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NU's Cooley, Delmas, Kendall nominated for Hobey Baker Award

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Wed, Jan 16th 2019 01:15 pm

Sophomore forwards Eric Cooley and Justin Kendall and defenseman Noah Delmas of the Niagara University men’s hockey team have been nominated for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award, presented annually to the top player in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey.

Fans can vote on Facebook once per day for each of the three Purple Eagles. Fan voting is open until March 10, when the initial pool of nominees will be narrowed to 10. Phase two of fan balloting will begin March 20 and close March 31. The 2019 Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced from a field of three Hobey Hat Trick finalists on Friday, April 12, during the NCAA Frozen Four Championship in Buffalo. The award ceremony will be held at HarborCenter and will be broadcast nationally on NHL Network and streamed live at hobeybaker.com.

View the full list of Hobey Baker Award nominees

After leading Niagara rookies in scoring with 20 points (6 goals, 14 assists) in 34 games played last season, Cooley has continued to excel as a playmaker for the Purple Eagles in his second season. His 14 assists in just 23 games this year match his total from the 2017-18 campaign and rank tied for seventh in Atlantic Hockey. He opened the season with an assist in each of the team’s first five games and has had four multi-point outings this year, most recently at Holy Cross on Jan. 11. Another fine performance from Cooley came in his hometown of Pittsburgh on Nov. 3, when his two-point night helped lift the Purple Eagles to a 4-2 win over the Robert Morris Colonials. The sophomore has already garnered attention outside of college hockey, as he was invited to participate in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ development camp over the summer.

Delmas remains a consistent offensive catalyst from the blue line in his third season with the Purple Eagles. With a team-high 19 points (7 goals, 12 assists) in 23 games, the native of Schomberg, Ontario, is currently tied for 12th in the country and third in the conference among defensemen in scoring. Delmas’ season started with a bang, as he tallied two points in the team’s 4-3 overtime victory over AIC on Oct. 12. He strung together a sustained run of success by notching 16 points (6/10) in an 11-game span between Nov. 9 and Dec. 15. That streak began with four consecutive multi-point outings and netted him Atlantic Hockey’s Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 20, as well as the league’s Defensive Player of the Month for November. Like Cooley, Delmas was also brought to Toronto in June to partake in the Maple Leafs’ development camp.

In his second year in the purple and white, Kendall has made large strides on the ice. It only took 17 games for the forward to surpass his scoring output from one year ago (11 points) and he now stands at fourth on the team with 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists). His 54 shots on goal are tied for second-most on the team and, through his first 57 games with Niagara, he has only been whistled for 10 PIM. Kendall’s best stretch of the season came between Nov. 3-17, when he collected six points with three multi-point performances in a five-game span. His production helped the team go 4-0-1 in those five games as part of a six-game unbeaten streak, the program's longest since the team won eight straight games between Nov. 2 and Dec. 1, 2012.

The Purple Eagles (8-12-3, 7-7-3 AHA) return home to Dwyer Arena this weekend for two games against the Mercyhurst Lakers. Both games will get underway at 7 p.m. Saturday's game will feature a postgame open skate session with the players and staff of the Niagara men's hockey team. Fans interested in attending can purchase tickets through Ticketmaster or call the Niagara University ticket office at 716-286-TIXX (8499).

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