Hobey Baker Watch: Week 23

Story posted March 3, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Alex Rocco

College hockey is coming to a close and in just a few days on March 8, the three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award will be announced.

Let's take a deeper dive into who the top candidates are.

Cole Caufield, F, Wisconsin Badgers

Caufield is one of the biggest names in college hockey after being selected No. 15 overall in the 2019 NHL draft to the Montreal Canadiens.

Caufield has great speed but his best attribute is his shot. He has a wicked wrist and slap shot that has been on display all season long. In just 26 games, he has racked up 22 goals and 20 assists for 42 points.

In his last four games, Caufield has tallied five goals and four assists for nine points. His last game saw him notch a hat-trick against Ohio State.

The Badgers currently sit atop all of college hockey in goals scored and a large part of that is due to Caufield. Caufield elevates the play of all his teammates and should be a force to reckon with for the rest of the season and the rest of his playing career.

Odeen Tufto, F, Quinnipiac Bobcats

Tufto is the complete opposite of Caufield. While Caufield is a highly-touted prospect, Tufto went undrafted but he returned to Quinnipiac to set D1 records.

Tufto has been the leading scorer for the Bobcats for the past few seasons and this year is no different. In just 25 games, Tufto has put up five goals and 35 assists for 40 points.

Tufto is an excellent playmaker with the ability to make several passes through tight spaces. He can set up teammates with both his forehand and backhand. He is also a solid skater which adds to how dangerous he can be.

He sits just one assist away from breaking Reid Cashman’s record of 125 as well as just nine points away to break the record of 169 held by Bryan Leitch and Brian Herbert.

Jack LaFontaine, G, Minnesota Golden Gophers

LaFontaine has been one of the many surprises of this season. In his first three collegiate seasons, he had career stats of 14 wins, 20 losses and seven overtime losses to go along with a 3.13 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.

However, LaFontaine has been a man on a mission this season. He has recorded 17 wins and just five losses. His goals-against average has dropped significantly to 1.55 and his save percentage has gone up to .941.

The Golden Gophers currently sit second in the Big Ten and a big reason for that is the play of LaFontaine. If LaFontaine plays well in the final series of the season against a high-powered offense in the Michigan Wolverines, he has a good chance of taking home the award.

Alex Rocco is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email afr5646@psu.edu.