2007 Women's Ice Hockey All-Conference Teams Announced

Kurtz-Phelan of Middlebury Receives Player of the Year Honors


HADLEY, Mass. - Middlebury senior forward Abby Kurtz-Phelan (Denver, Colo.) has been named the 2007 NESCAC Player of the Year, as determined by the conference coaches. While playing in only 18 games so far this season, Kurtz-Phelan is in the midst of a record-setting year as she helped the Panthers post an unbeaten 14-0-2 mark in conference play and earn the number-one seed in the 2007 Women's Ice Hockey Championship. It is the third year in a row and the fourth time in the last five years that a Middlebury player has won the league's top award.

Kurtz-Phelan also found a spot on the NESCAC All-Conference First Team for the first time in her career, as the two-sport athlete missed the beginning of the 2006-07 campaign while participating in the NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament. Heading into this weekend's NESCAC Women's Ice Hockey Championship, Kurtz-Phelan is second in the conference in overall scoring with 13 goals and 19 assists for 32 points, well above the career numbers she posted last season (29 GP, 13-13-26). The senior forward's 13 goals put her in a three-way tie for first among her Panther teammates, tallying five power-play and four game-winning markers, while her 19 assists place her in a two-way tie for the top spot in the conference. Kurtz-Phelan is averaging 1.78 points per game through her 18 appearances, registering two points or more in eight of her last 10 games. Kurtz-Phelan sits five points shy of 100 for her career at Middlebury, scoring 42 goals and 53 assists for 95 points through 95 games played.

Along with Kurtz-Phelan from Middlebury is senior defender Shannon Tarrant (Brookfield, Conn.). It is the fourth year in a row that Tarrant has earned All-NESCAC recognition, previously receiving First Team honors in 2004 and 2006 and Second Team recognition in 2005. Tarrant is fourth on her team and first among conference blue liners this season in overall scoring with eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points over 22 games. Tarrant assisted on three goals in a game for the first time in her career on Jan. 26 against Bowdoin, helping out on the game-winner in overtime for a 5-4 win. She needs only two more points this season to match her personal best of 27 set during her sophomore campaign.

Three Amherst players found a spot on this year's All-NESCAC First Team, marking the first time this decade that any Jeff player has earned First Team recognition and the first time since 2004 for an Amherst skater to receive conference honors. Sophomore forward Tarasai Karega (Detroit, Mich.) is joined by a pair of first year players, defender Kirsten Dier (Appleton, Wis.) and netminder Krystyn Elek (Summerville, S.C.). Karega sits in a two-way tie for third in the conference in points with 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points, 10 points higher than her rookie season last winter. She also ranks first in game-winners with seven and is in a three-way tie for first in power-play goals with seven markers. Karega tallied a hat trick in back to back games in January, scoring three goals at Wis.-River Falls on Jan. 13 and another three against Connecticut College on Jan. 17. Her assist against the Camels gave her a four-point evening, the first of her career with the Jeffs.

Playing in all 25 games this season, Dier is third among conference first year players in scoring with five goals, three coming on the power-play, and 17 assists for 22 points. The rookie blue liner also sits in a two-way tie for third in points by league defenders. Patrolling behind Dier in 19 games this season was Elek, who also earned NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors. Elek ranks among the top three goaltenders in the conference in goals against average (1.68; 2nd), save percentage (.934; 3rd) and winning percentage (.711; 3rd), posting a 12-4-3 record while recording four shutouts.

After earning Second Team honors last winter, Bowdoin forward Meghan Gillis (Whycocomagh, Nova Scotia) receives First Team accolades for the second time in three years (2005) this year. Gillis, the 2004 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, currently sits atop the NESCAC scoring list with 15 goals and 19 assists for 34 points through 24 games, as her 15 tallies put her in a five-way tie for first place among league players. Gillis has been extremely effective on the power-play this season for the Polar Bears, scoring a career-high seven goals with the extra attacker to lead the NESCAC along with Karega of Amherst. Gillis currently ranks third at Bowdoin in all-time scoring with 76-78-154 through 104 games.

Amherst fourth-year head coach Jim Plumer was chosen by his counterparts as the NESCAC Coach of the Year for the first time in his career. Plumer has guided the Jeffs to their most successful season in program history with a 17-5-3 overall record and a 10-3-3 showing in league play. Amherst, which is 13-1-3 since the start of 2007, reached this weekend's NESCAC tournament semifinals for the first time ever.

2006-07 NESCAC Women's Ice Hockey All-Conference

  First Team School  Yr.  Hometown 
F     Meghan Gillis Bowdoin Sr.     Whycocomagh, Nova Scotia
F Tarasai Karega Amherst So. Detroit, Mich.
F Abby Kurtz-Phelan Middlebury Sr. Denver, Colo.
D Kirsten Dier Amherst Fy. Appleton, Wis.
D Shannon Tarrant Middlebury Sr. Brookfield, Conn.
G Krystyn Elek Amherst Fy. Summerville, S.C.
  Second Team School  Yr.  Hometown 
F Annmarie Cellino Middlebury    
So. West Seneca, N.Y.
F Michelle Chee Trinity So. San Francisco, Calif.
F Shannon Sylvester Middlebury Sr. Randolph, N.J.
D Kirsten Cameron Bowdoin Jr. Charlottetown, P.E.I
D Kelley McCarthy Trinity So. Kingston, Mass.
G Lani Wright Middlebury Fy. Reading, Mass.
  Player of the Year      
F Abby Kurtz-Phelan Middlebury Sr. Denver, Colo.
  Rookie of the Year      
G Krystyn Elek Amherst Fy. Summerville, S.C.
  Coach of the Year      
  Jim Plumer Amherst