On Monday, March 30 the Hobey Baker Memorial Award Selection Committee had a spirited debate as to who should win the 2009 award.
Listed below are the three candidates who are up for the honor, to be announced Friday evening. The votes from the committee were done last week.
In my opinion — others may concur or disagree — the award last season was Kevin Porter’s to lose from about Thanksgiving on. The season before, the race to the finish was great, but based on a set of criteria that I like to use to evaluate a player (similar to the one I use when I scout), Ryan Duncan kept coming up on top of the list.
This season, there was no clear-cut winner based on the criteria until you looked at it a few times. Then one name kept jumping out at me, considering the success he had this season in so many phases of the game.
It is hard to separate the body of work or story of the journey that each player has taken to get to this point in his career, but what counts is what happened from game one of this season until the end of the regionals.
Obviously we factor in off-ice attributes like academics and extracurricular activities. That, combined with what the player accomplished on the ice, determines the vote of each of the members of the committee.
The one thing that concerns me is what might appear to be eastern bias. It was a testy conference call between the 25 members, and several names were both lauded and at times shot down. I never got the sense that one regional block of voters was out to promote their own.
In fact, I got the opposite sense at times.
Here are the three “Hat Trick” finalists and some numbers on them as of the date the vote was taken. The stats for Matt Gilroy and Colin Wilson from Thursday night are not listed as they came after the vote.
Matt Gilroy, D, Boston University. 43 GP, 8-28–36, 12 PIMs, no major penalties. Led all Hockey East defensemen in points with 28; first defenseman in Hockey East to be a three-time first-team all-star. Has played in 142 consecutive games, career numbers are 25-66–91 in 158 games. Five PPGs, 1 SHG, 2 GWG and went 5-12–17 on the power play. Has seven assists in seven postseason games, leading BU to the Frozen Four. BU won the Hockey East regular-season and playoff championships as well as the Beanpot. Undrafted free agent. MVP of the Denver Cup tournament. Was a +21 this season.
Games with points: 22
Multi-goal games: 1
Multi-point games: 7
Scoring streaks: five games (3-5–8)
Road stats: 18 games, 6-18–24
Rivalry games: 12 games (2-3–5), scoreless in three games vs. New Hampshire
Big games: 7 games played in postseason, 0-7–7. 1-0–1 in two games at Denver Cup, scoreless in Ice Breaker vs. North Dakota and Michigan State, one assist in two games in Beanpot, which BU won.
Colin Wilson, F, Boston University. 41 GP, 15-37–52, 50 PIMs, double minor for roughing and a game misconduct at UNH January 23. 37 assists in 41 games is among the best in the nation in assists per game. 4 GWG, 6 PPG, 1 SHG. Third in the NCAA in scoring and third in assists. First-team all-star in Hockey East. Seventh overall selection in last year’s NHL draft by Nashville. Was +18 and led the Terriers in scoring and assists in a season which saw them win the Beanpot, Hockey East regular-season and playoff championships and advance to the Frozen Four. Played for Team USA at the 2009 World Junior Championship.
Games with points: 28
Multi-goal games: 4 (one hat trick, at Maine)
Multi-point games: 17
Scoring streaks: four games (4-6–10), five games (2-6–8), six games (2-9–11), had eight points over three games in a mini-streak
Road stats: 19 games, 8-16–24
Rivalry games: 12 games vs UNH, BC, Northeastern (5-7–12)
Big games: 1-1–2 vs. North Dakota in the Ice Breaker, 1-2–3 vs Northeastern in Beanpot final, a goal against Boston College in the Hockey East semifinals, two assists vs Ohio State in Northeast regional semifinal. Was shut out in Hockey East and regional semifinal games. Three assists in three games vs. Maine in Hockey East opening-round series.
Brad Thiessen, G, Northeastern. 41 GP, 25-12-4, 2.12 goals against, .931 save percentage, three shutouts, played 99.8% of the minutes in the season (the other 5:44 of time were empty net, so he played every minute available). Hockey East Player of the Year, First-team all-star and top goalie. Fourth in save percentage, third in minutes played, fourth in wins. Made all-tourney team at Dodge Holiday Classic in Minneapolis.
Games with 30-plus saves: 19 (14-4-1 in those games)
Win streaks: One streak of 5 games
Road record: 13-9-2
Postseason: 2-3, 11 goals allowed.
Games allowing two goals or fewer: 20
Wins against rivals: went 4-4-3 against BU, BC, and UNH.
Big games: Won the last two games of a best-of-3 against Massachusetts in the Hockey East quarterfinals, lost to Lowell and Cornell in the Hockey East semifinals and Midwest Regional, respectively, lost to BU in the Beanpot final, beat BC in the Beanpot semis.