University of Maine senior left wing Spencer Abbott, who leads the country in four categories including points, has been chosen the Hockey East’s Player of the Year and one of the 10 Hobey Baker Award finalists.
Linemates Brian Flynn and Joey Diamond were also honored at the annual Hockey East banquet on Thursday night in Boston as Flynn joined Abbott on the Hockey East First Team and Diamond was a second-team selection.
Joining Abbott and Flynn on the first team were Boston College left wing Barry Almeida and defenseman Brian Dumoulin, Boston University defenseman Adam Clendening and Merrimack College goalie Joe Cannata. Biddeford’s Dumoulin was also named a Hobey Baker Award finalist.
Accompanying Diamond on the second line were BU center Chris Connolly and defenseman Garrett Noonan; BC right wing Chris Kreider; Merrimack defenseman Karl Stollery and UMass Lowell goalie Doug Carr.
UMass Lowell’s Norm Bazin and Scott Wilson were named the Coach of the Year and Rookie of the Year, respectively.
Abbott has 59 points on 20 goals and 39 assists in 37 games and also leads the nation in points per game (1.59), assists and assists per game (1.05).
The native of Hamilton, Ontario, has registered at least one point in 27 games and has 17 multiple-point games. He has 28 power-play points including 25 assists.
Center Flynn has 46 points on 17 goals and 29 assists in 37 games and the Lynnfield, Mass. native has collected a point in 26 of his 37 games with 13 multiple-point games. He has had 19 power-play points (7 goals, 12 assists) and 11 game-winning points (4 & 7).
Diamond, a native of Long Beach, N.Y., has scored 23 goals and added 21 assists for 44 points in 34 games. His 0.68 goals-per game average is third-best in the country. Diamond has had at least a point in 24 games at least a goal in 17.
Diamond’s nine power-play goals tie him for seventh in the country.
Abbott, Diamond and Flynn ranked one-two-three in Hockey East in scoring in league games with 38, 37 and 35 points, respectively.
Abbott is the fifth Black Bear to be honored as Hockey East Player of the Year as he joins Mike McHugh (1988), Scott Pellerin (1992), Paul Kariya (‘93) and Chris Imes (‘95).
“You’re always surprised when you win something like that. There’s so many players who could have won it,” said Abbott. “It’s very special to be among those great players who won it before.”
He credited his coaches, his teammates and his linemates for his award.
“Playing with Brian and Joey made me a better player,” said Abbott. “They’re great players and real good friends.”
Abbott also said working out at the Gary Roberts High Performance Center and Fitness Institute in Toronto last summer was important because it enabled him to get a “lot stronger.”
Flynn said it was “definitely nice to get recognized” and said his linemates have been “awesome.”
Flynn had played on a line with Hobey Baker Award Hat Trick (final three) finalist Gustav Nyquist and Tanner House for most of his first three seasons.
“I haven’t really missed much playing with these two guys this year,” said Flynn.
Diamond said it was “a very special night for us.
“Being on a line with two of the best players in college hockey has made my job a lot easier,” said Diamond. “Our chemistry is good on and off the ice.”
“That line is tremendous,” said UNH coach Dick Umile.
“Abbott is heady and sees the ice real well,” said Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy. “He has a real good shot and is real good on the power play. Flynn uses his speed to go to the net hard and he has been a consistent scorer throughout his career. Diamond goes to the tough areas (to score goals) and you need guys like that because it’s very hard to beat goalies on the initial shot.”