If you're looking for Hobey Baker candidates among the leading scorers in college hockey, the list is pretty ininspiring, to say the least. There's a couple guys from smaller conferences that aren't going to garner much attention regardless of how they score, and a couple talented sophomores from the CCHA and WCHA.
One of those sophomores in particular that stands out is St. Cloud's Garrett Roe, who is second in the country with 36 points through 26 games. Roe hasn't gotten much attention yet as a legitimate Hobey candidate, but this weekend's series against North Dakota could make or break his chances at being considered for the award.
First, and perhaps most importantly, this weekend is huge for the Huskies in terms of the standings. They're currently four points behind Colorado College for the final home ice playoff spot, but the Huskies have two games in hand on the Tigers who are idle this weekend. Meanwhile, Minnesota-Duluth is two points ahead of St. Cloud and the Huskies need to at least keep pace with the Bulldogs in order to have a shot at the final home ice playoff spot.
It also has huge implications for the NCAA tournament. St. Cloud currently sits at 19th in the Pairwise Rankings, while North Dakota is 15th, one spot out of what is likely the last at-large berth. A positive result for the Huskies at least puts them in position to compete for one of the final at-large tournament spots. Two losses would pretty much end those hopes, barring a miracle.
What does all of that mean for Roe? It's unlikely Hobey voters would give much consideration to a player if his team finished 6th or 7th in their conference, didn't make it out of the first round in the playoffs, and failed to make the NCAA tournament. Brian Holzinger was the last player to win the Hobey Baker Award without making the NCAA tournament back in 1995. On the other hand, if St. Cloud played well down the stretch, and got attention as one of the hottest teams in the country, thanks in part to Roe's play, that could sway the minds of a lot of voters.
It's an important weekend for Roe personally, as well, because I think he still needs to prove that he can carry his team against a top-notch opponent. Roe is tied for third in the country with 1.38 points per game, but he also put up 8 points in a weekend series with Mercyhurst, and 4 points in a series against Robert Morris. Toss out those four games against cupcakes and his points/game average drops to a pedestrian 1.09. Further, he managed only a single assist in each of St. Cloud's two series against Minnesota, and was held off the scoreboard completely against North Dakota when the two sides met in North Dakota. This is a big series for St. Cloud this weekend, and they desperately need a multi-point weekend from their biggest point producer.
As it stands now, it's looking like the Hobey could go to one of the second tier of scorers outside the top ten like Colin Wilson or Ryan Stoa or it could be the year a goaltender that puts up ridiculous numbers gets rewarded, but Roe definitely has the opportunity to make a statement this weekend.