The Atlantic Hockey Association today announced the 2018-19 All-Conference teams. The three teams are made up of 19 players from ten of the 11 league institutions, with Bentley leading the way with four members.
All-Conference First Team
Forward – Blake Christensen, Junior, AIC
Forward – Dylan McLaughlin, Senior, Canisius
Forward – Derek Barach, Senior, Mercyhurst
Defense – Joseph Duszak, Junior, Mercyhurst
Defense – Brennan Kapcheck, Sophomore, AIC
Goalie – Billy Christopoulos, Senior, Air Force
Christensen has gotten better and better as the season has gone along for the Yellow Jackets, entering the quarterfinal round with team-highs of 29 assists and 42 points. The assist total is a program record and tied for fifth in Division I while his 42 points is second in the conference. He has also posted 13 goals which was second on the team, six coming on the power play.
McLaughlin, a top-ten Hobey Baker finalist a year ago, had another outstanding season for the Golden Griffins, leading the team with 19 goals, which tied for the most in the league during the regular season, along with 21 assists. He was also second in the nation with 151 shots on goal. He ends his career with 147 points, tied with NHL player Cory Conacher for the most in school history. He has signed a two-year deal with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks).
Barach finished second on the Lakers in goals with 15 and assists with 22, and his four power play goals was tied for third. His 144 career points is second on the school’s all-time list, scoring 49 goals and 95 assists. He has signed a professional tryout with the Cleveland Monsters (AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets).
Duszak finished ahead of Barach in each team scoring category, registering 16 goals and 31 assists while tied for the team-lead with a plus-8 rating. He is third in Division I in both assists and points, and had a point in 11 straight games from December 28 to February 1, notching 22 points during it, vaulting him into the national scoring race. He has signed an entry-level contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kapcheck followed up last year’s AHA Rookie of the Year campaign with another solid season, anchoring the blue-line of the top-seeded Yellow Jackets. His 19 assists is second on the team and his plus-8 rating is tied for second. He and Christensen are two main parts of the highest scoring offense in the league at 3.29 goals per game, and in program history, at 112 goals total.
Christopoulos has had another huge year in net for the Falcons, leading the league in both GAA at 2.13 and save percentage at .919 while posting 14 wins and three shutouts. He has also backboned the team to the best penalty killing efficiency in Division I at 89.7-percent, as the team has allowed just 15 power play goals all season.
All-Conference Second Team
Forward – Luke Santerno, Sophomore, Bentley
Forward – Alex Tonge, Senior, Robert Morris
Forward – Abbott Girduckis, Senior, RIT
Defense – Dalton MacAfee, Senior, Army West Point
Defense – Tanner Jago, Senior, Bentley
Goalie – Aidan Pelino, Junior, Bentley
Santerno leads the Falcons with 24 assists and 35 points, and is second on the team with 11 goals. During the team’s 12-game unbeaten streak to begin 2019 and help them earn the number-two seed in the conference tournament, he posted five goals and 10 assists. The sophomore already has 65 career points.
Tonge is the only double-digit goal scorer for the Colonials, as he’s put up 18 along with eight on the power play. His 35 points also paces the team, while his 17 assists is second. He has 134 career points on 55 goals and 79 assists.
Girduckis leads the Tigers with 24 assists and 34 points, while also scoring 10 goals, four on the power play. He has played in all 34 games this season and has only been whistled for two minor penalties.
MacAfee tops the Black Knights with 25 assists and 33 points, but is a beast with the man-advantage. Of those 33 points, a league-high 20 have come on the power play, 16 of them being assists. He has been the anchor of the nation’s fifth-best power play, with the team converting at 26.1-percent, scoring 37 times.
Jago is Bentley’s leading scorer among defensemen, with nine goals and 19 assists, and tops all conference skaters with a plus-18 rating. Over his entire four-year career, he has missed only two games, both last year, playing in 148 total.
Pelino is second in time on ice at a little more than 1,950 minutes, and his 2.58 GAA is fourth. He has played in all but one game this season. During the Falcons’ 12-game unbeaten streak to begin 2019, he allowed just 23 goals.
All-Conference Third Team
Forward – Ludwig Stenlund, Freshman, Niagara
Forward – Erik Brown, Senior, RIT
Forward – Jonathan Desbiens, Junior, Bentley (tie)
Forward – Austin Magera, Freshman, Sacred Heart (tie)
Defense – Noah Delmas, Junior, Niagara
Defense – Adam Brubacher, Junior, RIT
Goalie – Francis Marotte, Junior, Robert Morris
Stenlund has played in all 37 games so far and is having a terrific season regardless of class, as his 19 regular season goals tied for the overall league-lead as a freshman. He enters the quarterfinal round with 20 markers, ten of which have come on the power play, tied for the most in all of Division I. His 36 points is four more than any other freshman in the nation and just two behind the team-lead.
Brown is having another great season for the Tigers, leading the team with 17 goals. Nine of those have been on the power play, which is tied for sixth in Division I. He currently has 69 goals in his career, 14 more than second place in the school’s Division I era.
Desbiens tops the Falcons goal chart with 15 on the season and is third with 29 points. During the team’s 12-game unbeaten streak to begin 2019, he posted 11 goals and 16 points. He also leads the team with four game-winning tallies and has a plus-13 rating.
Magera, as of the start of the quarterfinal round, is leading the Pioneers with 13 goals and 25 points as a freshman. He’s been their clutch scorer, as six of his tallies have gone as game-winners, tied for the most in Division I. He entered the quarterfinal round with a plus-4 rating.
Delmas is having a great season for the Purple Eagles, topping them with 24 assists and 38 points. He also has 14 goals and five power play goals, both second-most on the team. His 20 power play points is tied for the most in the conference and his 38 points as a defenseman is second.
Brubacher entered the quarterfinal round second on the team with 22 assists and 28 points. In three seasons, the junior has yet to miss a game, playing in all 108 possible games for the Tigers, posting 21 goals and 54 assists.
Marotte has backstopped a young Colonials team to 14 wins this season and has made 970 saves for a .906 save percentage. The junior’s next start will be the 100th of his career, and he has already set the career win mark for a goalie at the school, currently with 48 victories, eight of which has been via shutout.
The Atlantic Hockey best-of-three quarterfinals began Wednesday night and conclude on Sunday, if necessary. The semifinals are set for Friday, March 22 at 4:30pm and 7:30pm ET at HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York, with the championship game at 7:30pm ET the following evening.