December 12, 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
Week: One assist as Miami took three of
four points from Ohio State.
at the Break: Only Air Force's Eric Ehn
has more points than Davis' 35, and rare are the
players who have his versatility. And that's what
gives him the inside track at the halfway point
he's always a threat to score shorthanded (a stat
that'll impress voters), his assist totals should
remain high as long as he stays on a line with prolific
goal scorer Ryan Jones, and the RedHawks are on
point for a top-two finish in the CCHA.
2. Trevor Smith
Soph. | Forward
Week: Two assists in the Wildcats' wins
against UMass Lowell and St. Lawrence.
Buzz at the Break: Smith broke out of the
gate fast and though he's played at a high level
the entire season, his scoring pace has dropped
off over the last couple weeks with just three assists
in UNH's last five games. Smith could also become
a victim of the Minnesota Syndrome (see Bear Market
below). Teammates such as Matt Fornataro and Mike
Radja have been almost as good as Smith thus far.
3. David Brown
Senior | Goalie
Week: Two wins, 51 saves, 6 goals against
the Fighting Irish's sweep of Michigan.
Buzz at the Break: How
does Brown, who's coming off his worst outing of
the season Sunday against Michigan, sneak past Léveillé
into the top three? Well, he's the best player on
a team that's the feel-good college hockey story
of the season to date. Combine that with a schedule
that – Warning! Cliche alert! – looks
to be favorable on paper, and Brown could easily
have 25 wins, a sub-2.00 GAA, and a save percentage
in the .930 range.
out: Michel Léveillé, Maine
Do the Black Bears still have a hockey
team? It seems like they haven't played since losing
to Boston College on the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving.
Léveillé, who had a goal in Maine's
win at Northeastern Saturday, appears to be fine
after he was checked from behind in a loss to Vermont
college hockey season has reached its de facto
midway point –
there are fewer than 20 games on the docket between
now and Christmas –
it's safe to say that Ehn, the country's leading
scorer, has a good chance to be among the 10 Hobey
finalists. Should he maintain his current scoring
pace, he'll finish the regular season in the neighborhood
of 70 points and Hobey hasn't turned its back on
candidates from the mid-majors in the past.
Minnesota fans, and take a deep breath. Yes, we're
telling you that as things currently stand it'll
be difficult for one of your players to win the
Hobey. But also realize that it's a compliment.
Minnesota's top six point scorers are currently
within two points of one another atop the scoring
chart. As they say, a rising tide lifts all ships,
and it's tough to distinguish one candidate over
another when considering Okposo, Goligoski, Wheeler,
and Hirsch ... not to mention Vannelli and Barriball.
Don't take our word for it, though: Ask a long-time
Michigan fan how the 1994 Hobey vote turned out
when the Wolverines had David Oliver, Steve Shields,
and Brian Wiseman among the 10 finalists.
he's the best goaltender in the nation, but there's
a small sample space and Brown has earned many of
its wins against sub-.500 competition. That shouldn't
discount what Rosen has done for the Bears. He's
averaging 32.3 saves per game, and keeping a team
that was picked to finish at the bottom of the ECACHL
near the middle of the pack. Besides, it's not unheard
for a Brown goalie to make impressive Hobey runs,
right Yann Danis?