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CBSSports.com Hobey Baker Award Watch: Week 19

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.

As the regular-season winds down over the next two weeks, the Hobey Baker race is still wide open. It's been a terrific season with no shortage of incredible individual performances.

Greg Carey returns to the Hobey Watch this week as he took sole possession of the national scoring lead. Danny Kristo is back as well. He's been on a goal-scoring tear of late for North Dakota.

The top two are the same as last week, however. Ryan Walters of Nebraska-Omaha seems to be the favorite right now, while Johnny Gaudreau is somewhat trending down, but not out.

These last two weeks will decide regular-season championships, conference playoff seeding and could play a significant role in national tournament seeding as well. This is the prime time for Hobey candidates to establish themselves and bring out those performances that will be fresh in the voters' minds. It's going to be an absolutely wild finish in the standings and perhaps even wilder in the hunt for college hockey's top individual award.

1. Ryan Walters -- Nebraska-Omaha
Position: Forward
Class: Junior

Comment: Nebraska-Omaha was idle last weekend save for an exhibition against the U.S. National Under-18 Team, which the Mavericks lost. Regardless of that result, Walters is now two points behind Greg Carey for the national point lead, but has plenty of time to retake the lead. A big home series against Wisconsin and one more on the road at Minnesota Duluth sets a sizable stage for Walters to further his case for the Hobey Baker.
2. Johnny Gaudreau -- Boston College
Position: Forward
Class: Sophomore

Comment:
With just one point in his last four games, Gaudreau's Hobey stock is starting to take a hit as his drop in production has mirrored BC's sluggish second half. He's still the leading scorer on one of the nation's top teams with 37 points in 27 games, but these next two weeks could prove crucial for Gaudreau's candidacy. With BC deadlocked in a four-way tie for first place in Hockey East, a gigantic series against Providence this weekend is a prime situation Gaudreau (and the Eagles) has to take advantage of.
3. Danny Kristo -- North Dakota
Position: Forward
Class: Senior

Comment: The Montreal Canadiens prospect has been dazzling offensively this season and scored his 20th goal of the season Saturday against Denver. His 43 points now tie him with teammate Corban Knight for third in the country. With 12 points in his last seven games, Kristo is getting hot at the best possible time. North Dakota is still in the hunt for a WCHA regular-season title and if Kristo can help lead them there, he'll help his Hobey cause in a huge way. .
4. Greg Carey -- St. Lawrence
Position: Forward
Class: Junior

Comment: The nation's leading scorer with 25 goals and 47 points has positioned himself well to be part of the Hobey Hat Trick as one of the three finalists. That said, his being from the weaker ECAC conference is going to play a large role in how voters make their final decision. It's hard to take anything away from Carey, who has been the picture of consistency this season. Carey has an 11-game goal-scoring streak going, in which he has scored 12 times and has 19 total points. St. Lawrence is 7-2-2 over that span as well.

Others to Watch:

Corban Knight -- F -- Sr. -- North Dakota

Eric Hartzell -- G -- Sr. -- Quinnipiac

Frank Slubowski -- G -- So. -- Western Michigan

Kevin Goumas -- F -- Jr. -- New Hampshire

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

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

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