Morelli named J. Thom Lawler Award winner
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The starting goaltender for the Plymouth State University men's ice hockey team was honored by the Eastern Massachusetts Hockey Officials Association (EMHOA) as the organization announced that senior Evan Morelli (Reading, Mass.) has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 J. Thom Lawler Award.
According to the organization, the Lawler Award is presented annually to a player that may or may not be the "star," leading scorer or top defenseman/goalie, but a player that every coach needs on his game day roster. A team leader who guides by example on and off the ice, a hard worker with heart, who is willing to make sacrifices for the good of their team and teammates.
"I am thrilled to see Evan receive this award," said head coach Craig Russell. "He certainly was our backbone the last three seasons, and his statistics in our history books will back that up. Beyond what he meant to our group on the ice, he was a great leader away from the rink. He was always able to prioritize and lead by example for every class that came after him. He was one of the first guys to count on with community service efforts, and established a very tight relationship with a local young man with autism that will no doubt continue after he graduates. I'm proud to call Evan an alum of our program, and even more proud to consider him a friend."
Morelli wrapped up a four-year career as arguably the best goaltender in program history. He retires as the program's leader in goals against average (2.13) and career shutouts (nine), is second all-time in wins (45) and sixth in career saves (1,655). He owns three of the top ten goals against average marks in a season, which includes a sparkling 1.93 during his junior year, and is one of just two goalies all-time with multiple seasons of 15 or more wins. He becomes the first Panther to earn the prestigious honor.
"Evan's on ice results, commitment to team, his leadership in the locker room and on campus embody the spirit of the Lawler award; Scholarship-Leadership-Sportsmanship!" said Eric Doyle, past president of the EMHOA, in a letter to Russell.
Plymouth State finished the season with a 17-8-3 mark and captured a third straight MASCAC regular season title before blanking long-time rival Salem State University in the championship game to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in program history. PSU led #6/#8 Hobart College, 1-0, after the first period of the first round game, though the Statesmen rallied for a 2-1 win.
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