December 5, 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. Inside College Hockey's Hobey Tracker looks at the top three candidates for the award, those whose stock is rising or falling, and other players worthy of consideration.

1. Nathan Davis
Junior | Forward
Last Week: One goal, three assists in the RedHawks’ sweep of Ferris State.
The Buzz: An e-mailer chastised us for dissing Davis last week. We are guilty of not effectively conveying our message (we wrote that “it's not a matter of being a solid front-runner ... it's just that his credentials over the longest period of time give him the edge.”) Point taken, buddy, but he tops our list for a second week in a row. Sometimes, numbers – in this case, that big, bold 1 in front of his name – speak louder than words.
2. Trevor Smith
New Hampshire
Soph. | Forward
Last Week: One goal and two assists in the Wildcats' wins against Boston College, Northeastern, and Merrimack.
The Buzz: Hard to believe that Smith managed just one assist in a week in which the Wildcats scored a total of nine goals in two games. Still, he hangs on to the no. 2 spot in this week’s rankings based in part to this hidden gem of a statistic – the Hockey East scoring leader has 22 points, none of which have come on special teams. Hobey loves guys who get it done 5-on-5

3. Michel
Senior | Forward

Last Week: Scoreless in a win against Providence.
The Buzz: Leveille has failed to score in back-to-back games – no pun intended in light of the spasm-inducing hit from behind that forced him to leave less than a minute into the second period of the Black Bears’ Nov. 25 loss to Vermont. With the schedule lightening up – here’s hoping Tim Whitehead gives the old man Wednesday off as Maine plays a friendly against New Brunswick – Leveille should be able to get healthy for the season’s second half.

Alex Goligoski

It’s hard to highlight the leading Hobey candidate from the well-balanced Gophers – it wasn’t long ago we trumpeted Tyler Hirsch’s name in this spot – what with seven players toting between 17 and 19 points. Goligoski, an INCH Preseason All-American, is among that group; in fact, his 19 points puts him in a tie for first among the nation’s rearguards in points. He’s been the steadiest component of a very good Block M defensive corps. Just think if he could score in both ends of a series – Mr. Friday Night hasn’t picked up a point on Saturday since Oct. 28. Entering this week’s set at Michigan Tech, Goligoski has 5-8—13 in eight Friday matches and 1-5—6 in nine Saturday affairs.
Anyone from
Michigan State
We thought Michigan State would be one of the nation's better teams this season. Through the first couple months of the 2006-07 campaign, however, the Spartans have proven to be among the most puzzling. There's a trickle-down effect with regard to Hobey Tracker. Two months ago, one could've legitimately argued the merits of the cousins Lerg, junior forward Bryan (38 points last season) and sophomore goalie Jeff (17-6-6, 1.96 GAA, .928 sv pct. in '05-06), or touted the dark-horse chances of a guy like Justin Abdelkader, the talented power forward who scored 22 points as a rookie. Through 14 games, however, the Lergs have lagged – witness Bryan's 8-4–12 line and Jeff's .500 record, sub-.900 save percentage and 2.89 GAA – and Justin Abdelkader has been just adequate (4-8–12). There's still time, though, and Sparty has been a second-half team in recent years.
Scott Parse
What’s that, you say? Scott Parse on defense? Indeed, the leading scorer in UNO history program was pressed into emergency service on the blue line Saturday at Bowling Green. All the Portage, Mich., native did was record a hat trick and add a pair of assists, matching the school mark for points in a game as the Mavs drubbed the host Falcons, 7-1. Oh, did we mention Parse was an impressive +5 on the night? Heck, if we were coach Mike Kemp, we might let Parse have a start a goal.