FAIRFIELD, Conn.— The Sacred Heart Men's Hockey team held its annual end of season awards banquet and announced the 2017-18 captains this past month. Head coach CJ Marottolo announced that Liam Clare and Mike Crocock will serve as team captains for the 2017-2018 season.
Clare had a sensational sophomore campaign appearing in all 37 games, tallying one goal and finished second on the team with 21 assists. His 21 helpers on the year tied a school record for single season assists by a SHU defenseman set back in 2006-2007 by Matt Grimson. He ranked fifth among Atlantic Hockey defenseman in points with 23 on the season. Clare was second on the team with 68 blocked shots.
Crocock appeared in 36 games for in his sophomore season with the Pioneers. He recorded three assists and one goal. His first career goal on March 3, 2017 as the Pioneers took game one of the Atlantic Hockey first round series over the Bentley Falcons.
"I think Liam and Mike will be outstanding captains. They understand the work ethic and mental toughness required to be successful." Marottolo said. "They are both caring, courageous and consistent in how they conduct themselves and they will set a great example for our group."
At the end-of-year banquet, 10 student athletes earned team awards for the season.
Recent graduate Evan Jasper and junior Nathan Perry were honored with the community service award. Jasper also garnered the Scholar Athlete award and the Peter Downey Award which is presented by the Redliners to the member of the SHU Hockey team who, through sportsmanship, spirit and ability, has best served the finest traditions of Sacred Heart hockey as exemplified by the late Peter Downey, the first head hockey coach and builder of the Sacred Heart hockey program. Jasper recorded nine goals and 12 assists in his senior campaign with the Pioneers and in the final game of the season against Bentley he became the program's all-time leader in games played at 148.
Freshman Zach Tsekos was honored with the Rookie of the year award presented by the Redliners to the most outstanding first-year player on the Sacred Heart Hockey team. Tsekos netted four goals and dished out 12 assists in 31 games in his first season with the Pioneers.
Captain Mitch Nylen was recognized as the Defensive Player of the year after setting career-highs in goals with five and assists with 14. He was named Atlantic Hockey defensive player of the week on December 13 after netting the shorthanded game winning goal for 3-2 win over Mercyhurst in the third annual Jason Pagni game. Nylen finished the year with 40 blocked shots guiding the Pioneers penalty kill that ranked 10th in the nation at 85.6 percent.
Recent graduate Jeff Carroll was honored with the Coaches Award which is presented to the member of the SHU Hockey team whose determination and desire has contributed most to team morale and spirit. Carroll skated in all 37 games in his senior season recording 12 points on six goals and six assists.
Crocock and Perry were honored with the Most Improved Award. Crocock set a career-high high with four points from the blue line. While Perry recorded a 3-6-1 record between the pipes for SHU. He recorded a career-high 39 saves twice in wins against RIT (Jan. 7) and Air Force (Feb. 28).
Recent graduate Justin Danforth took home the Most Valuable Player award, presented by The Redliners to the member of the SHU Team deemed most valuable. Danforth was an Atlantic Hockey All-Conference First Team selection as he led the Pioneers in assists with 22 and total points at 32. He recorded six multi-assist games and two playmakers in his final season with SHU. He finished his career with 42 goals and 82 assists for 124 career points in 147 career games played. Danforth is seventh all-time in program history in points and fifth all-time with 82 career assists.
The Pioneers finished the 2016-17 season with double digit wins for the fourth straight year at 13-19-5, 10-15-3 AHA.