Goalie Evan Buitenhuis '18 Is D-III Player of the Year
Hamilton College goaltender Evan Buitenhuis '18 (Burlington, Ontario/Nelson HS) received the 2017 Sid Watson Award as the Division III Men's Player of the Year from the American Hockey Coaches Association on March 23.
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Buitenhuis was also selected for the 2016-17 Men's Hockey Division III All-America Team by the coaches. He was voted to the first team in the East Region. Buitenhuis is the eighth Hamilton men's hockey all-American and it's the ninth all-America honor in team history. Gus Katsuras '06 was a two-time all-American in 2005 and 2006. A goaltender has now won the Sid Watson Award four straight years and eight times overall since it was introduced in 1993.
Buitenhuis is fourth in Division III with a .941 save percentage and seventh with a 1.78 goals against average. Only one goalie has more minutes than the 1,581-plus minutes Buitenhuis played and owns a better goals against average. He started 26 of the team's 29 games and posted a 17-5-4 record with two shutouts. Buitenhuis allowed three goals or less in 24 of his 26 starts. He is a big reason why the Continentals are fourth nationally in scoring defense with 1.86 goals allowed per game and fifth on the penalty kill at 88.7 percent.
"Evan has a tremendous passion and work ethic for the game," Hamilton head men's hockey coach Rob Haberbusch said. "He is literally the first person on the ice for practice and the last to leave. His accomplishments are a result of his constant drive to improve. Evan is equally as tremendous a person and teammate. He is selfless, humble and brings a positive attitude to the rink each day. He keeps constant watch over the morale of the team and especially his fellow goaltenders."
The 2017 NESCAC Player of the Year started all 18 conference games during the regular season and led the conference with a 1.47 goals against average and .948 save percentage. Hamilton was the top seed for the NESCAC championship after finishing in first place in the conference standings with a record of 11-3-4.
"Evan has been a major factor in our improvement during the last three seasons," Haberbusch said. "As a team, we moved from sixth place in the NESCAC during Evan's freshman year, to fourth place in his sophomore year, to first this season. This season was the first time that we reached the NESCAC championship final."
Buitenhuis has a 1.77 goals against average and .942 save percentage with a 31-13-9 record and six shutouts in 53 career starts. His 1,550 career saves puts him in fifth place on the team's all-time list.
Hamilton (20-5-4 overall) celebrated its first NCAA postseason appearance with a 3-1 victory at SUNY Oswego in the first round on March 11. Buitenhuis made 34 saves in that game against the Lakers. The Continentals advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA championship and set a program record for wins in a season. Hamilton started the season by going unbeaten in its first 13 games (11-0-2) and was ranked in the top 10 for most of 2017, including as high as fifth in the D3hockey.com Top 15 poll on Jan. 9.
The Sid Watson Award is named in honor of former Bowdoin College head coach Sid Watson, who was a three-time winner of the Edward Jeremiah Award as Division III Coach of the Year. Watson won 326 games at Bowdoin in a career that spanned from 1959 to 1983. He was also the school's athletic director.