Maine’s Spencer Abbott, Minnesota-Duluth’s Jack Connolly and Colgate’s Austin Smith are the members of the 2012 Hobey Hat Trick.

Those three senior forwards received the most points from a 23-person voting panel that selected their top five choices from a list of 10 finalists earlier this week.

The winner will be announced on Friday, April 6, at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla.

Earlier features: Abbott :: Connolly :: Smith

Abbott leads the nation in scoring with 62 points on 21 goals and 41 assists (also a nation-best). The Hockey East player of the year as well as a First Team all-star, Abbott was named player of the month twice while piling up 18 multiple-point games. He signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs last week.

UMD’s captain, Connolly is second in scoring nationally with 20 goals and 60 points. He never missed a game in his college career and was a Hobey Baker nominee last season. Connolly won the WCHA scoring title, was a First Team all-star for the third straight season and was also the conference player of the year.

Smith’s 36 goals lead the country in that department and he is third in overall scoring behind Abbott and Connolly with 57 points. Smith leads the nation with six shorthanded goals and won the ECAC scoring title this past season. He was named the conference player of the year and a First Team all-star.

The seven finalists that didn’t make the Hobey Hat Trick were Boston College junior defenseman Brian Dumoulin, Union sophomore goalie Troy Grosenick, Michigan senior goalie Shawn Hunwick, Air Force senior defenseman Tim Kirby, Michigan State junior defenseman Torey Krug, Wisconsin junior defenseman Justin Schultz and Miami junior forward Reilly Smith.

  • Bigolbrad

    Boringly predictable, the Hobey candidates rate 1, 2, 3 in the scoring race. Scoring the most points does not necessarily mean they are the best players in the land. If it did the Hobey winner would always flourish in the NHL. Besides the Award is supposed to reflect a number of other criteria.

    • Paulis77

      So – who would your nominees be then?

  • Leggs2

    ALL ten nominees and the three finalists certainly worthy.  My vote is for Smith.

    • HE Fan

      I find it nice that there is no clear winner this year. All three players had great years and I’m sure are great young men on and off the ice. My vote goes to Abbott simply because I’m a Maine fan but all three are deserving. IMHO Hobey can’t make a bad choice this year.

  • blackbear19

    Congrats to the Hobey Hat Trick threesome……I cant speak or let it be known about Connolly and Smith, but I do know besides just leading the country in scoring Abbott also has been a Deans list student all his 4 years at UMaine, since thats part of the criteria OTHER then just scoring.   I wasnt to surprised by these three being the finalists, and being from Maine, Im pulling for Abbott to win it but I have a feeling its going to be a close call between him and Connolly(since he was in the Hobby race last year).   Either way, I know and hope I can speak for us from Maine that were proud of you…..for all 4 yrs, putting Maine back on the map this year, and congrats to your pro deal in Toronto and wish you all the best!   We hope you bring back the Hobey to Maine!

    • MPLS Sioux

      To Connoly’s credit I believe he is very active in volunteering from what I’ve heard and a great guy off the ice

      • msoucy21

        After reading the profiles on each, it seems fair to make the assumption that all three were solid all around players and people, on and off of the ice. I’d venture a guess that this is why there is so much heated discussion from fans of each as to why their team’s player should win the award.

  • SaveMaineHockey

    I think if you go by how valuable a player is to his team, Abbott wins hands down.  Remove him, and this Maine team maybe wins 12-15 games this year.  He has carried this team on his back!

    • Scott Reed

      I guess thats why thats not the only criteria

    • collegehockeyfan

      I think you could say that about all 3 candidates…

  • Scott Reed

    Hobey Baker Award Criteria
    1. Candidates must exhibit strength of character both on and off the ice.   2. Candidates must contribute to the integrity of the team and display outstanding skills in all phases of the game.  3. Consideration should be given to scholastic achievement and sportmanship.   4. Candidates must comply with all NCAA rules: be full time students in an accredited NCAA college or university; and complete 50% or more of the season.Its not all about scoring!!!

    • msoucy21

      Agreed, it’s not all about scoring and I’ll use this as a jumping point to add that from what I have read of Smith off of the ice I think he is a very interesting and deserving candidate, and an extremel well rounded person. I noticed that Smith  hasn’t had much love on this thread, so this seemed like an ideal opportunity to drop his name.

  • Bbear94

    Maine had just one Abbott while UMD had plenty of other high-quality players, which is to be expected of the national champion team. On that basis, award goes to Spencer Abbott.

    • *facepalm* Maine also had TWO other players besides Abbott in the top 12 in scoring. Not to mention that Jack did not even play on a line with Brown or Oleksuk. Stupid comment.

      • msoucy21

        That’s not entirely true Mr. Delaney, as Connolly played with Brown and Oleksuk on the power play unit. If you review the box scores for the season, Brown and Oleksuk either assisted or scored on 21 of Connolly’s points this season. I’m not a math major, but according to my count, I’m pretty sure that means that 1/3 of Connolly’s points came with either Brown or Oleksuk — or both — on the ice with him.

        • I was wondering if you were a math major. I am glad we established that you were not, thanks.Yes and the other 2/3 did not. What I was trying to get it is that its not like Abbott had no one to work with. 

    • just the facts

      Would you repeat the part about Abbott playing on the top scoring line in Hockey East?  Did he have no support cast there?  So a team with one high-quality player in Abbott totally carried them to the NCAA playoffs… Does everyone buy that?  I don’t.  Connolly played most of the year with Seidel(17g 30pts) and Basaraba (16 pts) as his linemates.  Last year he was on that high-scoring FCC line you’re thinking about, just to clarify things a bit.  I’m sure all three players are great candidates for the award.

      • msoucy21

        All three are great candidates and all three are to be congratulated for amazing seasons on and off the ice, players that remain with their team for all four years and contribute to the college hockey scene are exactly what college hockey needs. Good luck to all of the candidates, including those who did not make the final three.

        To the point though, I agree that saying it was all Abbott certainly discredits what the entire team did. Maine had a goaltender step up and play large for stretches of the season for the first time in Abbott’s 4-year tenure in Orono, which greatly assisted their run to the NCAA’s. Flynn is a sound leader and playmaker that compliments Abbott’s style of play extremely well and the two clicked this season. If there were a most improved player award in the HEC, Matt Mangene break out season would have won it — Black Bear fans should not forget how Mangene more or less single-handedly beat BC in Orono earlier in the year. Though, I will add that it is no coincidence that Flynn and DIamond each had the highest scoring seasons of their careers the year that Abbott moves to the first line with them. Diamond’s numbers jumped from 21 points a season ago to 47 this year.
        Also, correct me if I’m wrong here, but from what I’ve seen Seidel isn’t anyone to scoff at in terms of skill, is he? I’m not saying he’s on the level of Brown or Oleksuk, but he looked really good from what I saw of him this season. And Connolly also put a large chunk — 1/3 — of his points up with Brown and Oleksuk on the ice with him as they worked the power play unit together.

        I guess my point is not to be argumentative for either Connolly of Abbott (to be honest their style of play seems eerily similar), but that it seems that too much stock is put into who each player played with considering it is an individual award that considers quite a few factors.

      • TRJ1998

        Maine fan here. Bbear94 does not get it. Please do not judge us on that comment.

    • Nyquist77

       Joey Diamond is not a quality player? The same Joey Diamond that led Hockey East in goals??

      Brian Flynn is not a quality player? Top 10 in points in the country and solid across the board.

      Not to mention Mangene, Anthoine, Will O’Neil& R.Haggerty!!

      I think Spencer Abbott deserves the Hobey but to say he was the only “quality” player makes me question what games you were watching?

  • Siouxper

    I feel bad for Justin Schultz.  Team didn’t make post season and wouldn’t have won much of anything without him and Zengerle.  (This coming from a die hard Sioux fan.)  Hobey loves goals and points.  If Shultz was a forward he might have lead the country in both categories.  Instead he’s an absolute stud on the blue line.  Good luck to him and thank god we don’t have to play against him another year.

    • msoucy21

      Seems that those who are willing to focus on the defensive end first don’t get the credit they deserve most of the time, which is too damn bad because they are usually the players that get all of the small things done to help their team win and are also usually the quietest about it.

  • Siouxper

    Oh, and congrats to the three finalists.  All great college hockey players.

  • Guest 64

    I must say that while Smith and Abbott seem to be quality men, they can hold the door for Mr. Connolly.  Mr. Connolly stepped in on day 1 and performed like a Hobey Baker candidate.  He is a quality student, incredible in the community and a beast on both ends of the ice.  There is a lot of pressure to play in one’s home state let alone your hometown.  He is a class act and top-end producer.  He played in every single game that he could as a player and as put up MVP type numbers.  There is no doubt who the winner will be and that is Jack Connolly.  The cool thing is that Jack will be the 5th BULLDOG to win the award. 

    • MJ

      You have to remember that the award is based on single season performance. If Connoly had lead UMD to the FF I might see a advantage to him, but I’d go with Abbot for this year.

      • Guest 64

        Unfortunately for Abbott, Connolly outplayed him last Saturday night.  Connolly left little doubt who will win…..

        • Mallow

          Connolly was lucky he didn’t get the gate for that board on Shemansky…

        • 18secondsbeforesunrise


          • Guest 64

            very, very little doubt

  • Sockbes

    I agree with all three with Abbott most like Hobey..

  • Smith for Hobey

    I really think people should look into the way each impacted the game (full disclosure, I attended almost every Colgate home game this season).  There were a number of times where Smith single handily ended an opponent powerplay.  His shorthanded pressure caused no less than 6-7 penalties to end a powerplay.  Include his six shorthanded goals and he dominated special teams. 

    This is not a recorded stat but cannot be overlooked.  Vote for Smith 

  • SIOUXFAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Jack Connolly deserves the Hobey. He’s worked so hard year in and year out. Every year he puts himself up there.   yours truly mr. north dakota

    • woodysway

      So you’re saying the other two DON’T deserve the Hobey.

  • perrobark

    With none of their teams in the Frozen Four, I’m pulling for Smith. However, I think it will likely go to Connolly or Abbott. Probably Connolly.

  • Hewm12

    having only seen one of these players play (smith) i can’t exactly make a fair prediction..but from everything that i have read and heard through other people, connolly is the classiest guy on and off of the ice, so to me he deserves the hobey

  • Stack

    Best player in college hockey this year was Justin Schultz from Wisconsin. Should be in the Hat Trick and should have won it all. 
    Hey and I’m not even a Wisconsin fan

  • IknowJack

    Jack will win…BTW he’s home right now polishing the NCAA Championship trophy… what are the other guys polishing?  Haha  Not bad for a Friday

  • Bartneally

    Abbott all the way. Led the nation on a good team in the toughest league. What is it all about anyway?

  • Hockey Fan

    food for thought… you guys talk about how difficult some leagues are and etc. well here is some statistics out of the 5 best defensive teams in the country colgate played 3 of them on multiple occasions. Maine played 1 team and Minnesota-Duluth played 1 game and were shut out 4-0 by BC. Out of the top 10 defensive teams in the country Colgate played 5 teams, Maine played 2 teams, Minesota-Duluth played 2 teams. I hear a lot of talk about still competition but when a guy scored double the amount of goals than any of his competitors against much more stingy defensive opponents it really says something.

    • hockey fan

      Stiff competition*

      P.S. If you keep going down the list it doesn’t get any better for Maine or Minnesota-Duluth

  • K

    Hobey Baker Memorial Award Criteria

    Candidates must exhibit strength of character both on and off the ice.  Candidates must contribute to the integrity of the team and display outstanding skills in all phases of the game. Consideration should be given to scholastic achievement and sportmanship.  Candidates must comply with all NCAA rules: be full time
    students in an accredited NCAA college or university; and complete 50%
    or more of the season.

    read… so low-grade commentators may understand how one is selected