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Hockey East Awards & Playoff Predictions

Without further ado, here are my picks for this year’s Hockey East awards.

First off, the All-Hockey East team:

Forwards
Bobby Butler – New Hampshire
Stephane Da Costa – Merrimack
Gustav Nyquist – Maine

Defense
Justin Braun – Massachusetts
Blake Kessel – New Hampshire

Goaltender
Carter Hutton – Lowell

The forwards were very easy picks.  Defense was harder.  I really admire how much Kessel stepped up his game this year and along with Butler he has been a huge part of what UNH was able to accomplish.  As for Braun, he’s simply the best two-way defenseman in the league.  Positioning on defense?  Check.  Make the hit when needed?  Check.  Knock the puck loose with a poke check?  Check.  Lead an offensive rush?  More often than you’d think.  Put the team on his back and score a bunch of goals in the most important games of the year.  Check and checkmate.  Carter Hutton was also a pretty easy pick.  Imagine if the guy got some goal support.

Now onto the awards themselves.

Rookie of the Year:  Stephane Da Costa
Like there was any other choice…

Coach of the Year:  Dick Umile
Mark Dennehy certainly deserves some consideration, but at the beginning of the year I wasn’t even sure UNH would qualify for home ice and they ended up winning the whole thing.

Player of the Year:  Bobby Butler
The numbers speak for themselves.  I’m sure I speak for all UMass fans when I say his knack for huge goals against the Minutemen will not be missed.

Ok, and now onto my fearless Hockey East playoff predictions:

Lowell at Maine:  Lowell 2-1
Sorry, but I’m not sure what is going on with this Maine team right now.  The question mark in net is way too big for the Black Bears and yet that’s the greatest strength for the River Hawks.  I think Mullins favorite Dave Wilson is good for one game for Maine but that’s it.

Merrimack at Boston University: BU 2-1
This one is going to be very close.  Close like UMass took Northeastern to OT in Game 3 of last year’s quarterfinals, close.  It’s too bad because Merrimack at the Garden would be extremely cool to experience.

Massachusetts at Boston College: BC 2-0
Believe me, I’ll be there rooting on the Minutemen, but BC is just playing too well right now.  I see two very tight games, but both in the Eagles favor.

Vermont at New Hampshire: UNH 2-0
Should be an easy one for the Wildcats.

Semifinals
UNH over Lowell 3-1
BC over BU 4-1

Finals
BC over UNH 4-3

Δ

James Marcou is listed as one of the ten best collegiate free agents drawing NHL interest by Hockey’s Future.

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