The "little guy from Boston College" curse continues.
St. Cloud State senior forward Drew LeBlanc won the Hobey Baker Award on Friday night as the nation's top college hockey player. LeBlanc beats out Boston College sophomore forward Johnny Gaudreau and Quinnipiac goaltender Eric Hartzell for the award.
The Huskies forward scored 13 goals and 37 assists in 42 games this season, including three on the power play and three game-winners. LeBlanc was named both the WCHA Player of the Year and WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year as a senior, a first in the 52-year history of the conference.
For Johnny Gaudreau and Boston College, more Hobey Baker heartache. The nation's most electric skater finished his sophomore campaign with a 21-30-51 scoring line, one point more than LeBlanc in SIX fewer games (Gaudreau led the nation with 1.46 points per game). And yet, the Eagles sophomore joins Brian Gionta, Chris Collins, Nate Gerbe and Cam Atkinson as the dynamic, high-scoring forward that fell just short of college hockey's highest individual honor.
Based on the Hobey selection committee's three criteria - on-ice performance, team success and leadership/character/academics - my guess is while Gaudreau topped both LeBlanc and Hartzell in terms of on-ice performance, he fell a bit short in the latter two categories.
Both LeBlanc and Hartzell advanced to this year's Frozen Four - the committee's final impression of the candidates before the votes were tallied - while Gaudreau and the Eagles got pasted by Union in the Regional Semifinals. Additionally, LeBlanc must have cleaned up in the leadership/character/academics category, especially given he's St. Cloud's senior captain, going on to win both the WCHA's Player of the Year and Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year awards.
LeBlanc becomes the sixth straight senior to win the Hobey Baker. The last underclassman to take home the hardware was North Dakota's Ryan Duncan in 2007, then a sophomore. Duncan, Michigan State goaltender Ryan Miller (2001) and Minnesota goaltender Robb Stauber (1988) remain the only sophomores to ever win the award.
If there's a silver lining to Boston College's most recent Hobey snub, it's that Gaudreau will return to the Heights for his junior season - joining a talented roster of players that will only get that much better with one of the nation's top incoming recruiting classes. And maybe, just maybe, he'll help the Eagles take care of a little unfinished business next season.