2009 Men's Ice Hockey All-Conference Selections Released
Landers of Amherst Named Player of the Year
HADLEY, Mass. - Amherst senior defenseman Jeff Landers (Hanover, Mass.) has been selected as the 2009 NESCAC Player of the Year, as determined by the conference coaches. Landers’ torrid scoring pace over the second half of the season helped the Lord Jeffs finish atop the NESCAC standings this year, as his team captured the top seed in the 2009 NESCAC Men’s Ice Hockey Championship for the first time in tournament history. Landers is the second Lord Jeff to earn the conference’s top honor this decade after fellow blue liner Jim Smith came away with the award in 2001.
An All-Conference Second Team selection a year ago, Landers also found a spot on the First Team in addition to being named Player of the Year. Landers is having a career season on the ice for the Lord Jeffs, shattering his previous mark of 22 points over the last two winters with a personal-best eight goals and 27 assists for a team-leading 35 points, just nine points shy of 100 over his tenure at Amherst. It may come as little surprise that Landers is at or near the top of multiple statistical categories in the league this season. Landers’ 35 points lead all conference blue liners and rank second among all skaters, while his 27 helpers hold the top spot in assists. He has also contributed a league-leading 19 points on the power-play (3-16-19) as Amherst’s extra-attacker unit currently hums along at a NESCAC-best 25.4-percent conversion rate. The Jeffs have been one of the hottest teams in the country during the second half of the 2008-09 campaign. After falling in the title game of the St. Michael’s tournament on Jan. 3, Amherst has gone 15-1-0 heading into this weekend’s conference semifinals and Landers has posted 31 of his 35 points during that span, averaging nearly two points per game with 10 multi-point outings while being held scoreless only twice.
Landers may be getting the bulk of the attention for his point production this season, however a big part of the Lord Jeffs’ success can be found just a bit farther back on the ice. Joining Landers on the First Team from Amherst was sophomore goaltender Cole Anderson (Eckville, Alberta), a first time honoree. Anderson has platooned in net with classmate Jonathan La Rose (Boyle, Alberta), who earned Second Team recognition for the second-straight year, and the tandem have combined to anchor the Amherst defense as the Lord Jeffs have allowed a Division III-low 1.50 goals per game this season. At 9-3-1 with one shutout, Anderson boasts a 1.45 goals against average and a .955 save percentage to lead all NESCAC netminders. Anderson made a career-high 54 saves during a 4-3 win over Middlebury on Feb. 20, a victory that not only gave the Jeffs their first win over the Panthers since the 1999-2000 season but also secured the number-one seed in this year’s NESCAC championship.
Junior forward Keith Nelson (Manalapan, N.J.) was the final representative from Amherst to garner All-NESCAC, as the Lord Jeffs led all programs with three First Team members. Nelson is in the midst of his best season wearing an Amherst sweater, ranking second only to Landers among his teammates with five goals and 20 assists (3rd NESCAC) for 25 points (9th). Part of the Jeffs’ top power-play and penalty killing units, Nelson has contributed two goals and 10 assists on the power-play while helping Amherst kill off a league-leading 90.6-percent of man-down situations.
Also at forward on the All-Conference First Team were Middlebury’s Jamie McKenna (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and Martin Drolet (Lachine, Quebec). In his final season with the Panthers, McKenna leads the league in scoring with 36 points on 14 goals and 22 assists, just four points shy of a personal-best 40 accumulated during his rookie campaign. Of his 14 tallies so far this season, six have come on the power-play while five have served as game-winners. McKenna also ranks second in the NESCAC in power-play points, registering 17 (6-11-17).
In addition to being named to the All-NESCAC First Team during his first year in the league Drolet also was chosen as the NESCAC Rookie of the Year, becoming the first-ever player to earn Rookie of the Year and First Team honors at the same time. The freshman forward leads the conference in goals heading into this weekend’s NESCAC championship with 19 tallies - 11 of which have come over the Panthers’ last 12 games. Drolet is just behind Mckenna on the Middlebury stat sheet and third among NESCAC skaters in total points with 33, adding 14 assists to his 19 goals.
Rounding out the NESCAC All-Conference First Team was Williams freshman defender Justin Troiani (Woodbridge, Ontario). While Troiani is currently the top rookie scorer for the Ephs with five goals and 10 assists for 13 points, the intangibles that Troiani has brought to the ice this season have made him stand out. Logging the most minutes of any member of the Williams defensive corps, Troiani has been an effective skater on special teams along with breaking the puck out of the zone. Troiani helped his team reach the NESCAC semifinals this year for the first time since the 2000 tournament.
Coach of the Year went to Amherst’s Jack Arena. Arena, a 1983 graduate of the college now in his 26th season behind the bench for the Lord Jeffs, has guided his team to a 19-4-1 overall mark - just one win shy of setting a new program record - along with the top seed in this year’s NESCAC championship. It is the first time that Arena has received the league’s coaching honor.
| 2008-09 NESCAC Men's Ice Hockey
|F||Martin Drolet||Middlebury||Fr.||Lachine, Quebec|
|F||Jamie McKenna||Middlebury||Sr.||Lake Placid, N.Y.|
|F||Keith Nelson||Amherst||Jr.||Manalapan, N.J.|
|D||Jeff Landers||Amherst||Sr.||Hanover, Mass.|
|D||Justin Troiani||Williams||Fr.||Woodbridge, Ontario|
|G||Cole Anderson||Amherst||So.||Eckville, Alberta|
|F||Trevor Bradley||Connecticut College ||Jr.||West Hartford, Conn.|
|F||Tom Derosa||Tufts||So.||Charlestown, Mass.|
|F||Adam Houli||Trinity||So.||Howell, N.J.|
|F||Alex Smigelski||Williams||Jr.||Mountain Lakes, N.J.|
|D||Chris Diozzi||Trinity||Sr.||Belmont, Mass.|
|D||Kyle Shearer-Hardy||Bowdoin||So.||Montreal, Quebec|
|G||Jonathan La Rose||Amherst||So.||Boyle, Alberta|
|Player of the Year|
|D||Jeff Landers||Amehrst||Sr.||Hanover, Mass.|
|Rookie of the Year|
|F||Martin Drolet||Middlebury||Fr.||Lachine, Quebec|
|Coach of the Year|