CBSSports.com Hobey Baker Award Watch: Week 14

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

Every week this season, Eye on Hockey will be tracking the best players in college hockey as they compete for the ultimate individual prize, the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

The Hobey Baker Watch is a collaboration between Eye on Hockey blogger Chris Peters and CBS Sports Network Hockey Analyst Dave Starman.

With the Hobey field crowding up at this later stage of the season, we decided to change things up a bit with who we highlight. The top two will remain the front-runners for the award, while we spend more time in the bottom two areas highlighting legitimate candidates who maybe don't get the pub they deserve.

This week, Johnny Gaudreau stayed in the top spot with Hockey East rival Kevin Goumas coming in second. You might be curious as to why Minnesota, the nation's top team, doesn't have anyone in the top four right now. Blame that on the Gophers' tremendous depth. There's no true standout on a team that by the week looks tougher and tougher, though Erik Haula did make our Others to Watch list this week.

In the bottom two spots this week, we take a look at a pair of the masked men really making an impact in college hockey. Eric Hartzell of Quinnipiac and Carsen Chubak of Niagara play for a pair of teams that don't often resonate with the national sports fan, but the pair has been outstanding and putting up incredible numbers.

Among the others to watch, the North Dakota duo of Corban Knight and Danny Kristo continues to impress, while Ryan Walters and Drew LeBlanc are in a hot race for the national scoring lead. All five players in the “Others to Watch” section come from the WCHA, which has been an awfully tough league to predict this year.

1. Johnny Gaudreau -- Boston College
Position: Forward
Class: Sophomore

Comment:
A five-assist weekend keeps Gaudreau in the top spot this week as the BC sophomore continues to dazzle in the offensive zone. Johnny Hockey now has 31 points in 18 games and extended his national lead with 1.72 points-per game. The Eagles have stumbled a little bit of late, but Gaudreau's offense hasn't tailed off a bit. He is as exciting a player as we've seen in college hockey over the last decade.
2. Kevin Goumas -- New Hampshire
Position: Forward
Class: Junior

Comment: With a goal and assist against Providence, Goumas hit the 30-point mark, but it wasn't enough for UNH to top the Friars. Goumas continues to be a consistent offensive producer for the Wildcats however. His importance to the team cannot be understated, especially as it gets to this crucial point in the season. While the pieces around him have struggled in recent weeks, Goumas has been able to keep his production up.
3. Eric Hartzell -- Quinnipiac
Position: Goalie
Class: Senior

Comment: The feel-good story of the year has been Quinnipiac. Currently on a 17-game unbeaten streak, the Bobcats' No. 1 goalie deserves a lot of credit for helping the team gain national attention. Hartzell hasn't lost a start since Oct. 27. Meanwhile, he's put up some eye-popping numbers. Hartzell's .934 save percentage and 1.46 goals-against average ranks second among goalies logging big minutes. QU hasn't been blowing out opponents either, so good goaltending is a big reason they've been so tough to beat this year.
4. Carsen Chubak -- Niagara
Position: Goalie
Class: Junior

Comment: Chubak's numbers are better than Hartzell's, but he'll get the downgrade due to playing in Atlantic Hockey. That said, he leads the nation (among primary starters) with a .948 save percentage and five shutouts. He has a 1.58 goals-against average as well. The big thing about Chubak is that he usually sees a lot of shots and has only really had one clunker of a game (last Friday against Holy Cross). Niagara is on the fast track to the postseason with a 14-4-4 record, including 13-1-1 mark in conference. That will be a big boost to Chubak's still marginal chances.

Others to Watch:

Corban Knight: F, Sr. -- North Dakota

Ryan Walters: F, Jr. -- Nebraska Omaha

Danny Kristo: F, Sr. -- North Dakota

Drew LeBlanc: F, Sr. -- St. Cloud State

Erik Haula: F, Jr. -- Minnesota

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @chrismpeters on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

 
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