ALBANY, N.Y. - The finalists for the 2018-19 Best Defensive Forward award have been released, and Morgan Barron (Cornell), Cole Maier (Union), and Nico Sturm (Clarkson) have all been named top-three finalists.
Barron had a breakout sophomore campaign for the Big Red, nearly doubling his offensive production while stepping up as one of the league’s best forwards on the backcheck. He ranked third on the team in +/- with a +10 mark, blocking 17 shots and scoring a team-high 30 points. The 6-3 forward was also instrumental to a penalty killing unit that boasts an 87% success rate, including 92.2 % since the start of December.
Maier has been the catalyst for a Union team that finished seventh in the ECAC Hockey regular-season, pacing the Dutchmen with his play on both ends of the ice. The senior led the team in scoring with 31 points (8G, 23A), while also blocking 37 shots which ranked third on the team. Maier has been especially efficient on his home ice, as Union has played to a 12-3-3 record at Messa Rink this year.
Clarkson’s success this season has been in large part due to Sturm, who’s been extremely efficient throughout the 2018-19 campaign. The junior led the league in +/- this season, posting a +23 mark, including +16 in league play. He paced the Golden Knights with 41 points (13G, 28A), while blocking 31 shots.
The Best Defensive Forward award will be announced on Tuesday, March 19.
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