Stars prospect and Dallas native Austin Smith, who led the nation in goals with 36 in his senior year at Colgate, was today named as a top-three finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, which is given to the nation’s top player in college hockey. He is joined by Minnesota-Duluth senior Jack Connolly and Maine’s Spencer Abbott as top-three finalists.
Signed to an entry-level contract earlier this month by the Dallas Stars, Smith currently plays for the Texas Stars, Dallas’ primary development affiliate in the American Hockey League. He has appeared in three games, going scoreless in his professional debut.
"On behalf of the Dallas Stars, we would like to congratulate Austin on being named as a Hobey Baker Award finalist," said Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk. "He had a fantastic senior season and overall college career. We are excited about his future with our organization and will watch his development with great interest."
Smith has racked up the awards this season as he was named ECAC Hockey Player of the Year and was a first team All-ECAC Hockey selection. This past week, Smith was named Player of the Year by College Hockey News, as well as to the publication’s First Team, joining the other top-three finalists. He was a two-time ECAC Hockey/Fischer Hockey Player of the Month and a two-time player of the week. Smith also helped Colgate achieve their highest national ranking since 2000 as the Raiders reached No. 7 in the country during its seven-game unbeaten streak in late 2011.
Smith enjoyed a stellar senior campaign, ranking first nationally in goals with 36 and third in points with 57. The Dallas native collected points in all but five games in 2011-12 and had goals in 24 of Colgate’s 39 contests. In 10 of the 19 wins by the Raiders this season, he had the game-winner or assisted on the winner.
The senior forward was the first 30-goal scorer in ECAC Hockey since 2001. He registered 16 multi-point games and nine of those were multi-goal games. Smith recorded a +25 ranking overall. His six shorthanded goals overall also leads the nation. He has posted seven power-play goals, five game-winners and two game-tying goals on the season. Smith became only the 10th player in school history to reach 75 goals and 75 assists in a career.
Connolly is second in the nation in points (60) on 20 goals and 40 assists. The senior captain for Minnesota-Duluth led the team to the national title last season and got UMD into the regional final this season. Abbott leads the nation in points with 62. He netted 21 goals and added 41 assists. He leads the nation in points-per-game with over 1.5 points-per-contest. He helped the University of Maine to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007.
The announcement of the Hobey Baker Award winner will take place on April 6 at the Davis Conference Center at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., with the ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. (EDT).