Annual Awards Announced; Vaillancourt Named Player of Year

Photo by DSPics.com
Photo by DSPics.com

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ALBANY, N.Y. -- Harvard forward Sarah Vaillancourt was named the ECAC Hockey's Player of the Year, it was announced earlier this evening (March 7) at the league's annual banquet.  The junior was one of several individuals to earn recognition at the annual event, which marks the start of the 25th annual ECAC Women's Hockey Championship weekend.

Harvard's Christina Kessler was the league's Goaltender of the Year, after being named a first-team all-league selection.  Rookie-of-the-Year honors went to Cornell's Rebecca Johnston, who was also selected to the league's all-rookie team and first-team all-league.  Katherine Dineen of Princeton was named Best Defensive Defenseman and Clarkson's Brooke Beazer was named Best Defensive Forward. Harvard's Caitlin Cahow, and St. Lawrence's Annie Guay and Sabrina Harbec, joined Vaillaincourt, Kessler, and Johnston, as each also earned first-teams honors.

Harvard head coach Katey Stone was named the Coach of the Year, while Union earned the Turfer Athletic Trophy, which is given to the team that the coaches believe best fits the ideals of both Turfer Athletic and the ECAC Hockey: Sportsmanship, Commitment, Tenacity and Innovation.

Vaillancourt was the ECAC Hockey leader in points (18-22-40), goals (18), assists (22), and power-play points (6-14-20). The junior forward has registered at least one point in all but two of the Crimson contests this season.  Vaillancourt was also named a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award top-10 finalist. 

Kessler, set a new NCAA Division I single-season record with 11 shutouts in 2007-08.  Kessler earned three consecutive shutouts on two different occasions this season.  She paced the conference in goals-against average (0.80), save percentage (.964) and winning percentage (1.000) with a 20-0-0 conference mark. 

Johnston took home the league's top rookie honor after becoming the first Cornell player to earn 30 points in a season since the 1997-98 campaign.  Johnston is the first Big Red recipient of the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year and the first all-league first team member for Cornell.  She led the Big Red in points this season with 32 points, including 16 goals and 16 assists.

Harbec became the first player in St. Lawrence history to record more 200 career points.  The three-time finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, was second in the league in scoring netting 11 goals and adding 18 assists. 

Cahow, who served as a team captain for this year's Crimson squad, tied for the league lead with seven power-play goals.  A top-10 finalist of the 2008 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, she is first in ECAC Hockey in defenseman scoring and anchors the nation's best scoring defense.  This is Cahow's second selection to first-team All-ECAC Hockey. 

Guay is a two-time ECAC Hockey first team selection as well as a two-time All American.  Serving as one of her team's co-captains this season, she further imprinted her name in the Saints' record books, as she now holds the all-time records for goals, assists and points by a blue-liner for both a season and career.  She was second in scoring among defensemen netting three goals and adding 19 assists.

Earning Coach of the Year honors for the third time, Stone guided the Crimson to the first undefeated season in league play since the 1996-97 season.  The third-winningest coach in Division I Women's College Hockey history is three victories away from 300 in her career, all behind the Harvard bench.

The league also recognized its top rookies, with Johnston leading the way on the six-player list.  Clarkson's Melissa Waldie and St. Lawrence's Karell Emard joined Johnston as all-rookie team forwards, while Princeton's Sasha Sherry and Laura Martindale were the defensive picks.  Clarkson's Eve Grandmont-Berube was named the top rookie netminder. 

Twelve other student-athletes were also recognized at the banquet with second- and third-team honors.

2008 ECAC HOCKEY ANNUAL AWARD WINNERS
Player of the Year -
Sarah Vaillancourt, Harvard
Goaltender of the Year - Christina Kessler, Harvard
Rookie of the Year - Rebecca Johnston, Cornell
Best Defensive Forward - Brooke Beazer, Clarkson
Best Defensive Defenseman - Katherine Dineen, Princeton
(Individual Awards Continued)

Coach of the Year - Katey Stone, Harvard
Turfer Athletic Trophy - Union
 
First Team
Goaltender:
Christina Kessler, Harvard
Defense: Caitlin Cahow, Harvard
Defense: Annie Guay, St. Lawrence
Forward: Sarah Vaillancourt, Harvard
Forward: Sabrina Harbec, St. Lawrence
Forward: Rebecca Johnston, Cornell

Second Team
Goaltender:
 Nicole Stock, Brown
Defense: Sasha Sherry, Princeton
Defense: Kerri Wallace, St. Lawrence
Forward: Chelsea Grills, St. Lawrence
Forward: Jenna Cunningham, Dartmouth
Forward: Maggie Kennedy, Dartmouth

Third Team
Goaltender:
 Lundy Day, Union
Defense: Kiira Dosdall, Colgate
Defense: Carlee Eusepi, Clarkson
Forward: Sam Hunt, Colgate
Forward: Britney Selina, Clarkson
Forward: Sarah Parsons, Dartmouth

All-Rookie Team
Goaltender:
 Eve Grandmont-Berube, Clarkson
Defense: Sasha Sherry, Princeton
Defense: Laura Martindale, Princeton
Forward: Rebecca Johnston, Cornell
Forward: Melissa Waldie, Clarkson
Forward: Karell Emard, St. Lawrence

About ECAC Hockey
ECAC Hockey boasts elite student-athletes and teams from 12 of the nation's most prestigious institutions - Brown University, Clarkson University, Colgate University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, Quinnipiac University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, St. Lawrence University, Union College, and Yale University.