Goals and assists

A quick thought or two from the press box at the Xcel Energy Center (where the wireless is working much better for me on account of it being less crowded than it is down in the media workroom).

I’ve said on many occasions that “Hobey Likes Goals” or “Hobey Loves Goals,” borrowing a turn of phrase from the folks who cover the Academy Awards.

(Speaking of which, a side note for those debating the role of events from a season ago or more: I think we should all be glad that this isn’t more like the Oscars, where Jim Carrey – not to be confused with former Wisconsin goalie Jim Carey – wasn’t even nominated for “The Truman Show,” “Man on the Moon,” or “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” snubs often blamed on him “talking” through his butt in the Ace Ventura movies. “Butt” I digress… )

Anyway, having established that “Hobey Likes Goals,” it’s worth considering how the statistical contributions of the Hobey Baker finalists influenced the voters.

With the final vote taken, we know that the Hobey Baker Award will go to one of three young men.

Cam Atkinson, JR, F, Boston College: 31 goals, 21 assists, 39 games played (1.33 PPG)
Matt Frattin, SR, F, North Dakota: 36 goals, 24 assists, 43 games played (1.40 PPG)
Andy Miele, SR, F, Miami: 24 goals, 47 assists, 39 games played (1.82 PPG)

As I noted the other day, the statistics against NCAA tournament teams show Atkinson to be the strongest against the best competition, with 12 goals and seven assists in 11 games against Denver, Notre Dame, Merrimack, New Hampshire and Colorado College. Miele had eight goals and 17 assists in 15 games against New Hampshire, Western Michigan, Notre Dame and Michigan, while Frattin had nine goals and six assists in 17 games against Denver, Minnesota Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, Notre Dame, Colorado College and Rensselaer. I have a feeling, though, that with Frattin as the overall national leader in goals and Miele as the overall national leader in assists and total points, Atkinson was hard pressed to top both of them in the final voting. Maybe one, maybe the other, but not both. This is why I’ve been reluctant to include Atkinson alongside Miele and Frattin when doing my final analyses.

So, how do you compare the leader in goals and the leader in assists/total points? Is it a simple matter of saying “Hobey loves goals” and handing the award to Frattin? No. And I’m not talking about the character issue, because I think I might be as sick of discussing it as you are of reading my thoughts on the subject, believe it or not.

The thing that should be considered here is that Andy Miele, in addition to being the national leader in assists and total points, is also 13th in the nation in goals per game. That’s pretty darn good if you ask me. And, if you’re “pretty darn good” in one major offensive statistical area while being the best in the country in the other, then that makes for a pretty impressive overall package.

(Frattin, by the way, averages .56 assists per game, good for 88th in the country, in case anyone is wondering.)

Of course, statistics aren’t everything, and the contributions in other phases of the game were considered, I’m sure, but several readers posted comments debating the issue of goals vs. assists, and I wanted to address that in this space. My gut feeling is that the nod in the stats department would go to Miele.

That’s it out of me for now. If Frattin lights up Michigan tomorrow night, you might get a bit more tomorrow, but other than that, check back on Friday for my final analysis and pick.


  1. You keep beating a dead horse with these Hobey updates. I’m a Sioux fan and I still think it should be Miele (whom I’ve only see play twice). He has the most points, his team was top 4 and he’s never had a character issue. It’s a pretty open and shut thing if you ask me. I love Fratts, but he has 11 less points. That’s an extra assist of goal every 3-4 games. Plus, Frattin plays on a stacked team. He doesn’t wan the Hobey anyway, he wants the National Championship and then a Stanley Cup in Toronto.

    • I wish Frattin and North Dakota (along with all the other teams at the Frozen Four) to have a successful tournament. However, I will not translate any good wishes to the Maple Leafs.

      There is a lot of hair-splitting going on in this Hobey analysis. Frattin looks like the best player in college hockey this year. I did not see enough of Miele (other than the NCAA tourney) to make a fair judgment about him. I did see a ton of Cam Atkinson, mostly schooling my Terriers and the rest of Hockey East. If most people are calling it a two-horse race, than both Frattin and Miele must have had very good years.

      North Dakota seems to me to be a very dominant college hockey team this year, one that comes at teams in wave after wave. The difference in goals or assists, level of competition, etc. are very marginal.

      Finally, Hobey does love goals. I thought that Brad Thiessen should have won in 2009, he CARRIED that Northeastern team to the tournament. He just won the award in the AHL for best goaltender. Of course, Matt Gilroy is playing for the Rangers right now, so maybe it was a good call after all.

    • I wouldn’t go as far to say as he doesn’t want the hobey. If he had to choose between it and a championship, I would bet he would choose the champioship everyday of the week and twice on sunday. Frattin does play on a stacked team, but Miele plays on a stacked line. And because Frattin plays on a stacked team that rolls four lines, he plays less than Miele, because Miami only rolls three lines.

  2. Elliot, why do they have your dumbass writing articles here? I hope they don’t pay you much. Afterall, you have less knowledge than Berry Melrose when it comes to college hockey.

    • Sioux are…


      and the fans are…


      (but I have to admit that your Berry Melrose jab was pretty good).

  3. Its getting a little tiring hearing you lobby for Miele every single column. I understand comparing the ups and downs of each player, but at what point have you even tried to find a statistic that favors Frattin over Miele?

    • He is not lobbying for anyone. He is trying to lay out the information, it just so happens that Miele is winning the majority of the comparisons.

      Yeah NoDak is still playing, we got it!

      • 1. I said nothing about ND still playing.
        2. There are numerous comparisons that Frattin wins. Physical play, the fact that frattin has more goals than miele has primary assists. Not to mention the fact the Olshansky refuses to mitigate any of his statistics with other statistics. For instance, instead of comparing Frattin and Miele when playing playoff teams, he could have made the much less dubious comparison of when Frattin and Miele have played the same teams, which, as I have demonstrated, Frattin rather clearly wins.

        • I put the still playing thing in there to stop that debate comparing a Team accomplishment versus and individual accomplishment. Like so many NoDak fans are posting.

          You make some good points, I am not sure I agree with them. Physical Play? Frattin is bigger, but Miele is not a slouch in the corners, if you saw him play, you would see he is as physical as a 5″8 player can be. Frattin wins that comparison

          More goals then primary assists, but not more goals and primary assist combined. I don’t have the stats for Frattin, but a I am confident the comparison would favor Miele’s 24 goals and 31 Primary Assists would exceed Frattin’s 36 goals and ???? Primary Assists. Check it out and let me know.

          Elliot made a valid comparison that embodies a majority of all pertinent information available and tried to find a common denominator to compare all three candidates. His goal was not to find a comparison to prove Miele was a better player. If it had been, he would not have succeeded, because the comparison favors Atkinson over Miele, and Frattin.

          Anybody can take a look at all the stats and find a comparison for the player they feel is the better player, you just did above, and so did I in response.

          At some point, opinion needs to be thrown out the door. There needs to be a benchmark that everyone agrees to in order to decide who deserves to win a judged accolade. Think gymnastics, figure skating, boxing to an extent.

          Elliot thought this was a good benchmark, no fault in that.

          • Its not that he’s trying to find a comparison that makes Miele look better, its that he is ignoring comparisons that make Frattin look better.

      • i think he meant for example, have they looked at plus-minus? I honestly have no clue, maybe Atkinson is leading in that catagory, who knows, anything but goals, assists and character are the only components that have been brought up in some 4 or 5 articles on the Hobey Race…

  4. Ellliot, why does ND 43 games played being compared to Miami and BC 39, and 38 games in total goals & pts? and not conference only games?

      • Thank you, I am new to this game. Then… if you play five more games (43-38) and play weaker teams and then score more goals, you are considered the “best” by some. Not cricket!

        • Note, ND has a more difficult strength of schedule, and those “weaker teams” that Frattin scored a lot of goals against (specifically MTU) have a very good record this year against the CCHA. (MTU, I believe was either 2-0 or 2-1.)

  5. Granted, I didn’t see much of Miele play this year. He plays on a line with two other all-american calibur forwards, and in a weaker division than Frattin. Anyone who has watched Frattin play this year can attest that he is physically dominanty over his competition night in and night out. He plays a style of hockey that is very very fun to watch – and he’s best the goal scorer in the country…

    His “Character Issue” in my opinion is not an issue at all. In fact, I see it as a strength. It takes a helluva lot of guts to go through what he did, put his ego aside, and come back to the team with no scholarship, no garuntee of ever playing again, and EARN his spot back with North Dakota. His growth and maturity over the past year and a half goes to show what a great family he has, and what a excellent staff they have at North Dakota. To me, that’s what the Hobey is all about.

    • carter hasn’t played on miele’s line since the third week of the season. Line 1 Miele, Smith, Vogelhuber. Line 2 Camper, Cannone, Paulazzo.

  6. “This is why I’ve been reluctant to include Atkinson alongside Miele and Atkinson when doing my final analyses.”

    Elliot, do you even proofread the garbage you write? I’m assuming you mean you’re reluctant to include Atkinson alongside Miele and “Frattin” (not Atkinson)… Let me guess, sick again? Then do us a favor, stop writing and go home.

      • As an unbiased writer you seem to get your panties in a bunch more than usual Elliot… maybe you aren’t cut out for the job of analyzing sports and taking heat for it…. grow a pair and admit your mistakes….

  7. hmmm, Frattin and his timid Sue choke once again. 2000 was the last decade. They’ll go at least 5 more years without an NC !


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