Hobey Baker Watch: Week Five

Story posted November 5, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Zach Kaplan

The Hobey Baker race enters the 5th weekend of the college hockey season still entirely up in the air. Notable performances have led to some standouts being named, but let’s take a look by conference at how the Hobey race stacks up, and who is leading each conference in the major statistical categories.

In Atlantic Hockey, there has been some change at the top of the offensive major scoring categories. In points, Brady Ferguson (Robert Morris), Mike Barrett (Holy Cross), and Erik Brown (RIT) lead with 10, followed by T.J. Moore (Holy Cross). Defensively, Danny Lopez (Holy Cross) and Adam Brubacher (RIT) lead the conference with a +7 rating. On the back end, Parker Gahagen (Army) continues to lead the way as one of the top goaltenders in not only Atlantic Hockey, but Div. I as a whole. In general, Gahagen represents one of the better goalies in college hockey, and probably the only real chance anyone in Atlantic Hockey has of winning the Hobey. Ferguson and Barrett are only top-20 scorers overall, not nearly enough to win the award.

In the Big Ten, Tanner Laczynski (Ohio State) leads the way in scoring with 11 points, and three other players are tied with 10. Also from Ohio State, Drew Brevig is the top plus/minus man, with a +10 rating, and four other players have at least a +8. In net, there really aren’t any standouts that are playing at a Hobey level, but Matt Tomkins and Hayden Lavigne, of Ohio State and Michigan respectively, both have a GAA (goals against average) under 2.00. For the conference as a whole, Laczynski is in the top 10 for scoring in the NCAA, but it would be a stretch to call any performance so far worthy of the Hobey Baker award. So where are all the contenders?

There are definitely a number of considerations for the award in the ECAC. Mike Vecchione of Union leads the entire NCAA in both goals (10), and points (17). With 13 points, teammates Sebastian Vidmar and Spencer Foo are also in the top 5 in the NCAA for scoring. Defensively, Foo leads the conference with a +11 rating, with both Vecchione (+9) and Vidmar (+7) right behind him. In net, there are a number of goaltenders with good statistics, but many of them have only played one or two games overall. For Hobey contenders though, look no further than the aforementioned trio from Union (Vecchione, Vidmar and Foo), all of whom have been impressive and are near the top of the conference.

In Hockey East, there have been a number of great performances thus far. Anders Bjork (Notre Dame) is a name that has been mentioned in this column almost weekly. He leads the conference and is second in the NCAA in scoring with 16 points. Behind him are Joe Gambardella (UMass Lowell) with 12, and three other players are tied with 11. On the blue line, there are four players tied with a +8 rating, none necessarily standouts on a national level. In net, Jake Oettinger of BU still leads the way with a 1.42 GAA through five games thus far and is sixth in the NCAA. Overall, Bjork and Gambardella are certainly Hobey contenders with their performances so far.

For the NCHC, there are a couple players who have stood out. Brock Boeser of North Dakota leads the conference and is tied for fifth in the NCAA with 12 points on the season. Right behind him is teammate Shane Gersich and Minnesota-Duluth’s Neal Pionk with 10 points. Defensively, Tucker Poolman has played impressively so far with a +8 rating, continuing to be a top player in the conference. In goal, Tanner Jaillet of Denver leads the conference and is among the top 10 goaltenders in the nation with a 1.73 GAA. Overall, Boeser and Poolman are definite Hobey contenders, and Jaillet is beginning to make his way into the conversation as well.

And finally in the WCHA, Mitch Hults of Lake Superior State and Craig Pefley of Ferris State both have 11 points, tops in the conference and tied for seventh in the NCAA. Right behind them in the conference are Dan Brickley and Marc Michaelis, both of Minnesota State, with 10 points. On the back end, Clint Lewis and Carter Foguth have a +8 rating, leading the WCHA and tied for fifth in all of Div. I. In net, Michael Bitzer of Bemidji State still leads the way with a 1.38 GAA, ranking in the top 5 for all of college hockey.

Overall, the race is certainly still anyone’s for the taking. There are a number of forwards who are contending, like Vecchione, Bjork, Gambardella, and Boeser. A couple defensemen, like Brevig and Poolman still definitely have a shot at the award as well. And for goalies, Bitzer, Gahagen and Oettinger are the leaders. The race is definitely still up for grabs though.


Zach Kaplan is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. Send him an email at zachkaplan5@gmail.com