UMass Boston men's hockey coach Peter Belisle has been named the Division II/III New England Coach of the Year and Rob Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.) and Travis Daniel (North Brunswick, N.J.) were each named to the Division II/III New England All-Star Team, the New England Hockey Writers Association (NEWHA) announced Wednesday afternoon.
Belisle led a freshman-laden Beacons squad to a 19-6-2 record and second place in the ECAC East Conference regular season standings, each of which represented the Beacons' best finishes in over two decades. The seventh-year head coach picked up his first career ECAC East Coach of the Year in late February and led the Beacons to tournament titles in both the P.A.L. Stovepipe Classic and Codfish Bowl Tournaments, despite dressing nine freshman every night.
"It's definitely a nice surprise to be honored with this award and I certainly didn't expect it," Belisle said. "I just want to thank the school, the administration, my players and my staff."
Florentino and Daniel become the first Beacons in program history to be honored by the NEWHA, after leading the Beacons high-octane offense.
Florentino, a Third Team USCHO.com and American Hockey Coaches Association All-American, finished third in the nation amongst defenseman with 1.04 points per game. In 27 games, the senior defenseman set new career-highs in goals (seven), assists (21) and points (28), while serving as the captain of the Beacons power-play.
Daniel picks up his first major regional award of the postseason, after becoming the first UMB player to finish with over 40 points in 16 seasons. The junior top-line right-winger paced the Beacons with 28 assists and 40 points in 27 games and set a UMB program-record with his five game-winning goals
"It means a lot (multiple players earning postseason awards), it means everything," said Belisle. "We want win to win an ECAC East Championship first and then we want to win an NCAA Championship-those are our ultimate goals. And all of these postseason awards show that we're getting closer, but we're not there yet.
I'm proud of Rob, the first All-American in our tenure, and Travis, another Joe Concannon Finalist honoree, and I'm really proud that we are ranked #14 in the country. It helps out on so many different levels, from recruiting to exposure, and we've got to use these awards to fuel us for more, because if we don't, this success isn't going to matter down the line."
This year's New England Hockey Writers Award banquet will be held on Tuesday, April 16 at the Prince Restaurant in Saugus, Mass. The banquet will start at 6 p.m. All awards and All-Star teams will be presented at the gala. All coaches, student-athletes, family members and friends are encouraged to attend Tuesday's banquet. Please contact Kristen Blake at (781) 245-2122 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on attending this event. Cost is $40 per person.