The Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation on Wednesday announced the three finalists for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award to honor college hockey's top player.
The finalists, selected from the initial list of the top 10 candidates by the 23-member selection committee and a round of online fan balloting, include sophomore Johnny Gaudreau of Boston College, senior goalie Eric Hartzell of Quinnipiac University and senior forward Drew LeBlanc of St. Cloud State University.
The winner will be announced on April 12 at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, home to the National Hockey League's Pittsburgh Penguins and host to the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four.
Gaudreau, who won a gold medal with the United States National Junior Team at the 2013 World Junior Championship in January, has posted back-to-back 21-goal seasons. The Carneys Point, N.J., native completed the 2012-13 campaign tied for fourth in the nation with 51 points in 35 games. His six game-winning goals were tied for second-highest in the nation. Gaudreau, who was selected in the fourth round (No. 104) of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Calgary Flames, led all players with seven goals at the WJC in Ufa, Russia.
Hartzell, of White Bear Lake, Mn., is a big reason Quinnipiac made their first trip to the NCAA Frozen Four this season. The club owns the top overall defense in the nation, yielding just 1.63 goals-per game. Hartzell is third in the nation with a 1.55 GAA and eighth with a .933 save percentage. He also has the second-highest winning percentage in the country with a 29-6-5 mark in 40 appearances this season. He was named the ECAC's Player of the Year and Goalie of the Year.
LeBlanc has certainly made up for lost time after sitting out 2011-12 with a broken leg. The two-year captain led the nation with 37 assists and was seventh with 50 points. He skated alongside two freshmen most of the season and was a key cog in leading the Huskies to their first Frozen Four appearance. He has 13 goals, including three power-play markers and three game winners in 41 matches.