For the first time in nearly 15 years, a pair of teammates were named Hobey Baker Memorial Award Hat Trick Finalists as Minnesota men’s hockey forwards Logan Cooley and Matthew Knies reached the final three it was announced Thursday by the 30-member selection committee.
It’s just the third time since the selection process moved to this format where two of the three finalists are from the same team (2005-Colorado College, 2009-Boston Univ.) with Cooley and Knies part of the highest-scoring line in the nation during the 2022-23 campaign.
Cooley’s prolific playmaking abilities have helped the freshman to a team-best 57 points, which ranks second nationally and fifth in single-season program history for a first-year player. He also leads all NCAA players with 37 assists and a +37 rating. He was named to the All-Big Ten First Team and All-Big Ten Freshman Team in the regular season and his production has not slowed down during the postseason. Thanks to nine points in four games, Cooley landed on both the B1G All-Tournament Team and the NCAA Fargo Regional All-Tournament Team.
The Pittsburgh, Pa., native has recorded at least one point in 31 of 37 games played, with multi-point efforts in 18 contests, and only once has he played back-to-back games without scoring a point. Cooley has pushed his season-long point streak to 15 games, the longest active streak in the country, totaling 30 points in that span. He has registered six game-winning goals, ranking third nationally, and all have come in his last 24 games played.
Knies dazzles on the ice with his exceptional blend of size and speed and was named the 2022-23 Big Ten Conference Player of the Year and an All-Big Ten First Team honoree. He remains the nation’s leader with seven game-winning goals, three of which have come in overtime, and is the only player in Gophers’ history with three overtime goals in one season. The Phoenix, Ariz., product paces the Maroon and Gold with 21 goals, scoring in 19 of 38 games played, leading the team to a 17-2-0 record in games where he finds the back of the net.
The sophomore thrives in all aspects of the game and is a threat to score on both the man advantage and when shorthanded. Knies has tallied six power-play goals and has Minnesota’s only two shorthanded goals of the season, one of only four NCAA players to perform that feat. He has scored in back-to-back games seven times this season, including a pair of three-game goal scoring streaks, and totaled 41 points and a +29 rating.
Minnesota is one of just three NCAA teams to have at least four Hobey Baker Memorial Award winners in program history as Jordan Leopold (2002), Brian Bonin (1996), Robb Stauber (1988) and Neal Broten (1981) all earned the prestigious honor as a Gopher. Ben Meyers was a finalist for the award a season ago, while Steve Ulseth (1981) and Robb Stauber (1989) also were named finalists with the Maroon and Gold.
A 30-member selection committee made up of coaches, supervisors of officials, media, and NHL scouts, along with a round of fan balloting determined this year’s Hobey Baker winner, which will be announced April 7 live on the NHL Network and streamed on the Hobey Baker website at 5:00 p.m.
Criteria for the award are displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.
Adam Fantilli, a freshman forward from the University of Michigan, is the third finalist.
(info courtesy of Gopher Sports)