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Schmidt a two-time semifinalist for Walter Brown Award

BOSTON -- Merrimack junior defenseman and co-captain Bryan Schmidt (Bloomington, Minn.) was named for the second straight year as one of the semifinalists for the 53rd Walter Brown Award, given annually to the top American-born Division I college player in New England.

15 players were named. Schmidt is one of nine from Hockey East and five who are repeat semifinalists. He is also one of six defensemen named.

Schmidt leads all semifinalist defensemen with 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points. In only three years, he now has 27 goals and 44 assists for 71 points, tied for 14th on Merrimack's all-time defenseman scoring list (third among those who played their entire career in Divsion I). He is third among all Warrior defenseman in career goals (first in Division I).

Schmidt is tied for the national lead in points by a defenseman.

Two years ago, Merrimack senior goaltender and captain Joe Exter (Cranston, R.I.) ranked third in the final balloting for the Walter Brown Award. Exter's third-place ranking was the highest ever for any Merrimack player.

The other semifinalists are: Andrew Alberts, Patrick Eaves and Ryan Shannon (Boston College), John Curry (Boston University), Lee Stempniak (Dartmouth), Tom Cavanagh, Dov Grumet-Morris and Noah Welch (Harvard), Tony Coskren (Holy Cross), Jimmy Howard (Maine), Marvin Degon (Massachusetts), Sean Collins (New Hampshire), Jason Guerriero (Northeastern), and Jaime Sifers (Vermont).

Last year's recipient was Steve Saviano of New Hampshire.

"This has been a very exciting and competitively balanced year in all three of the East's upper-division leagues, and I think that our slate of semifinalists for the Walter Brown Award reflects that balance and diversity," said Gridiron Club Hockey Awards Committee chairman Tim Costello. "There is a lot of hockey yet to be played, though, and our committee members will be observing these nominees closely the rest of the way."

Criteria for the award's selection committee include leadership, character, sportsmanship, and ability as well as on-ice achievement.

The award is presented by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston at the New England Hockey Writers' annual dinner in April. Established in 1953, it is the oldest nationally recognized honor accorded to individual players in the sport of American college hockey.

This year's Walter Brown Award will be a topic of discussion on New England College Hockey Weekly with Paul McNamara. Gridiron Club past president and longtime committee member Tom Burke will be a guest on the show, which will air this coming Thursday, February 10, from 8 to 10 p.m. on 1510 The Zone, WWZN-AM 1510. The program will also be broadcast over the Internet at http://www.1510thezone.com .

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