The Hobey Hat Trick was announced on Thursday, and at least one of the three was no surprise.
Boston University freshman forward Jack Eichel, the leading scorer in the nation, was one of the final trio for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which is presented to the top player in NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey. Projected as a top-two selection in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft, and also the frontrunner for the Hobey Baker honor, Eichel has tallied 24 goals and 43 assists for 67 points in 38 games.
Eichel has also has led the Terriers to a 27-7-5 overall record, a Beanpot Tournament title, the Hockey East Association regular season and playoff championships, and the NCAA Northeast Regional crown. The Terriers defeated Yale and Minnesota-Duluth last weekend in Manchester, N.H. to earn their first NCAA Frozen Four berth in five years.
The second finalist is junior goaltender Zane McIntyre of North Dakota, who backstopped UND to the NCAA West Regional title in Fargo, N.D. after cementing a National Collegiate Hockey Conference regular-season championship. UND defeated both Quinnipiac and St. Cloud State to advance to the national semifinals. A Boston Bruins draft choice, he has fashioned a 29-9-3 record in 41 outings this winter, earning every one of UND’s decisions, while also compiling a 1.99 goals-against average, a .931 save percentage, and one shutout. McIntyre is vying to become the first netminder to win the Hobey Baker Award since Michigan State and NHL star Ryan Miller did so in 2001.
The third finalist is Harvard junior forward Jimmy Vesey, who led the nation with 32 goals this season in guiding the Crimson to the ECAC Tournament championship. Vesey, who is property of the Nashville Predators, also won the Walter Brown award as the top college player in New England this season, and also had 26 assists and 58 points to rank among the top three scorers in NCAA Division I this year. Harvard fell to (Nebraska) Omaha in the first round of the NCAA West regional last Saturday to close out its campaign with a 21-13-3 mark.
The 2015 Hobey Baker Award will be presented on April 10 in Boston, the day between the Frozen Four semifinals and the NCAA national title game at TD Garden. BU and UND will face off in the nightcap on Thursday following Omaha’s game against Providence.