Friars Get Nominated for Multiple Awards
Hockey Players Amongst Nominees for the Walter Brown and Hobey Baker Awards
By Sam Scanlon ’19
The Providence College Men’s Ice Hockey program has had some extremely talented players in its ranks. At this point, it is no surprise that four different Friars have been nominated for some of college hockey’s most prestigious awards.
Jacob Bryson ’20, Scott Conway ’19, and Josh Wilkins ’20 have been nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, which is awarded to the best player in Division I hockey. Wilkins and Hayden Hawkey ’19 have been named semifinalists for the Walter Brown Award. This award celebrates the best American-born college hockey player who plays in New England.
Bryson is an obvious nomination for the Hobey Baker Award thus far. As a sophomore, he was given All-American honors, and has now developed into one of the top players in the country. The Buffalo Sabres’ prospect hails from London, Ontario and ranks sixth on the team in points with 20 (4 goals, 16 assists). Bryson’s speed and skill are just one part of his game, as the defenseman boasts a +15 +/- rating, meaning offenses have difficulty putting the puck in the back of the net when he is on the ice.
Conway has had a successful second half of the season so far, posting eight of his 12 goals since winter break. Conway holds the team lead in goals with 12, and in power play goals with five. Conway is no stranger to goal scoring, as he has 37 career goals throughout his three-year tenure with the Friars. Conway earned MVP honors in the Ledyard Classic Tournament to kick off the second half of the season, as he tallied three goals in two games. Conway’s clutch goal-scoring ability has been a major part of the Friars’ success, and has earned him a Hobey Baker Award nomination.
Wilkins’ impressive junior stint has earned him both Hobey Baker and Walter Brown Award nominations. The Raleigh, North Carolina native leads the team in both assists (19) and points (28). Already with 90 career points, Wilkins is constantly finding ways to get on the scoresheet as he tallied 31 points in each of his two previous seasons. He also held a 13-game point streak throughout this season, posting seven goals and 12 assists during that span. Wilkins is a dynamic player with the puck. His playmaking ability and vision allow linemates Jack Dugan ’22 and Kasper Björkqvist ’20 plenty of opportunities to get shots on net and score goals. Also, Wilkins’ quick release and accurate shot enables him to make goalies miss and get on the board himself. Wilkins has proven to be an essential part of the Friars offense throughout his career in Friartown.
Hawkey joins Wilkins as a semifinalist for the Walter Brown Award. They join 18 other nominees from 12 other schools in the New England area. Hawkey continues to be the backbone for the Friars. The senior has blanked six teams so far this season, which earned him the all-time school record for career shutouts last weekend in Maine with 14. He needs just one more win to hold the all-time school record for wins as well. This season, Hawkey holds a 1.90 Goals Against Average (GAA), as well as a .917 Save Percentage. His six shutouts put him second in the country and his GAA is good enough for ninth. He joins four other goalies in the semifinalist pool.
These four Friars have been pivotal this season and have each made immense contributions to the team. Voting for the Hobey Baker nominees will continue through March 10 and the top 10 nominees will be announced on March 20. The hat trick finalists will be named on April 4, with the ceremony crowning the winner on April 12 as a part of the Frozen Four festivities in Buffalo, New York. Finalists for the Walter Brown Award, college hockey’s oldest nationally recognized honor, will be announced in March.
Foley, Pinho Get Prestigious Nod
Both Named Finalists for Hobey Baker Award
by Sam Scanlon ’19
It is hard to think about the Providence College Men’s Ice Hockey Team without thinking of Brian Pinho ’18 and Erik Foley ’19. The two Friar superstars have been integral parts of the Friars’ offense since they joined the squad in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Their preliminary nominations for the Hobey Baker Award, which celebrates college hockey’s top player, should come as no surprise.
Senior captain Pinho, a North Andover, Massachusets native and product of the Catholic Conference’s St. John’s Preparatory School, has been a dominant force in all three phases of the game throughout his career. In an interview with New England Hockey Journal’s Jeff Cox, Foley spoke highly of his comrade Pinho, saying, “He’s a great player. He never makes a mistake. It’s hard to find a player like him.” A player like Pinho is certainly hard to find considering his roles on the top-line power-play and penalty-killing units, in addition to being the top line center.
As a sixth round draft pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft to the Washington Capitals and an offensive powerhouse, Pinho’s style of play is definitely a solid fit if he can work his way up to the big leagues after his graduation. His offense has been nothing short of outstanding over his four-year career; he recently surpassed the 100-point benchmark in his career for the Friars. So far this year, Pinho has notched 24 points on 11 goals and 13 assists, trailing only Foley for the team lead.
Currently heating up, Pinho has registered 11 points in the first eight games of the second half of the season, dating back to their matchup against Arizona State in the opening round of the Three Rivers Classic. His efforts during this span have earned him national recognition as the Hockey East Offensive Player of the Week, as well as the third Star of the Week for all of NCAA men’s hockey players.
Friars Head Coach Nate Leaman told Cox, “Pinho is really going right now. There’s no doubt about it. He’s come back after break and he really has his legs going.” Having the senior captain and first line center playing his best hockey right now is crucial for the Friars to make a deep playoff run.
Pinho is the type of player who excels all over the ice by getting into the dirty areas, making plays, and scoring goals. Speed kills, a fact Pinho certainly knows. Perhaps the fastest skater on the ice at all times, his size and speed has allowed him to be recognized as one of the nation’s best players, so his nomination is deserved.
Foley, the Friars’ other Hobey Baker Award nominee, has emerged as one of the nation’s best goal scorers as he is in the midst of his junior season for the Friars, seemingly always appearing on the scoresheet. Another Massachusetts native, hailing from Mansfield, has slid into the top scoring role for the Friars with 29 points in 24 games. His 29 points are from his team leading 13 goals and 16 assists.
The Winnipeg Jets’s 2015 third round pick has a heavy shot and a knack for getting into positions that allow him to score. His quick first step and long strides enable him to elude defenders and get time and space to get off an open shot, which he rarely misses.
Like Pinho, Foley is a force all over the ice and in the dirty areas. He concurred in that same interview with Cox admitting, “I’m trying to be heavy down low, take pucks to the net, and use my shot. I just want to make plays.” A natural playmaker and goal scorer, Foley seems to be doing his job perfectly.
In the second half of the season, the same eight game span as Pinho, Foley has picked up eight points on three goals and five assists. With 82 points thus far in his career, Foley is well on his way to join Pinho in the 100 club.
Foley has been heavily relied on for offensive production for the Friars since his career started here at PC, and he has certainly stepped up to his expectations. When the two of them start picking up their play simultaneously, it is an absolute nightmare for opposing teams.
As the Friars face off against another offensive powerhouse in the eighth-ranked Northeastern University Huskies this weekend, Foley and Pinho will be heavily relied on to match their weaponry in Northeastern’s lineup. After a Friday night game at Northeastern, the Huskies come to Schneider Arena on Saturday night. Support our Hobey Baker Award finalists by coming to the game, and vote for them at voteforhobey.com.