Hobey Baker Watch: Week 4
After an exciting Ice Breaker tournament and other exciting matchups, college hockey’s best are making their cases for the nation’s top honor.
Starting with the team with all the first-round picks, the Michigan Wolverines had some impressive individual performances that led to winning the Ice Breaker tournament.
Against the toughest competition the squad has faced so far, Michigan forward 2021 second overall draft pick Matt Beniers tallied his first two goals of the season including one on the power play.
Brendan Brisson also tallied three goals in the two Ice Breaker games increasing his total to six on the year which is good for best on his team and third in the nation.
Michigan defeated top hockey schools in Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota State to win the Ice Breaker tournament. Michigan’s ridiculous talent is reflected in their number one ranking in the country, but it is hard to pick one particular standout player thus far.
However, Brisson has had the early jump in terms of goal scoring for the Wolverines which gives the forward the edge just four games into the season. Brisson is also tied for the nation’s lead in game-winning goals with three.
Sticking with the theme of filling up the stat sheet, Arizona State forward Matthew Kopperud is currently leading the nation in points.
The sophomore forward has scored seven goals and has assisted on six more just six games into the Sun Devils’ season. That is good for just over two points a game and over a goal a game.
Kopperud has shown exceptional prowess on the power play leading the nation with six goals on the man advantage.
The main knocks against Kopperud are his lack of even strength goals with just one and lack of team success so far this season. Arizona State is 3-3 after playing three two-game series.
It is hard to talk about the Hobey Baker Award race this season without mentioning Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay.
Despite recently falling to Michigan in the Ice Breaker tournament final, McKay has still posted an impressive 1.86 goals-against average and .907 save percentage through six games this season. He has also posted two shutouts and has all four of Minnesota State’s victories thus far.
McKay also recently tied goaltender Ryan Miller’s all-time NCAA shutouts record of 26 when he stopped all 20 St. Cloud State shots in a 1-0 Minnesota State win. Miller was the goaltender for the Michigan State Spartans from 1999-2002.
McKay is certainly on pace to break the record this season, but still has some questions regarding his Hobey Baker contention.
Goaltenders have the Mike Richter award which crowns the nation's best netminder. If McKay continues his exceptional play, he might be a lock for this award, but he will have to turn things up another notch if he wants to win the Hobey Baker.
Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.