Hobey Baker Watch: Week 8
Look, some member of the Nittany Lions is basically guaranteed to get nominated for this award. Penn State has two of the top point-scorers in the nation in Evan Barratt and Alex Limoges. However, as electric as these two studs are, there are other superstars in the race to be named college hockey’s best player. Here are three potential nominees for the Hobey Baker Award.
1. Taro Hirose - F - So - Michigan State
Hirose lands just behind Barratt and Limoges on the points leaders list with 19. Not too shabby. Hirose racks up points by dishing to teammates, leading the Spartans with 13 assists. He also possesses a dangerous shot as well, netting six goals on the season. There are more prolific goal scorers on his squad, such as Mitchell Lewandowski and Patrick Khodorenko, but Hirose has definitely raised the performance of a Michigan State offense that has been somewhat middling this year, thanks to his keen eye on the ice.
2. Johnny Walker - F - So - Arizona State
Walker might just be the best goal-scorer in the west. He has 12 goals and six assists, good for 18 points. He also has 89 shots, good for more than twice as many shots than the three points leaders who sit ahead of him on the national list. Walker’s best performance was a four goal explosion against Nebraska-Omaha, and since then has continued to either put up points or take quality shots. Walker should get some attention as he tries to catch up to the Penn State offensive juggernauts.
3. Evan Barratt - F - So - Penn State
And finally, we can’t have a Hobey Baker Watch article without a Penn Stater on it, considering that the Nittany Lions are averaging almost an entire goal better than the second-best offensive team in the nation. Barratt, as the leading individual point-scoring leader with 21, is a large part of that prolific offensive attack. Barratt has 10 goals, including a highlight wrap around shot that snuck its way into the goal over the shoulder of the Arizona State goalie. That play made Sportscenter’s Top 10 list, and other exciting plays have electrified his team. Limoges has made this list in recent weeks, and is just as good a contender to take this award home if Barratt suddenly cools off, especially after his 11-game point streak just came to a halt in a loss to Ohio State this past weekend.
4. Odeen Tufto - F- So, Quinnipiac
Tufto is in the thick of the pack, tied for fourth in points, and has an even nine goals and nine assists on the season. His highlight game came on the road against Maine, where he racked up five points on three goals and two assists. Tufto may be hurt by the fact that his squad resides outside of the Big Ten, and do not face a team from the conference all year. They do have notable opponents such as Union, Cornell, Princeton and UMass, but the evenness of competition is a step below what might help Tufto nab the trophy.
Jeremy Ganes is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.