Of Lamoureux and Legacies

So, the last time I blogged, I got a very good question from the crowd – and feel free to leave more of those, by the way…love the comments – asking about Air Force forward Jacques Lamoureux.

After a month and a half of play this season, Lamoureux certainly has an impressive case. He’s leading the undefeated Falcons in scoring, and sharing the national points-per-game lead with teammate Brent Olson and Boston College’s Brock Bradford. Of course, there’s no guarantee he can keep it up – Lamoureux was held off the scoresheet this past weekend at Holy Cross – but watching the way Lamoureux has started the season reminds me of two former Hobey finalists.

One, of course, is his older brother, former North Dakota goaltender Jean-Philippe Lamoureux -more for name reasons than anything else – but we’ll get to him in just a second. The other, more fitting name that comes to mind is Eric Ehn.

Ehn, of course, spent a good chunk of the 2006-07 season leading the nation in scoring, and became the first Atlantic Hockey player to make the Hobey Hat Trick. Of course, not having been part of the conversation among the Hobey voters, I can’t say with certainty, but the fact that Ehn performed at the level he did while handling a military academy schedule almost certainly helped his cause, as did the fact that Hobey Baker himself was a pilot for the U.S. in World War I.

The question now is this: If Lamoureux keeps his performance up, does the same formula work for him? Or is it possible that Hobey voters will shrug off the intangibles from Lamoureux and say, “We’ve heard this before?”

As an aside, there’s an element of Lamoureux’s story that Hobey voters haven’t heard before, and if you haven’t read Kate Crandall’s gut-wrenching story in the Colorado Springs Gazette about Lamoureux’s battle with depression, I encourage you to read it here. That said, while it would certainly make a wonderful story if Lamoureux were to become a Hobey finalist less than seven years after hitting such a low point – and would result in greater publicity for suicide prevention and other mental health issues – I don’t see voters looking at that element of Lamoureux’s personal story as a reason to vote for him.

It almost goes without saying, I think, that if Lamoureux’s production continues at its current clip, he’ll be a finalist for the Hobey in the “small conference superstar” category I identified when I did my “casting call” before the season. As for the question of whether he can make the Hat Trick, that depends on the national landscape, which is really too murky to talk about now.

I did promise talk about Lamoureux’s older brother, Jean-Philippe, although the player who’s really reminding me of JPL right now is not anyone in his family. Rather, it’s Cornell goalie Ben Scrivens. Actually, Scrivens was reminding me of the former North Dakota goaltender a week ago, when he still hadn’t given up a goal this season, but with the Big Red netminder leading the nation in both goals-against average AND save percentage, the comparison at this point in the season still works.

Of course, with Cornell goaltenders, the discussion invariably turns to The System. Cornell plays low-scoring hockey, they say, so of course, their goaltenders don’t give up many goals and their numbers really aren’t all that impressive. To which I say, a fat lot of good it did him when he had a solid-but-unspectacular .911 save percentage as a freshman.

One thing I always have liked about Scrivens is his goaltending mask that features images of the Cornell student section and the Big Red Band. Anyone who’s been to Lynah Rink knows that what makes Cornell hockey special as a program is as much about the people surrounding as the people on the ice, and for Scrivens to have a mask made with those images shows a great understanding of and connection to the spirit of the Cornell program, which is something I like to see in a guy being considered for the top individual award in college hockey.

Now, I don’t think Scrivens will win the Hobey, and while that’s a dangerous thing to say in November, let’s face it: with all the talk out there about The System, Scrivens will need to put up Ryan Miller numbers and then some to have a serious shot at the award, and as well as he’s playing right now, I just don’t see that happening.

But we’ll see. Meanwhile, keep talking, and we’ll see where we go from here.