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College Hockey: Hobey Baker Award Announces Three Finalists; UMD's Jack Connolly Among Them

After being whittled down from 30 to 10 a couple weeks ago, there are now only three left in the race for college hockey's best player.

The Hobey Baker Award, which is given out to the best player in college hockey, announced Thursday the three finalists in the Hobey Hat Trick and includes Minnesota Duluth's Jack Connolly. The other two finalists are Maine's Spencer Abbott and Colgate's Austin Smith.

Connolly, a Duluth native, was named the WCHA Player of the Year after being second in the nation with 60 points (20 goals - 40 assists) in 41 games for the Bulldogs. He finds himself as the lone Western representative with Wisconsin's Justin Schultz not among the finalists. However, the senior's college career ended Sunday after UMD lost 4-0 to Boston College in the Northeast Region final.

Before that Minnesota Duluth defeated Spencer Abbott's Maine team in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Abbott, the Black Bears assistant captain, was named Hockey East Player of the Year after leading the nation with 62 points (21 goals - 41 assists) in 39 games. He signed a free agent contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs yesterday after the end of his senior season.

Austin Smith, a fifth-round pick of the Dallas Stars, led the nation with 36 goals - six more than the next closest player - en route to being named ECAC Player of the Year for Colgate.

The 32nd annual winner will be announced April 6th at 5:00 p.m. CT live on NHL Network.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.