BOSTON - Suffolk women's hockey head coach Taylor Wasylk has been named one of 11 finalist for the CCM/AHCA NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Coach of the Year Award, the organization announced Wednesday night.
The award will be presented during the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) Convention Friday, May 3 in Naples, Florida. Along with Wasylk, two other candidates are first-year head coaches in Chris Baudo of Nazareth and Shawn Skelly of Adrian. Among the 11 finalist, only one has taken home the honor in the past in six-time recipient Kevin Houle of Plattsburgh.
To be considered a finalist, one must either be named Coach of the Year at the conference level or advance to the national championship semifinals. The will will be announced Thursday, March 14 during the student-athlete banquet at the NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Championship at the University of St. Thomas.
Wasylk's name got on the ballot after being voted by her New England Hockey Conference coaching peers as the league's Coach of the Year after her inaugural season. She used an entire year to recruit prior to the 2018-19 puck drop. Over that time, she assembled a 22-player roster, primarily of freshman (17). That group combined for a 15-9-2 overall record and a 10-4-2 league ledger, good for the second spot in the NEHC postseason tournament.
In addition to her own recognition Wasylk saw five student-athletes combine for nine all-league accolades headlined by Rookie of the Year Shana Cote, who also picked up third-team status and a spot on the all-rookie team. Seniro forward Tess Adams (first-team), sophomore goaltender Kristen Caporusso (third-team), freshman defenseman Madison Duff (second-team, all-rookie team), and freshman forward Haley Poloskey also garnered all-conference nods.
Following the season, Wasylk's Rams' had more success as Adams signed a contract with the Connecticut Whale of the NWHL to become the first-ever student-athlete in program history to continue their player days after wearing the blue-and-gold sweater.
2018-19 AHCA Women's Ice Hockey College Division Coach of the Year Finalist
Chris Baudo, Nazareth, UCHC Coach of the Year
Joe Cranston, Wisconsin River Falls, WIAC Coach of the Year
Natalie Darwitz, Hamline, Frozen Four Coach
Rick Filighera, Cortland, NEWHL Coach of the Year
Meghan Gillis, Williams, NESCAC Coach of the Year
Kevin Houle, Plattsburgh, Frozen Four Coach *
Jackie MacMillan, St. Scholastica, NCHA Coach of the Year
ANdy McPhee, Endicott, CHC Coach of the Year
Tom Palkowski, St. Thomas, MIAC Coach of the Year & Frozen Four Coach
Shawn Skelly, Adrian, Frozen Four Coach
Taylor Wasylk, Suffolk, NEHC Coach of the Year
* Former Award Recipient