Feb. 5, 2010

BOSTON, MA - University of Massachusetts Boston men's ice hockey player Vinnie Jacona (East Stroudsburg, PA) has been named one of 16 NCAA Division II/III players, who are semi-finalists for the 10th Joe Concannon Award, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England playing at the D-II/III level it was announced today by Gridiron Club of Greater Boston president Steve Grogan.

The list is comprises 12 forwards, two defensemen and two goalies, including two nominees from the D-II ranks. The candidates include seven players from the Eastern College Athletic Conference East.

Jacona is enjoying the finest season of his career as one of the top playmakers in ECAC East. The junior ranks 23rd in the nation with 0.94 assists per game and second among ECAC East leaders with 17 total assists in 18 contests. The forward's point total of 22 (5-17-22) leads the Beacons and places him sixth among the league leaders. Jacona has also been a key on UMass Boston's power play, which ranks fifth in the nation with a 25.6% (23-90) success rate, with 11 points on a goal and 10 assists to stand second in ECAC East in power play points. A graduate of Pope John XXIII High School in New Jersey, Jacona has notched at least one point in 12 of 18 outings, while putting together three point-scoring streaks of three games or more. He began the season with nine points in his first four games, with at least one point in each of them and has registered six multi-point efforts on the year. A former member of the Boston Bulldogs of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League, Jacona established a career-high with four assists in UMass Boston's 7-2 victory over Stonehill College in the first round of the Manchester Police Athletic League (PAL)/Stovepipe Tournament on November 28. He has tallied three or more assists three times on the season.

Jacona has played in 67 career games for UMass Boston, while racking up 50 points on 20 goals and 30 assists.

"With the new league alignments this season, we have seen great individual talent shine through in each of the conferences in New England. Each and every season it becomes increasingly more challenging to single out worthy nominees for the Concannon Award," said Gridiron Club Hockey Awards Committee chairman Tim Costello. "There are many players that have been considered by the committee but do not appear as semi-finalists. Our committee believes this is a strong group of nominees and it will take the remaining games of the regular season and conference tournaments to identify the most worthy player for the 10th anniversary winner of this prestigious award."

The Gridiron Club plans to announce the finalists and winner of the 10th Joe Concannon Award in March, prior to the start of NCAA Frozen Four Tournament play and present the award during the New England Hockey Writers dinner in mid-April.

The Beacons are currently 9-8-1 overall, including 5-7-1 in league play to stand seventh in the standings with 11 points. They are off to their best record after 18 games, since the 1991-92 season when they were 12-6-0. UMass Boston will be in action again on Friday, February 5 when it travels to Manchester, NH to take on Saint Anselm College for an ECAC East match-up at 7:00 p.m.