January 2, 2007

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: No points as the RedHawks beat Bowling Green and lost to Ohio State at the Ohio Hockey Classic.
The Buzz: We toyed with the idea of dropping Davis, who has gone three straight games without registering a point, out of the top spot. But we'll give him one more week Miami plays a crucial home series with Michigan State this weekend to make a case for himself.

2. David Brown
Notre Dame
Senior | Goalie

Last Week: Two wins, 35 saves, 5 goals against in the Fighting Irish's sweep of Northern Michigan.
The Buzz: Even though he's allowed 11 goals in his last four starts, Brown moves up a spot, in part, because Notre Dame moves up to second in this week's INCH Power Rankings. He'll likely make just one start this weekend, as Notre Dame plays a home-and-home non-conference series with Robert Morris.
3. Trevor Smith
New Hampshire
Soph. | Forward
Last Week: Two assists as the Wildcats lost to Cornell and beat Western Michigan at the Florida College Classic.
The Buzz: Smith picked up a pair of assists in the win against Western including his first special teams point of the season but he hasn't scored a goal in seven games and has just five points during that span. Still the Hockey East leader in scoring, Smith needs to find the back of the net to stay in the top three.

Nick Dodge

Dodge is one of the most complete all-around players in college hockey and his value to the Golden Knights is as much in his penalty-killing and ability to win face offs, as it is in his scoring. He is about a point-per-game contributor on offense, but serious Hobey consideration for Dodge probably won't happen because other players will have higher point totals. Last week, however, Dodge moved past Steve Zalewski into the scoring lead for Clarkson and his five points in two games — including a hat trick against Wisconsin goalie Brian Elliott — earned him MVP honors at the Badger Hockey Showdown.
Kyle Okposo
You'll remember that prior to the holidays, we wrote that anyone from Minnesota would have trouble winning the Hobey because of the Gophers' outstanding balance. So why single out Okposo this time around? Because he had developed great chemistry with ex-linemate Tyler Hirsch, who was booted from the team last weekend. To wit: Of Okposo's 15 goals in the first half of the season, Hirsch had assisted on eight and earned the first assist on seven. Granted, Okposo is so talented that a guy with a wet mop skating on his line could get a half-dozen helpers, but it's not a stretch to assume that Hirsch's dismissal could have a residual effect ... at least in the short term.
James Sixsmith
Holy Cross
Sixsmith is the third player from Atlantic Hockey to feature in this portion of the Hobey Tracker, joining fellow conference stalwarts Eric Ehn of Air Force and Pierre-Luc O'Brien of Sacred Heart. His 28 points in 19 games compare favorably with those other two players, but Holy Cross has a sub-.500 record in league play and overall.