November 7, 2006

The Hobey Baker Memorial Award is presented to a deserving recipient on the day before the last college hockey game of the season. But that doesn’t mean that college hockey fans, players and media members don’t think about it all season. In yet another new coverage item presented by Inside College Hockey for the 2006-07 season, we introduce Hobey Tracker with a look at the top three candidates, those whose stock is rising, and other players worthy of consideration.


1. Michel
Senior | Forward

Last Week: One assist in a win at Merrimack and tie at Boston University.
The Buzz: The 2-2 tie at Agganis Arena Saturday marked the first time in eight games this season he failed to work his way onto the score sheet. Léveillé doesn't have to pull down multiple points every night to keep his name in the Hobey mix. As long as he maintains a steady burn and the Black Bears keep winning, he'll be in good shape.
2. Nathan Davis
Junior | Forward
Last Week: Four goals, three assists in a split with visiting Northern Michigan
The Buzz: Numbers can be twisted to prove just about anything, but here's a couple of figures that indicate the high level of Davis' play. First, his short-handed goal in a 4-2 loss to Northern Michigan was the ninth of his career, a Miami record. Second, he comes into this weekend's series at Lake Superior State having had a hand in the RedHawks' last nine goals (five goals, four assists).

3. Cory
Boston College
Junior | Goalie

Last Week: 37 saves in a 5-3 loss at Providence; 33 saves in a shutout win vs. Vermont.
The Buzz: Schneider's slip from second to third is less an indictment of his play and more an affirmation of Davis' excellence. Despite the loss to the Friars, he's still outplayed almost every goaltender in the nation while being forced to keep the Eagles in games until the team's offense kicks into gear.
Dropped Out: None

David Brown
Notre Dame

Now that everyone has taken notice of Notre Dame's outstanding start, it's time to focus the spotlight on the team's best player through the first quarter of the season. Brown was very good as a freshman in 2003-04, helping the Fighting Irish to their first NCAA Tournament berth, but fell on hard times the following season before regaining his form as a junior. As a senior, the Stoney Creek, Ontario native has allowed a total of nine goals in seven starts and boasts a 5-1-1 record, a 1.26 goals against average and a .950 save percentage. He's also given up one goal or less in five of his seven appearances this season.
Mark Dekanich
After a shaky start to the season – nine goals against in two losses at the Ice Breaker Tournament – Dekanich appeared to find the game that made him the winner of the ECAC Hockey League's 2006 Dryden Award as the circuit's best goaltender. He allowed two or fewer goals in six straight games, but only had a 3-2-1 record to show for it because of the Raiders' inability to score timely goals. When 'gate finally found its offense against Brown last Saturday, Dekanich fizzled, giving up six goals in a tie. His First Team All-ECACHL credentials match those of Dave McKee and Dov Grument-Morris, but his stats haven't.
Pierre Luc O'Brien
Sacred Heart
Given his role in the Pioneers' two wins against Mercyhurst in a pivotal Atlantic Hockey series last weekend, O'Brien is hardly hidden. Still, he's a legitimate threat to be one of the 10 Hobey finalists when the list is announced in mid-March. There's no question he can score in bunches – witness the 11 points he's piled up over the course of his last three games. He'd help his cause, however, with a strong efforts against a team from one of the "established" leagues. In games against Massachusetts and Michigan State, O'Brien has tallied but one assist. He'll get that chance, as ECACHL heavyweights Cornell and Dartmouth loom on the schedule.