then some, bolstered his guise with Rheault’s aid.

Unsung Hero: John Cavanagh

In a fuller sophomore campaign (he missed 12 games as a freshman versus only six this year) Cavanagh established himself as the Friars’ best face-off regular. Of the four players to have taken more than 100 draws, he forged the best win percentage at .584.

On PC’s oft-proficient power play, Cavanagh was one of the forgotten producers –behind the radiant likes of Rheault, Pierce Norton, and Matt Taormina- despite the fact that he inked a goal and 8 helpers on the man-up offensive. Additionally, there were a few nights where Cavanagh flaunted a commendable knack for drawing opposing penalties.

Best Defensive Player: Matt Taormina

The sometimes questionable cliché of the ideal defense being a solid offense might be excused if the written note from home contains Taormina’s stats. He charged up a final transcript of 9-18-27 versus a 6-12-18 frosh/soph. aggregate and a team-leading +10 rating.

Of his nine goals, three came on the power play, two in shorthanded sequences, and three were game-clinchers.

Given Rheault’s graduation and power play point partner Cody Wild’s post-season departure to the AHL’s Springfield Falcons, Taormina will probably be the most eyeballed Friar come next training camp.

Most Valuable Freshmen: Kyle MacKinnon and Joe Lavin

MacKinnon was the first in his class to bloom on the scoresheet, though he eventually slowed down for a season total five goals and five assists. But not unlike Cavanagh, MacKinnon has demonstrated proficiency in the dots, winning 361 out of his 644 face-offs (a .561 percentage).

Of the ten Friars to play in all 36 games, MacKinnon tied with junior captain Kyle Laughlin as the least penalized player with a mere four minor infractions to speak of.

Meanwhile, Lavin came to campus already having shaken hands with Chicago Blackhawks personnel at the NHL Draft but reluctantly bearing a don’t-expect-too-much-scoring caveat from scouting services. Nonetheless, like MacKinnon and his other forward classmates, the defenseman Lavin eventually began to sprinkle respectable scoring data. He finished the season with eight assists, three of those on the power play.

Quick Feeds: Boston College, raring to confront Minnesota up at DCU Center Saturday, is Hockey East’s last hope for Frozen Four drought relief after New Hampshire was throttled by Paul Pooley’s Notre Dame pupils, 7-3, at Colorado Springs. Freshman phenom James vanRiemsdyk etched a playmaker hat trick in what could be his final collegiate contest (stand by for when the early signing winds pick up this spring)…Speaking of early signings, Wild –already five games into his pro enterprise- made his first return to the Divine City since his abrupt exodus from Friartown and pitched in a pivotal helper towards Springfield’s 4-3 shootout win over the P-Bruins Friday. With 9:19 to spare in regulation, Wild and UNH alumnus Jacob Micflikier set up Stephen Werner to knot things at 3-apiece…On Thursday night, outgoing goaltender Tyler Sims was formally recognized as the top male student/athlete in his graduating class with the Joseph V. MacAndrew Award. Trouble was, Sims is preoccupied with revving up his pro career. He made his debut with the ECHL’s Reading Royals on Tuesday, pushing away 29 shots in a 3-2 loss to Dayton.