Hobey Baker Watch: Week 21

Story posted March 15, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Anthony Desher

It’s playoff season and players are stepping up in big ways all over the NCAA. Which players are stepping up in hopes of a championship?

Adam Fantilli, Forward, Michigan
Fantilli is on this list every week because of just how dominant he’s been all year long. His 60 points lead the NCAA and he’s averaging nearly two points a game.  In his last three games, he’s scored seven times, with 10 points total in those games.

Only three times this season has Fantilli been held pointless in a game. He’s got six more points than the second-highest scorer in the league. He loves to shoot the puck and he’s also great at setting up his teammates for an assist.

He also controls play, fires the puck very well, and isn’t afraid to get into the dirty areas of the ice, making him an amazing power forward. Missing out on Connor Bedard in the upcoming draft isn’t the end of the world, because drafting a player like Fantilli will find you your next franchise center.

Collin Graf, Forward, Quinnipiac
Another guy who loves to just pile up the points. In the two playoff games he’s played so far, he’s scored five points. Graf has found the back of the net 20 times and picked up 34 apples for 54 points on the year.

The Bobcats are second in the PairWise, behind Minnesota. With the high-octane offense that Graf brings, Quinnipiac will be an even more dangerous opponent in the NCAA tournament.

Logan Cooley, Forward, Minnesota
Cooley had a good start to the year, but when the second half rolled around, he took off like a rocket. He scored twice during Minnesota’s semi-final matchup against the Michigan State Spartans. His skill is mesmerizing, and what he does with the puck is beautiful to watch. 

He has the puck on a string, skates with a powerful stride, and speaking of skating, his edge work is arguably the best in the NCAA.

He totaled 50 points throughout the season and is a prime reason why the Golden Gophers have favorable odds of winning not only the Big Ten tournament but the NCAA tournament as well.

Jason Polin, Forward, Western Michigan
Polin has scored 29 goals, and yes, you read that right. With that many goals and 46 points on the year, Polin has a lot of leverage in the Hobey Baker conversation. When you can find twine as easily as he does, some hardware can easily be seen in your future.

Western Michigan might’ve gotten upset in their playoffs, but elite goal scorers like Polin are heavily relied on during big games. With the NCAA tournament rapidly approaching, Polin will certainly be fed the puck on a silver platter.

Anthony Desher is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email acd5698@psu.edu.