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Northeastern’s Zach Aston-Reese and Union’s Mike Vecchione of Saugus named Hobey Baker finalists

March 31, 2017 GMT

A pair of locals, Northeastern’s Zach Aston-Reese and Union’s Mike Vecchione of Saugus and Malden Catholic, were joined by Denver’s Will Butcher as Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalists named yesterday.

The winner will be announced on Friday, April 7, at the Frozen Four.

Aston-Reese (31 goals, 32 assists), a senior forward who is tied for the most points in the nation (63) with Vecchione, recently signed a two-year entry level contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins and is playing with Wilkes-Barre in the AHL. Aston-Reese, who owns or shares the top spot in a number of statistical categories nationally — goals (31), goals-per-game (0.82), points per game (1.66), multi-goal efforts (8) and hat tricks (3) — carried NU as he was forced to play with 16 different line combinations due to injuries.

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“It’s great for the program and it’s great for Reeser. He’s worked hard to get there. He’s always been a good player but it’s a real testament to him and how hard he’s worked on all facets of his game. It’s a joy to watch him take his game to this level,” said NU coach Jim Madigan, who recruited Aston-Reese out of Staten Island, N.Y.

Aston-Reese, who scored the game-winning goal for Northeastern in last year’s Hockey East final, capped his NU career ranked No. 12 in both points (148) and goals (66) while ranking 18th in assists (82).

Vecchione (29-34-63), a senior center, tied for the ECAC scoring title with 40 points, posting a league-best 17 goals. The former MC star led the ECAC in game-winners (five, including two in overtime) and shorthanded goals (four), while winning 60 percent of his faceoffs. Vecchione is Union’s all-time scoring leader with 176 points, including back-to-back 50-plus point seasons.

“It’s an honor to be part of the Hobey Baker Hat Trick alongside two elite players,” Vecchione wrote on the Union College website. “I want to thank my family, friends, and teammates and coaches, who have always supported me and who ensured that I would never become complacent.”

Butcher, a senior defenseman, led Denver into the Frozen Four in Chicago. He has seven goals and 29 assists and ranks second in the country in scoring by defensemen behind Harvard freshman Adam Fox.