The 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, presented to the top player in Division I college hockey, will be announced at 6:35 p.m. Thursday.
They were chosen by the 58 Division I head coaches, who submitted their votes on the top three players in their conference and in the nation, and by fan balloting.
Fans cast 113,660 votes and the front-runners -- the first phase of voting ended March 4 -- were Maine forward Spencer Abbott with 24,587 votes and UMD forward Jack Connolly with 24,394. A distant third was Colgate forward Austin Smith with 11,851.
The three Gophers on the ballot were forward Nick Bjugstad (1,284), goalie Kent Patterson (626) and forward Kyle Rau (231). To look at who else was on the ballot, go here.
Connolly was named the WCHA's player of the year last week. Connolly, Bjugstad and Patterson were all named to the all-WCHA first team, Rau to the conference's all-rookie team
A 23-member selection committee and the second phase of fan balloting will pick a final three, the Hobey Hat Trick, on March 29 and the winner will be named April 6 during the Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla.
FOUR MINNESOTANS HONORED
Defenseman Mike Reilly of Chanhassen and forward Joey Benik of St. Francis were both named to the all-Interior Conference first team in the British Columbia Hockey League. Both play for the Penticton Vees, the conference champions.
Reilly's older brother Connor, a Vees forward, was named to the all-Interior second team as was another Vees player, Mario Lucia, the son of Gophers coach Don Lucia.
Both Reillys will play for the Gophers next season, Benik for St. Cloud State and Mario Lucia for Notre Dame.
Mike Reilly and Lucia also were named to the all-Interior rookie team. BCHL coaches and executives picked the teams.
FOR SCSU FANDOM
Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub will be the “official” gathering location for St. Cloud State's Center Ice Club, alumni and fans at the WCHA Final Five.
The CIC's formal pre-game gathering times at Tom Reid's:
Thursday: 3:30 to 6:00 PM before North Dakota game
Friday: 3:30 to 6:00 PM before Gophers game if Huskies win Thursday
Saturday: 3:30 to 6:00 PM before championship game if Huskies are playing
Tom Reid’s is at 258 W. 7th St.