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Michigan linemates make Hobey Baker history

Compher, Connor, Motte among 10 finalists for college hockey's best player

NHL.com @NHL

University of Michigan forwards JT Compher, Kyle Connor and Tyler Motte became the first linemates in history to be named among the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award on Wednesday.

The top three finalists for the 2016 Hobey Baker Award will be named March 31, and the winner announced April 8 at the Tampa Theatre in Florida during the NCAA Frozen Four.

The 10 finalists were selected by voting from all 60 Division I college hockey coaches and via online fan balloting. 

Harvard University senior forward Jimmy Vesey, also among the 2016 finalists, was a top-three finalist last year. Other finalists include forwards Zac Lynch (Robert Morris University), Alex Petan (Michigan Tech University), and Andrew Poturalski (University of New Hampshire); defenseman Ethan Prow (St. Cloud State University); and goaltenders Thatcher Demko (Boston College) and Alex Lyon (Yale University).

Boston University center Jack Eichel, who was selected No. 2 by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2015 NHL Draft, won the 2015 Hobey Baker Award. He was the first freshman to win it since University of Maine forward Paul Kariya in 1993. 

Here's a closer look at the 10 finalists:

JT Compher, F, University of Michigan: The junior has 13 goals and 52 points, and leads the nation with 39 assists. A second-round pick (No. 35) in the 2013 draft by the Sabres, Compher has 16 multipoint games and his plus-35 rating is tied for second in the country.

Kyle Connor, F, University of Michigan: A first-round pick (No. 17) in the 2015 draft by the Winnipeg Jets, Connor leads the nation with 30 goals and 61 points in 34 games. He has 17 multipoint games and currently has a 23-game point streak. He was named Big 10 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year.

Tyler Motte, F, University of Michigan: The junior, a fourth-round pick (No. 121) in the 2013 draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, is second in the nation with 29 goals and fifth with 50 points in 34 games. 

Jimmy Vesey, F, Harvard University: The two-time Ivy League Player of the Year has 23 goals and 44 points in 30 games for the Crimson. He is a finalist for ECAC Player of the Year and the Walter Brown Award as the best American-born player in New England, awards he won last year. Vesey, a third-round pick (No. 66) in the 2012 draft by the Nashville Predators, is the only repeat finalist from 2015.

Thatcher Demko, G, Boston College: The San Diego, Calif., native leads the nation with 10 shutouts. His .938 save percentage is tied for first in the country and his 1.78 goals-against average ranks third. A second-round pick (No. 36) in the 2014 draft by the Vancouver Canucks, Demko is 25-6-4 this season for the Eagles.

Zac Lynch, F, Robert Morris University: Lynch, a senior, was the Atlantic Hockey scoring champion and earned First Team all-conference after scoring 24 goals and 52 points in 37 games. He scored in 34 of 37 games for Robert Morris and had eight shorthanded goals.

Alex Lyon, G, Yale University: The junior is 19-7-4 with four shutouts for the Bulldogs. Lyon is second in the nation with a 1.59 GAA and is tied with Demko for first in the country with a .938 save percentage. He was named First Team All-Ivy League, and is a finalist for ECAC Goalie of the Year and Player of the Year. Lyon has a school record 50 career wins.

Alex Petan, F, Michigan Tech University: Petan, of Delta, British Columbia, is the only Canadian-born finalist for the Hobey Baker. The Michigan Tech captain, who was named WCHA Player of the Year, has 18 goals and 33 points in 36 games.

Andrew Poturalski, F, University of New Hampshire: Signed to a two-year entry-level contract by the Carolina Hurricanes on March 8, the sophomore finished the season with 22 goals and 52 points in 37 games. He had eight power-play goals and ranked seventh in the nation with 30 assists. Poturalski led the nation with 24 points on the power play.

Ethan Prow, D, St. Cloud State University: The only defenseman to be named a Hobey finalist, Prow had eight goals, 35 points and a plus-29 rating in 34 games. The senior, also a finalist for the NCHC Player of the Year, led all defensemen in the nation in points and assists (27).

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