Connolly expected Hobey Baker finalistDULUTH, Minn. — Minnesota Duluth senior center Jack Connolly of Duluth is expected to be named today among three finalists for the 2012 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which goes to the top player in Division I men’s hockey. A list of 10 finalists was cut to three Monday in voting by the Hobey Baker Award Committee.
By: Kevin Pates, The Dickinson Press
DULUTH, Minn. — Minnesota Duluth senior center Jack Connolly of Duluth is expected to be named today among three finalists for the 2012 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which goes to the top player in Division I men’s hockey. A list of 10 finalists was cut to three Monday in voting by the Hobey Baker Award Committee.
Connolly is second among Division I scorers this season with 20 goals and 40 assists for 60 points in 41 games. The Bulldogs finished their season Sunday in the NCAA Northeast Regional final in Worcester, Mass., losing 4-0 to Boston College.
“Jack had a great year and epitomizes what the Hobey Baker Award is all about: on the rink, in the classroom and in the community,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said Wednesday. “He has risen to the challenge during every step of his career. I’d be absolutely shocked if he wasn’t in the final three.”
The 32nd Hobey Baker Memorial Award will be presented April 6 in a ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
Connolly played in every game at UMD in four seasons, a school-record 166 straight, and finished eighth in program career scoring with 66 goals and 131 assists for 197 points. His point total this season was the highest in eight years, since right winger Junior Lessard recorded 63 in 2003-04, and the second-most in 17 years.
Lessard won the 2004 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, the most-recent of four Bulldogs, following defenseman Tom Kurvers in 1984, winger Bill Watson in 1985 and winger Chris Marinucci in 1994.
Completing the list of 10 finalists for the 2012 award are Maine senior forward Spencer Abbott, Boston College junior defenseman Brian Dumoulin, Union College sophomore goalie Troy Grosenick, Michigan senior goalie Shawn Hunwick, Air Force Academy senior defenseman Tim Kirby, Michigan State junior defenseman Torey Krug, Wisconsin junior defenseman Justin Schultz, Colgate University senior forward Austin Smith and Miami of Ohio junior forward Reilly Smith.
Already signing professional contracts since the end of the season were Abbott (Toronto), Hunwick (Columbus) and Krug (Boston), and Austin Smith and Reilly Smith, both with Dallas.
Preparing for the Frozen Four on April 5 and 7 in Tampa, Fla., are Dumoulin and Grosenick.
Of the past 10 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winners, seven have come from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Last year’s winner was senior center Andy Miele of Miami of Ohio.
Pates is a sports reporter for the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.