Thursday, March 29, 2012

2012 Hobey Hat Trick Announced

The three finalists for the 2012 Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top player in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey were announced today in Minnesota. All three players are senior forwards who have finished their collegiate careers: Maine’s Spencer Abbott, Minnesota-Duluth’s Jack Connolly, and Colgate’s Austin Smith.

Abbott, a native of Hamilton, Ont., led Division I in scoring this season with 21 goals and a nation-high 41 assists for 62 points. The Hockey East Player of the Year, he missed the conference championship game with an injury suffered in the semifinals, but returned for the NCAA Tournament last weekend. He scored Maine’s first goal, the final point of his career, in the Black Bears’ 5-2 loss to Minnesota-Duluth at the NCAA Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass. on Saturday. For his career, he collected 54-92—146 points in 151 games, was a Maine Scholar-Athlete Award winner as a junior, and just signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent.

Connolly, who helped his hometown Bulldogs to their first-ever national title last spring, was second overall to Abbott with 20-40—60 points this winter. He scored UMD’s first goal in the win over Maine, before the Bulldogs were blanked, 4-0, the following evening by Boston College to bow out of the tournament. He tallied 66-131—197 points in 166 outings with UMD, and led the Bulldogs in points his last three campaigns while also being named a first-team All-WCHA choice in each of those years.

Smith (pictured) came in third to Abbott and Connolly with 36-21—57 points, although he led the entire nation in total goals and shorthanded goals (6), and was also a first-team All-ECAC selection. The only drafted player of the trio, the Dallas native is now skating for Texas (AHL). He tallied his final point on an assist in a 6-2 loss to Union in an ECAC Tournament semifinal on March 16 in Atlantic City, before ending his Colgate career the following day in a 3-0 consolation game loss to Cornell. He finished with 79-87—160 points in 153 contests, and twice led the Raiders in scoring.

The winner of the 32nd Hobey Baker Memorial Award will be announced on April 6 at the NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla.

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