PROVIDENCE, R.I. – On Tuesday, March 18 the Hockey East Association announced that junior forward Noel Acciari has been named the league’s Gladiator Best Defensive Forward of the Year and that junior goaltender Jon Gillies has been named the league’s Stop It Goaltending Champion.
Acciari has recorded season-high totals in goals (12) and assists (15) for a career-best 27 points, which ranks tied for second on the team. The hard-hitting center plays significant time on the power play and penalty-killing units and he has scored three power-play goals while adding a short-handed tally and two game winners. He leads the Friars with a +20 plus/minus rating this season and he has a .563 faceoff win percentage, with both of those marks good for sixth in the league rankings. He also has blocked 36 shots this season to lead all Providence College forwards.
Acciari is the third consecutive Friar to earn the Hockey East’s Best Defensive Forward Award, joining current Buffalo Sabre Tim Schaller (2013) and current senior Ross Mauermann (2014). Since the Hockey East began awarding the Defensive Forward of the Year award in 1996-97, there had never been back-to-back-to-back winners from the same school until this season.
Gillies has posted a 20-13-2 record (12-8-1 Hockey East) to go along with a 1.95 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage, both of which rank seventh in the nation. In Hockey East regular-season games, Gillies posted the sixth-best goals-against average (1.74) and the fifth-best save percentage (.939) in league history. He has posted four shutouts this season, including a 43-save effort in Providence’s 1-0 win against Boston College (Nov. 29).
This season, Gillies has earned two Hockey East Defensive Player of the Month awards and a three Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week honors. Gillies is Providence’s all-time leader in shutouts (13) and career goals-against average (2.06). He owns three of the top-four lowest single-season goals-against averages in Friar history (2.08, 2.16 and 1.95) and this season he moved into second place in career wins at Providence College (56). He ranks also second at Providence in career saves (2,874) and fourth in goaltender appearances (104). In 12 career playoff games, Gillies has a 1.89 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage.
The Hockey East Association will announce its major award winners tomorrow night (March 19) at its annual awards banquet in Cambridge, Mass., including the league All-Rookie and All-Star teams as well as the Coach, Rookie and Player of the Year honorees.