Finalists Named for League’s Best Defensive Forward Award

Amanda Colin, Quinnipiac, (l); Vanessa Gagnon, Clarkson (c); & Jordan Smelker, Rensselaer (r)
Amanda Colin, Quinnipiac, (l); Vanessa Gagnon, Clarkson (c); & Jordan Smelker, Rensselaer (r)

ALBANY, N.Y. -- ECAC Hockey today announced the finalists for the 2013-14 Women’s Best Defensive Forward Award. Amanda Colin, Quinnipiac, Vanessa Gagnon, Clarkson and Rensselaer’s Jordan Smelker have each been nominated as finalists for the honor by the league’s coaches.

The Bobcats senior captain has been a defensive catalyst all four years at Quinnipiac but has taken her play to a whole new level this season, giving consistent inspired efforts on both ends of the ice. She has been the leading force on a Bobcats team that has allowed the second-fewest shots-on-goal of any teams in the conference at just 20.4 allowed per-game. Colin leads the Bobcats contingent of forwards with 16 blocked shots in conference play alone and 27 for the entire season. Perhaps her greatest feat this season is her career-high plus/minus rating of +16. This career-best for Colin comes without having been on a line with any of the Bobcats three top scorers all season. Also, in 22 ECAC Hockey games this season, Colin has recorded a negative plus/minus just once. Colin has committed only five penalties in conference play all season for 10 penalty minutes while she has been a force on the Bobcats top penalty killing unit. Her penalty killing ability and proficiency to block shots the entire season has led to an amazing number wherein the Bobcats have allowed 16 power-play goals all season but Colin has been on the ice for just two of the 16 (12.5 percent).

A fiercely competitive two-way forward Gagnon, who plays a pivotal role in Clarkson’s league-leading scoring defensive effort, helped the Knights claim the program’s first ever ECAC Hockey regular season title. She boasts a +25 plus/minus rating in league play and +37 overall. Clarkson’s top player at the faceoff circle, winning over 63% of her draws overall, Gagnon scored clutch goals with three game-winners during the 2013-14 campaign. She tallied 10 goals and 19 points in ECAC Hockey play and was recently named Clarkson’s Women’s Hockey Student-Athlete of the Year.

Rounding out the finalists is Jordan Smelker, a senior captain, who led the Engineers with 14 assists and added five goals on this season. The Anchorage, Alaska native tied for team lead with ten assists in conference play. The Engineers were 4-1 when Smelker scored a goal and 7-7-1 when she recorded a point. On the defensive side, Smelker is a physical player who rarely lets opposing forwards get past her while registering 19 blocks in conference play.

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