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Gerbe, Jones, Porter finalists for Hobey Baker

by Bob Snow

Boston College forward Nate Gerbe scored 60 points in 41 games to qualify for the annual Hobey Baker award for the top college player. 
College hockey's final four teams -- Boston College and North Dakota, and Michigan and Notre Dame -- square off today in the Frozen Four semifinal games at Denver's Pepsi Arena.

The winners meet Saturday night for the national championship.

Sandwiched between those games is the selection of the Hobey Baker Award winner, given annually to the nation’s best college player, and named after the Princeton icon who died while serving as a fighter pilot in World War I.

The announcement comes Friday at 7:30 p.m. from the Pepsi Center.

The 2008 finalists are junior Nathan Gerbe from Boston College in Hockey East; and two seniors from the CCHA: Miami's Ryan Jones and Michigan's Kevin Porter.

The three were selected from the initial list of 10 candidates by the 25-member selection committee and an additional round of online fan balloting. Criteria for the award include strength of character on and off the ice, displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, sportsmanship, and scholastic achievements.

Here's a summary of each player's credentials:

Nathan Gerbe helped lead the Eagles to a third-straight NCAA Frozen Four. Cut from BC alum Brian Gionta's mold, the 5-foot-5, 165-pound Gerbe brings a high-octane game that has produced 30 goals and 30 assists in 41 games, putting him second to Porter in scoring, and third in total goals.

Gerbe has 12 points in six postseason games thus far; he has already been named First Team Hockey East, the Hockey East playoff MVP, the Dodge Holiday Classic MVP, and was the Hockey Commissioners December National Player of the Month when he had 16 points in just four games to pull BC back into the national title picture at midseason.

The Oxford Hills, Mich., native, and Buffalo Sabres' draft pick, is a communications major. He volunteers at the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston, serves food at homeless shelters, and donates time to a variety of YMCA events.

Ryan Jones captained the RedHawks to a school-record 33 wins. Jones, the team’s third-year captain, earned all-conference honors for the third year running when he was named to the CCHA First Team after finishing third in league scoring. He is tied for second in the country in goal scoring with 31 goals in 42 games, and added 18 assists.

In four years, he never missed a game and finished his career as the second all-time goal scorer in RedHawks history. Miami lost to Boston College, 4-3, in OT, last weekend at the NCAA Northeast Regional; Jones scored the tying goal to knot the game at 3-3.

Miami Redhawks captain Ryan Jones scored 31
goals and 49 total points in 42 games this year.
This week, the sports studies major from Chatham, Ontario, signed a pro contract with the Wild.

Recognized throughout the season by his signature long hair, Jones will donate his locks to an organization that provides wigs to young cancer patients, to fulfill a promise he made to a 13-year-old girl undergoing treatment.

Kevin Porter led Michigan to its 23rd Frozen Four, a Division I record. He is the nation's scoring leader in points and goals with 33 goals, 29 assists for 62 points in 42 games. Porter is also second in the nation with 15 power-play goals and is a plus-33.

The CCHA Player of the Year was also a finalist for the league's Best Defensive Forward. Porter was First Team CCHA, and was named the Hockey Commissioners January National Player of the Month. Last weekend at the East Regional, Porter had an NCAA record four goals in the Wolverines' 5-1 win against Niagara in the semifinal; and a goal and an assist in the 2-0 final-game shutout of Clarkson.

From Northville, Mich., Porter is a draft pick of Phoenix. A general studies major, he spends time visiting the Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor and volunteers for various Make-A-Wish Foundation activities.

On Campus Clips --
National statistical leaders entering the Frozen Four in addition to Kevin Porter's 33 goals are: BC freshman Joe Whitney with 40 assists; RIT senior Matt Smith with 17 power-play goals; Colorado College junior Chad Rau has six shorthanded goals; North Dakota senior Jean Philippe-Lamoureux with a 1.64 GAA and a .936 save percentage; BC freshman John Muse played every game for BC, amassing 2,605 minutes in goal; Denver senior Peter Mannino had six shutouts. Top 10

1)    Michigan  (33-5-4)
2)    North Dakota  (28-10-4)
3)    Boston College  (23-11-8)
4)    Notre Dame  (26-15-4)
5)    Miami (33-8-1)
6)    Michigan State (25-12-5)
7)    Wisconsin (16-16-7)
8)    Denver  (26-14-1)
9)    Clarkson  (22-13-4)
10)   Colorado College (28-12-1)

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