The Case For Thiessen

OK, I’ll admit it, I was briefly annoyed with myself for not asking Northeastern goalie Brad Thiessen about the Hobey race  on Monday at the Beanpot. However, the truth is, it’s not really necessary. Any player worthy of the award will give an answer along these lines: “It’s a tremendous honor to be considered for the award, and I’d love to win, but it’s not something I really think about.”

Besides, Thiessen did what a Hobey candidate should do: he let his game do the talking: 45 saves on 46 shots, backstopping the Huskies into the Beanpot final against BU.

To be fair, Thiessen should have entered the Hobey conversation more seriously long before now. He’s the biggest reason Northeastern has emerged as a force to be reckoned with on the national level these last two seasons, and clearly an elite goaltender. However, it’s hard to get Hobey consideration as a goalie when Ben Scrivens of Cornell is putting up the kind of numbers that Ryan Miller had when he “ruined” the Hobey chances for all subsequent goalies…or so we thought. 

The fact of the matter is that this is not a great year for Hobey candidates at forward. Colin Wilson and Bryan Leitch are great players, but have far fewer goals than forwards have won the Hobey with in the past. Garrett Roe fits the profile a bit better, but St. Cloud is having an underwhelming year. Jacques Lamoureux has a great combination of numbers and intangibles, but his candidacy may have slipped since Air Force has been overtaken in Atlantic Hockey. The best candidates at forward may be Ryan Stoa of Minnesota and Carter Camper of Miami, who may not be at the very top of the scoring list, but are right around where Ryan Duncan was in his Hobey year of 2006-07.

Duncan, however, didn’t have a goaltender with Scrivens’ numbers to contend with (no disrespect to David Brown), and if he did, this might be a completely different conversation.

Again, though, it comes back to numbers, which begs the question: how can Thiessen win the Hobey if Scrivens has better – even Ryan Miller-level – numbers in the net?

There may not be an answer, but if there is, this is it: history.

As good as Scrivens is, he’s thriving in a system that has traditionally benefitted goaltenders. David McKee and Dave LeNeveu made the Hobey Hat Trick in this system, but didn’t win, and Cornell is known as a defensive team. Northeastern is mostly known for playing in the oldest hockey arena in the nation, and its annual frustration in the Beanpot. The Huskies’ program is a clean slate, and Thiessen is holding the pen as his coach, Greg Cronin, authors an impressive story.

Where Scrivens is doing what’s been done before – albeit much better – Thiessen is doing something new and exciting, and if he is to win the Hobey, that will be why.

As it is, expect him to be a finalist next month. From there, well…we’ll see.