Jason Gonzalez has covered an array of sports at all levels over the last nine years. He learned ice hockey, however, long before — during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah (his hometown). He got a close up look of legendary Gophers alum Herb Brooks and other Minnesota hockey greats. Jason has been with the Star Tribune since 2012.
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Adam Wilcox has joined another list of finalists. The Gophers sophomore goaltender was selected one of the final 10 candidates for the Hobey Baker Award on Thursday morning.
The award recognizes the nation’s top college hockey player.
On Wednesday Wilcox was announced a finalist for the inaugural Mike Richter Award honoring the nation’s top goaltender. On Monday he was selected as the Big Ten Player of the Year and Goaltender of the Year.
Wilcox leads the Big Ten and ranks third nationally with 23 wins, a 1.91 goals-against average, and a .934 save percentage. He’s won two straight regular-season titles in the net and is on pace to set a Minnesota single-season record for save percentage. He has a career 48-12-11 record and six shutouts.
St. Cloud State’s senior forward Nic Dowd is also a Hobey Baker finalist. He has 39 points (21 goals, 18 assists) in 36 games. His 10 power-play goals are tied for fifth in the nation.
Joel Rumpel (Wisconsin), Josh Archibald (Nebraska-Omaha), Greg Carey (St. Lawrence), Ryan Dzingel (Ohio State), Johnny Gaudreau (Boston College), Shayne Gostisbehere (Union), Kevin Hayes (Boston College), CJ Motte (Ferris State) are the other finalists.
The group was selected by voting from the 59 Division 1 college hockey head coaches and online fan voting. The final three will be announced on April 2 and selected by a 27-member selection committee and another round of online fan voting.
The winner will be announced on April 11 during the Frozen Four in Philadelphia.
Breaking down your 10 finalists (courtesy Hobey Baker):
Adam Wilcox – University of Minnesota, Sophomore, Goalie, South St. Paul, Minnesota
Numerous honors have already been awarded to Wilcox including Big Ten Player of the Year, Goalie of the Year and First Team all-conference. Presently sitting third in the nation in goals against average and second in save percentage, he has been instrumental in the Gophers 16-week stay atop the national rankings. In 25 of 33 games played, he allowed two goals or less.
Josh Archibald – University of Nebraska-Omaha, Junior, Forward, Brainerd, Minnesota
A dangerous offensive threat, Archibald becomes the first ever scoring champion of the new NCHC recording 32 points in 24 conference games. Heading into conference championships, he is second in the nation in goal scoring (29) in 37 games. Named First Team all-conference, he’s a finalist for the circuit’s Player of the Year and Forward of the Year.
Greg Carey – St. Lawrence University, Senior, Forward, Hamilton, Ontario
A repeat Hobey Baker top ten finalist, Carey led the nation in goals last year, and this year he leads in assists (39) and power play points (31). Has led the Saints in scoring for four straight years and repeats as scoring champion in the ECAC. His 57 points has him sitting second in the nation. A finalist this year for ECAC Player of the Year and Student-Athlete of the Year.
Nic Dowd – St. Cloud State University, Senior, Forward, Huntsville, Alabama
Renowned as a solid two-way player, Dowd was a big part of St. Cloud State clinching the first ever NCHC regular season title. Already honored as First Team all-conference, Dowd, captain of the Huskies and tied for the team lead in points, is a finalist for four other league awards: Player of the Year, Forward of the Year, Defensive Forward of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Ryan Dzingel – Ohio State University, Junior, Forward, Wheaton, Illinois
Led the new Big Ten conference in points with 24 in 20 games; overall, he leads the conference in points, tied for the lead in goals and is second in assists. Among the many offensive categories he tops the circuit in, are power play points with 18. A First Team all-conference performer, Dzingel can dangle with the best of them and had 12 multiple point games.
Johnny Gaudreau – Boston College, Junior, Forward, Carneys Point, New Jersey
Gaudreau was a Hobey hat trick finalist last year and returns as a top ten finalist. He tops the nation in points and goals averaging almost two points per game with 69 points – the most of any Division I player in three years. The Hockey East scoring champion is a finalist for the conference Player of the Year award and has recorded points in all but two games this year including tieing a Hockey East record with a 31-game point streak (Paul Kariya-Maine).
Shayne Gostisbehere – Union College, Junior, Defense, Margate, Florida
(Pronounced GOSS-tiss-bear) The smooth, puck-handling defenseman helped Union to the ECAC regular season title and topped all college hockey players in the Hobey Baker fan ballot. An assistant captain, Gostisbehere ranked eighth in the nation in points by a defenseman (28) and topped the Dutchmen in shots on goal. He’s a finalist for the ECAC Best Defensive Defenseman.
Kevin Hayes – Boston College, Senior, Forward, Dorchester, Massachusetts
A linemate of Gaudreau, Hayes is third in the nation in points and has tripled his goal output from the previous season. His plus-minus of +26 is tied for third in the nation as he continues to average one and a half points per game. Hayes collected points in 12 straight outings mid-season, and was named the MVP of the historic Beanpot Tournament.
CJ Motte – Ferris State University, Junior, Goalie, St. Clair, Michigan
The newly remodeled WCHA found Ferris atop the league thanks to Motte and his nation leading 26 wins. Ferris was ranked in the top five in the country for 15 weeks, propelled by a 16-game unbeaten streak and Motte didn’t lose a game in the first half of the season. A First Team all-conference selection, Motte has helped Ferris to two regular season titles in three years.
Joel Rumpel – University of Wisconsin, Junior, Goalie, Swift Current, Saskatchewan
Coming back from an early season injury, Rumpel turned the Badgers into Big Ten contenders and heads into conference playoffs ranking sixth in the nation in both goals against average and save percentage. Second Team all-conference in the Big Ten, he defined consistency throughout the season becoming the backbone of Wisconsin’s stingy team defense.