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Contact: William Sodoma
Date: March 6, 2008
WATERVILLE, Maine --- Senior forward T.J. Kelley (Taft School/Ridgefield, Conn.) was named the New England Small College Athletic Conference Men's' Hockey Player of the Year on Thursday and was one of three Mules to earn first team honors for NESCAC Coach of the Year Jim Tortorella.
Kelley, senior defensemen Arthur Fritch (St. Sebastian's/South Boston, Mass.), and senior forward Josh Reber (Taft School/Edina, Minn.) were all named to the first team. Meanwhile, Tortorella earned his second NESCAC Coach of the Year honor in three seasons.
The Colby award winners head into one of the biggest weekends of their hockey lives. The top-seeded Mules are hosting the NESCAC Final Four and will play sixth-seeded Trinity College on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Alfond Rink in a semifinal game. The NESCAC title game is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday at Colby.
Colby's program was honored for the second straight year with the NESCAC Player of the Year. Greg Osborne '07 was selected last year and later earned All-American honors.
Kelley was on the NESCAC second team as a sophomore, but did not get selected a year ago as Osborne was the go-to offensive player. Kelley excelled in the scoring role this season with 19 goals and 24 assists to lead the conference in scoring with 43 points. He also is first in the league in power play goals (9) and is tied for fifth in game-winning goals with three. Kelley has 56 goals and 70 assists for 126 career points.
Fritch, a first team All-American last year, is on the All-NESCAC squad for the third straight year. He was on the second team as a sophomore and moved up to first team last year. Fritch is fourth in the league in defensemen scoring with nine goals and 17 assists for 26 points. He also is tied for first in the league in game-winning goals (4), ranks in a tie for sixth in power play goals (5), is tied for eighth in assists, and is ninth in point scoring. Fritch is Colby's all-time leader in defensemen scoring (32 goals, 83 assists, 115 points) and assists.
Reber was on the second team a year ago and moved up to the first team despite missing five games with an injury. Reber is second in the conference in scoring with 10 goals and 24 assists for 34 points. He is tied with Kelley for the league lead in points per game (1.79). Reber leads the conference in assists per game (1.26), is tied with Kelley for total assists, and is tied for third in power play goals (6). Reber, with 34 goals and 98 assists for 132 career points, needs two assists to become just the third player in program history to reach 100 assists.
Tortorella was NESCAC Co-Coach of the Year in 2006, but is all by himself this year after leading the Mules to a 15-8-1 record and the top seed in the league tourney for the first time ever. Tortorella, a former University of Maine hockey player and a 1981 graduate, set a milestone by collecting win 200 in his 13th season. He heads into this weekend with a 201-102-24 career record at Colby.
NESCAC Men's Hockey All-Conference
Player of the Year: T.J. Kelley, Colby; Rookie of the Year: Ryan Leary, Bowdoin; Coach of the Year: Jim Tortorella, Colby
First team: T.J. Kelley, Colby, senior, forward; Josh Reber, Colby, senior, forward; Kyle Schoppel, Amherst, senior, forward; Arthur Fritch, Colby, senior, defensemen; Tom Maldonado, Middlebury, senior, defensemen; Greg Parker, Connecticut College, sophomore, goalie
Second team: Joel Covelli, Amherst, junior, forward; Mickey Gilchrist, Middlebury, senior, forward; Brandon Jackmuff, Williams, senior, forward; Jeff Landers, Amherst, junior, defensemen; Mike Westerman, Bowdoin, senior, defensemen; Jonathan LaRose, Amherst, first year, goalie; Wes Vesprini, Trinity, first year, goalie