Adam Gaudette, the only player of the three Hobey Baker Award Hat Trick finalists who could attend the awards presentation, walked away Friday with the honor given the top player in college hockey.
Gaudette, a junior forward at Northeastern, was named winner of the Hobey Baker Award, beating out two other players who have signed with NHL teams, Denver forward Henrik Borgstrom and Harvard forward Ryan Donato. Gaudette, who has played in four games for the Vancouver Canucks, had a break in his schedule that enabled him to attend the ceremony at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, while Borgstrom, now with the Florida Panthers, and Donato, with the Boston Bruins, couldn't make it.
"It's something very special,'' said Gaudette, whose 30 goals and 60 points led the nation. "I've had a lot of special moments having to do with hockey, and I can't figure out which one is the top.''
Gaudette led the Huskies to a 23-10-5 record and an NCAA tournament appearance. But what might have been more important to him was the Huskies winning the Beanpot Tournament for the first time in 30 years.
"It was an unbelievable thing for our program, our team and our school,'' he said. "To finally get that win after 30 years is something kind of out of a storybook.''
Borgstrom led the NCHC in scoring with 23 goals and 29 assists for 52 points. Donato scored 26 goals and had 17 assists in only 29 games for Harvard. He also played for Team USA at the Winter Olympics and led the team in scoring with five goals and an assist.
Notre Dame sophomore Cale Morris won the Mike Richter Award, given to college hockey's top goalie.
Morris, of Larkspur, Colo., is 27-7-1 with a 1.94 goals-against average and nation's-best .944 save percentage.
The other finalists: Cornell's Matthew Galajda (21-5-2, 1.51, .939), Denver's Tanner Jaillet (22-9-7, 1.88, .928), Colgate's Colton Point (16-12-5, 1.74, .944) and Northeastern's Cayden Primeau (19-8-5, 1.92, .931).
Three players from Minnesota teams were named first-team West All-Americas by the American College Hockey Coaches Association. Minnesota Duluth freshman defenseman Scott Perunovich of Hibbing, St. Cloud State junior defenseman Jimmy Schuldt of Minnetonka and Minnesota State Mankato forward C.J. Suess of Forest Lake made the first team.
Joining them were Notre Dame's Morris and Denver forwards Borgstrom and Troy Terry.
The East first team had forwards Gaudette, Donato and Northeastern's Dylan Sikura; defensemen Adam Fox of Harvard and Jeremy Davies of Northeastern; and goalie Galajda.
Michigan vs. Minnesota
With Notre Dame's move from Hockey East to the Big Ten, coach Jeff Jackson said Michigan has become a prime recruiting area for his team.
He also recruits heavily in Minnesota as evidenced in the five Minnesotans on his roster.
To Jackson, there are differences in players from each of those states.
"The kids from Michigan are a little different than Minnesotans,'' said Jackson, a Roseville, Mich., native.
"I've always liked the Michigan kids because they seem to have that little bit of grit to their game, and they're confident internally and it shows in the way they play their game.''
Jackson was asked to expand on the differences.
"The one thing about Minnesotans as far as hockey goes is that, first of all, it's the epitome of family in this state,'' he said. "They come from good families.
"And generally, with good families there's ties to religion, which obviously [Notre Dame] being a Catholic school ties into it. And the other thing that comes generally with solid families is good academics, which also ties into Notre Dame.
"So, it's easier for us to go into Minnesota and recruit these kids,'' he added. "And when you're talking about that, you're talking about character.''
Jackson pointed to a couple of former Edina standouts, Anders Lee and Steven Fogarty.
"Great captains for us. They've been the epitome of character,'' Jackson said. "And you never have to worry about them in school. You never have to worry about them off the ice socially.
"They're just solid citizens, and Minnesota does the best job in the country of developing young players.''