Minnesota State Mankato goalie Dryden McKay, North Dakota forward Shane Pinto and Wisconsin forward Cole Caufield on Thursday were named the Hat Trick finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top player in NCAA Division I men's hockey. The winner will be announced 5 p.m. April 9 on NHL Network during Frozen Four weekend in Pittsburgh.
McKay, a junior from Downers Grove, Ill., is a top 10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award and a finalist for the Mike Richter Award (nation's top goalie) for the second consecutive year. He led the Mavericks to their first Frozen Four berth with a 4-0 shutout of the Gophers in the NCAA West Regional final on Sunday. The WCHA player of the year is 21-3 this season with a 1.39 goals-against average (second in the nation), a .931 save percentage (tied for sixth) and a nation's-best 10 shutouts. His 24 career shutouts are second in NCAA history, trailing only the 26 by Michigan State's Ryan Miller, the 2001 Hobey Baker Award winner.
Pinto, a sophomore from Franklin Square, N.Y., led North Dakota to the NCHC regular-season and playoff titles. The two-way forward had 15 goals and 17 assists this season, tied for seventh nationally in goals and ninth in points. He won 61.9% percent of his faceoffs, ranking fifth in the nation, and was in the top five in both power-play goals (seven) and points (14). Pinto was named the NCHC's player of the year, forward of the year and defensive forward of the year.
Caufield, a sophomore from Stevens Point, Wis., led Wisconsin to the Big Ten regular-season title while pacing the nation with 30 goals and 52 points in 31 games. The Big Ten player of the year came on strong down the stretch, posting 15 multiple-point games in the final 18 contests. He also led the nation with 11 power-play goals and 24 power-play points. A first-round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens, Caufield signed a pro contract after the Badgers were eliminated from the NCAA tournament.
The three finalists were selected from an initial list of 10 candidates by the 30-member Selection Committee and an additional round of online fan balloting to determine the winner. Criteria for the award includes: displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, and sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.