January 9, 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.

THE BIG BOARD

1. Nathan Davis
Miami
Junior | Forward

Last Week: One goal, one assist in Miami's split with visiting Michigan State.
The Buzz: As he goes, so go the RedHawks. Witness last weekend's series against MSU when he had a goal, an assist, and a +2 plus-minus rating in Friday's 5-2 victory and was held off the scoresheet with a -2 rating in Saturday's 4-1 loss. His Hobey fate lies in his team's success, and his team's success depends on his performance.

2. Trevor Smith
New Hampshire
Soph. | Forward

Last Week: Three goals, one assist in the Wildcats' sweep at Vermont.
The Buzz: Smith moves back up to the No. 2 spot after UNH's road sweep. He had three goals and an assist in two games and was named as the Hockey East Player of the Week, an especially strong statement considering the excellent weekends turned in by league counterparts Teddy Purcell of Maine and John Curry of Boston University.

3. David Brown
Notre Dame
Senior | Goalie

Last Week: Stopped 17 shots in Notre Dame's 6-2 win vs. Robert Morris. Did not play in the Irish's 4-2 loss to RMU.
The Buzz: He did his job in his team's win at the Igloo in Pittsburgh Friday and, as expected, was a spectator in one of the games against the Colonials. He'll have a chance to solidify his candidacy this weekend as Notre Dame travels to Sault Ste. Marie for a series against surging Lake Superior State
 
BULL MARKET

Kellen Briggs
Minnesota
Senior
Goalie

Based on the recent proceedings in the Bull and Bear Markets over the past few weeks, perhaps this section should be renamed Gopher Up and Gopher Down. Anyway, Briggs has been Minnesota's best player over the past few weeks ... and with the Gophers shorthanded due to the World Junior Championships, it couldn't have come at a better time. His statistics are gaudy (11-0-2, 1.75 GAA .935 save pct.) and he's allowed two or fewer goals in six straight games. His candidacy is hurt, however, because he platoons with Jeff Frazee.
BEAR MARKET
Brian Boyle
Boston College
Senior
Forward
Boyle is our first two-time Bear Market (dis)-honoree, and has done more than just play his way out of more than just Hobey Baker consideration — citing poor attendance in the classroom, Eagles coach Jerry York relieved Boyle of his captain's duties and said he'd revisit the matter in a month. That doesn't exactly bolster one's candidacy. Neither does scoring two points (a pair of goals in a Dec. 9 win against Massachusetts) in your last six games, or having 15 points in 17 games for a team that hasn't strung together consecutive wins since before Halloween.
 
HIDDEN HOBEY
Teddy Purcell
Maine
Freshman
Forward
The only freshman ever to win the Hobey, Paul Kariya, did so while wearing the Black Bears' navy and powder blue. We're not suggesting Purcell — the team's leading scorer with 28 points — is on par with Kariya. But with points in all but two of Maine's games, a nine-game point streak heading into this weekend's series with BU, and seven goals and three assists in his last four games, the St. John's, Newfoundland native is doing a pretty good impersonation.