Eph Seniors Sean Dougherty and Craig Kitto Named Semi-Finalists for Joe Concannon Award

Sean Dougherty '15 by Bob Ewell
Sean Dougherty '15 by Bob Ewell

List includes 12 nominees from six nationally ranked Division II/III teams in New England

BOSTON – Gridiron Club of Greater Boston president Bob Norton announced today that 18 student-athletes are semi-finalists for the fifteenth Joe Concannon Award, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England at the NCAA Division II/III level.

This year's list comprises nine forwards, five offensively talented defensemen and four exceptional goaltenders. The candidates include eight players from the NESCAC conference, six from the ECAC East conference, three from the ECAC Northeast and one from the NE-10 Conference.

Eph seniors Sean Dougherty (Smithtown, NY) a goalie and forward Craig Kitto (Ashburn, VA) are among this year's candidates for the Joe Concannon Award.

This marks the third consecutive year that Sean Dougherty has been named a semi-finalist for the Joe Concannon Award and Craig Kitto is being nominated for the first time.

Dougherty has played in 16 games this season for the Ephs and he sports a record of 10-5-1. In 960 minutes between the pipes he has fashioned a .920 save percentage and sports a 2.12 goals against average. He has authored one shutout this winter.

To date in his career in the Purple Valley Dougherty has played in 70 games for the Ephs and has compiled an overall record of 41-21-7. Six of Dougherty's wins have come via a shutout. In 4,195 minutes in net Dougherty has recorded 1,9000 saves for a save percentage of .933. He has allowed 136 goals, which gives him a 1.95 goals against average.

Kitto leads the Ephs in goals this season with 10 and he is tied for team-high in assists with 12, giving him the team lead in points with 22. One of Kitto's goals was a game-winner and four have come on the power play.

Craig Kitto '15

At Williams Kitto has played in 80 games and has netted 32 goals, while assisting on 40 for a career points total of 72.

Twelve of this year's semifinalists are members of nationally ranked teams. They include, from the ECAC East, Alec Thieda (Rochester Hills, MI) and Dean Niezgoda (Brewster, MA) from number-one-ranked Norwich University; Jamie Murray (Scituate, MA) and Mike Vollmin (Wilmington, NC) from Babson College; Stephen Buco (North Providence, RI) and Michael Kuhn (Holbrook, MA) from Massachusetts-Boston.

Other semifinalists from NESCAC teams include: Aaron Deutsch (Lloyd Harbor, NY) from Amherst College; and last season's Joe Concannon Award winner, Jackson Brewer (Newton, MA), along with teammates Michael Flynn (Cheshire, CY) and Ryan Cole (Anchorage, AK) from Trinity College.

Two more NESCAC institutions are represented with worthy nominees. Sophomore EJ Rauseo (Methuen, MA) leads the Mules of Colby College in scoring and has provided great team leadership. The final NESCAC nominee is senior Connor Quinn (Sudbury, MA), who leads Bowdoin College in scoring.

Two goaltenders and one offense-minded defenseman represent the ECAC Northeast Conference. Junior defenseman Alex Pompeo (Hingham, MA) has been a great addition to the Salve Regina squad posting seven goals and 17 points so far this season. Sophomore goalie Joey Ballmer (Kalamazoo, MI) is another repeat nominee carrying a .935 save percentage and 1.88 goals-against average for Johnson and Wales University. Junior Alex Larson (Madison, AL) of the Nichols College Bison ranks among the nation's top goaltenders. He has 13 wins, a .953 save percentage, and a 1.68 goals-against average.

From NCAA Division II ranks and the Northeast-10 Conference is junior forward Joe Collins (Mansfield, MA) of Southern New Hampshire University. His 38 points to date lead the scoring parade for the Penmen, who are seeking to repeat as NE-10 champions.

"This cadre of 18 semifinalists is the largest group we have ever included for consideration," said Gridiron Club Hockey Awards Committee chairman Tim Costello. "This list reflects the high level of play and talent found across the conferences in New England. Our committee believes that the level of play merited increasing the number of players for consideration. As is the case each season, it will definitely be a challenge for the committee to pick the winner from the players nominated."

The Gridiron Club plans to announce the finalists and winner of the 15th Joe Concannon Award in March, prior to the start of NCAA Frozen Four Tournament play and present the award during the New England Hockey Writers dinner in April.

The Joe Concannon Award

The Gridiron Club established the Joe Concannon Award in 2001 to honor Joe, a lifelong devotee of college hockey, former member of the Walter Brown Award Selection Committee and, as a journalist, a staunch advocate for the amateur athletes he knew and covered. A native of Litchfield, Connecticut, Joe graduated from Boston University in 1961. He served as sports information director (SID) at Holy Cross before joining the Boston Globe in the late 1960's to cover college sports. Joe declined frequent invitations by his editors to write about Boston's major professional sports teams, preferring to concentrate on the colleges, distance running and golf. He wrote the book Marathoning with Bill Rodgers and established the highly successful Litchfield Road Race in his hometown. Joe was a world traveler and was especially proud of his Irish heritage, frequently sojourning to the Emerald Isle. He passed away in 2000.

2014-2015 Gridiron Club of Greater Boston Officers: Bob Norton, President; Jim Kearney, First Vice President; Tom Lamb, Second Vice President; Dick Lawrence, Secretary/Treasurer.

2014-2015 Gridiron Club Hockey Awards Selection Committee and Advisory Board: Tim Costello, Chairman; Joe Bertagna, Tom Burke, Jim Connelly, Ned Cully, Bob DeGregorio, Kevin Fleming, Steve Hagwell, Nancy Marrapese-Burrell, Hon. Gordon A. Martin, Jr., Paul McNamara, and William J. Stewart III.