The United States Premier Hockey League, and its top division, the tuition-free National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC) are pleased to announce that the New Jersey Hitmen’s Tanner Palocsik has been named the 2018-19 Defenseman Of The Year.
The 2018-19 NCDC Awards are voted on by the coaches of each team, and Palocsik was an easy choice.
Not only was the Dartmouth College commit the top scorer among all NCDC defensemen, and fifth overall, but he also led a defense that was extremely stingy, giving up just 103 total goals in 50 games.
The Hitmen racked up 215 goals for an almost unimaginable +112 goal differential.
Joining his fellow blue liners and the goalies over the course of the season, the Hitmen also engineered a league-leading seven shutouts. The Hitmen gave up 1,287 total shots on goal this year, the lowest by 294 in comparison with their closest competitor (the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs’ 1,581). The average was 25.74 shots per game, which equals just 8.58 per period.
Offensively, Palocsik was the league’s assists leader with 44. He outscored all defensemen by at least 17 points this season, and he was the only defenseman league-wide to average better than one point per game (1.10). His 16 power play assists were seven better than any other defenseman in the league and good for third overall among all NCDC skaters.
Palocsik even led all NCDC defensemen in shorthanded points (four, all assists), so no matter the situation, he was a burden to opposing defenses and goalies.
Palocsik was also an “ironman,” playing in all 111 Hitmen NCDC games while he was a two-year member of the organization.
He was also one of the league’s cleanest and most well-behaved players - in fact, no skater who hit the ice for at least 30 games this season had as few penalty minutes as Palocsik’s 4. He only spent 30 total minutes in an NCDC penalty box - 26 of those coming in 2017-18.
“Simple is not easy and Tanner mastered simplicity,” said Hitmen President and Associate Head Coach Jim Hunt. “He will be a great asset to Dartmouth College and he certainly left his mark on our program for many years to come.”
Congratulations to Tanner Palocsik for this award and best of luck to him in his future endeavors both on and off the ice, at Dartmouth College and beyond.
Stay tuned to USPHL.com on Friday, as we announce the Rookie Of The Year, Goaltender Of The Year, and - on Friday evening - the 2018-19 NCDC MVP!