By: Josh Brown
In a historic moment for Northeastern hockey, the Hobey Baker Memorial Award named senior assistant captain Zach Aston-Reese to the Hobey Hat Trick on Thursday afternoon. Aston-Reese is joined by Union forward Mike Vecchione and Denver defenseman Will Butcher as the three players remaining in contention for the nation’s top award, which will be handed out on April 7 at the Frozen Four in Chicago.
“We are so proud of Zach for all of his accomplishments this season,” said head coach Jim Madigan. “He asserted himself as one of the top players in the nation from start to finish, and is very deserving of this honor. He represented our team and our university with class and professionalism throughout his time at Northeastern, and his leadership skills over the last two years cannot be understated. The foundation that he and his fellow seniors have set will have a positive impact on our program for years to come.”
The Hockey East Player of the Year joins Brad Thiessen (2009) as the second player in Northeastern history to be named to the Hobey Hat Trick.
A native of Staten Island, New York, Aston-Reese finished the 2016-2017 season either atop or tied the nation’s lead in goals (31), goals per game (0.82), shorthanded goals (four) and hat tricks (three). His 63 points this season make him just one of ten Division 1 players to reach the 60-point plateau in the last five seasons. In addition, Aston-Reese joined Boston University’s Jack Eichel (2014-2015) and Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau (2013-2014) as one of three Hockey East players to reach the mark in a maximum of 35 games over the past five years. The latter two won the Hobey Baker award in their respective seasons.
In addition to scoring the sixth most points of any Northeastern player in a single season, Aston-Reese ends his career on Huntington Avenue ranked 12th in both career points (148) and career goals (66).
His breakout performance this season earned him a two-year, entry-level contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins two weeks ago. Aston-Reese has already netted two goals and four assists in four games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the club’s AHL affiliate.