Men’s Hockey Midseason Awards


Photos: Alex Bayer

Aiden Barrett

The Quinnipiac men’s hockey team currently sits at 14-1-3 at the midway mark of the season. The Bobcats are ranked second nationally and first in the conference. Here are their mid-season awards.


Vezina Trophy

Winner: Yaniv Perets

Quinnipiac’s net has been clean for most of the season. The team in whole is allowing just 1.11 goals per game, ranking No. 1 in the nation. The goaltending duo of Yaniv Perets and Dylan St. Cyr has also combined for eight shutouts.

With this award I had to give it to first-year Yaniv Perets. He has been too good through the midway point not to give him the honors. The Quebec native has nine wins, zero losses, six shutouts, and a .87 goals against average to tag along with that.

Perets has also recorded six shutouts in 11 starts, boosting his save percentage up to .944. That ranks fifth among all college netminders.

What makes Perets so successful is his closing speed. Perets is an aggressive goalie who likes to come out and challenge the shooter, reading the play before it develops and using his wide butterfly stance to steal away the net. He also uses this technique in rebound scenarios, giving forwards less room to elevate the puck which makes him so good in tight.

His season up to this point not only puts Perets in discussion for the No. 1 goalie on Quinnipiac but also in the conversation for the “Mike Richter Award.” The goalie ranks top five in several categories and has his team ranked second in the country.

If he’s able to replicate the first half of the season in 14 or 15 more starts I’d find it hard to believe he is not at least given recognition for the award if not receiving it.


James Norris Memorial Trophy

Winner: Zach Metsa

Zach Metsa is the most important part to this Quinnipiac defense. The defenseman is asked to do it all. He takes on opposing teams’ top lines, quarterbacks the No. 1 power play unit, and chips in on five-on-five play too.

After a break-out junior year, Metsa is outdoing himself his senior year. The defenseman leads the team in points with 18. 

For offensive college defensemen, Metsa is considered elite. He led all d-men in points, power-play points, and power-play assists last season, and hasn’t missed a beat this season.

We all know Metsa can collect points and do it in bunches. He has multiple multi-point games this season. What allows Metsa to do this so effectively is how deceptive he is, not only with the puck, but with his feet as well. The elite-level skating of Metsa enables him to show one thing and open up another that he preys upon for the split second it’s open for.

Midway through the year Metsa gets my Norris vote for the team. I also would keep an eye on Metsa possibly signing with an NHL organization when the season ends.


Calder Memorial Trophy

Winners: Yaniv Perets and Jacob Quillan

With what Perets has done this year he has to be a winner. Stepping into the footsteps of Keith Petruzzelli and doing more than just holding the fort down but playing at the level he is and the numbers he’s been able to post so far is incredible for a first-year. But he’s only one of the winners.

For this award I had to go with two players – the obvious choice in Perets and maybe a less obvious one in Jacob Quillan.

Through watching the first 18 games of the season I couldn’t not give Quillan recognition for this award. Quillan has so far played 13 games this season and has scored twice and added an assist.

But for a player like Quillan you have to look beyond the numbers in terms of impact. The Canadian-born player has made the most of the ice-time he has been given. When he’s out there he always seems to be in the thick of things whether it’s throwing a big hit or being in the middle of a scrum around the net. The first-year also has elite-level skill to go along with a chippy side to his game.

Quillan is a player to watch going forward and will be a big part of the future of this team.   


Most Improved Player Award

Winner: TJ Friedmann

It’s no secret that depth runs deep within the Bobcats lineup. All four lines can give any opposing team problems however head coach Rand Pecknold decides to draw them up.

One player who has stepped his game up making the middle-six for Quinnipiac that is much more dangerous is TJ Friedmann

You can see the improvement in just the numbers alone. In his first 88 games with the club in three seasons, Friedmann had 13 points. He has 11 in just 18 games this year.

Friedmann has found a way to make himself a legitimate scoring threat down the middle in his senior year. It couldn’t have come at a better time either. With Skyler Brind’Amour out of the lineup for parts of the season, his scoring helped to replace what they were missing from Brind’amour and has been crucial to the team’s success and winning streak.

Friedmann gets my vote for Most Improved Player at the midway mark.


Hart Memorial Trophy

Winner: Wyatt Bongiovanni

With this award I really could have made a good case for any player on the top line. Between Wyatt Bongiovanni’s ability to get shots off, Ethan De Jong’s toughness, and Oliver Chau’s passing, this was a toss up.

In terms of value though I had to go with Bongiovanni. He is the bonafide No. 1 center on this team. Even when Pecknold decides to split this line up Bongiovanni is still always the No. 1 center.

The center has been a key contributor ever since coming to Quinnipiac. He has 42 goals in under three full seasons of play to lead the team.

This isn’t the only category he leads the team in. Bongiovanni also is tied for the team lead in goals with eight and leads the team in shots by a wide margin with 78. The next closest is teammate Ty Smilanic with 51.

 Quinnipiac is also second in the nation in faceoff win percentage, which relies heavily on Bongiovanni.

If this award was in terms of skill I would give it to Smilanic. But it’s based on value and for me that is Bongiovanni. When a guy is able to win his team possession as effectively as he does and guarantee over four scoring chances a game just off of his shot alone, he is the most worthy of the award.