Created: 04/12/2013 6:38 PM KSTP.com By: Chris Long
It's back-to-back Hobey Baker Awards for the State of Hockey.
Hermantown native and St Cloud State senior Drew LeBlanc was named the 2013 Hobey Baker Award winner at ceremonies in Pittsburgh, site of this weekend's Frozen Four.
LeBlanc's win comes one year after Duluth-native Jack Connolly won the award which goes to college hockey's most outstanding player.
LeBlanc beat out another Minnesotan - White Bear Lake native and Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell - along with Boston College sophomore Johnny Gaudreau.
The Hobey Baker win comes as some consolation for LeBlanc and the Huskies after Hartzell and Quinnipiac eliminated them from the Frozen Four with a 4-1 win in Thursday's national semifinal.
Coming off a redshirt season after severely breaking his leg last year, LeBlanc proved to be a masterful playmaker. A two-year team captain, LeBlanc helped guide the Huskies to their first ever Frozen Four.
He finished the year leading the nation in assists (37) and is seventh in points (50), just three points from the top. LeBlanc scored 13 goals including three on the power play and three that proved to be game winners in the 42 games he played in 2012-13.
In addition to the Huskies' Frozen Four appearance, LeBlanc helped his team win its first-ever NCAA regional championship in 2013 and he also helped SCSU gain its first-ever WCHA regular season championship.
Also today, former Gophers defenseman Nate Schmidt was been named to the 2012-13 CCM Hockey All-America Second Team by the American Hockey Coaches Association after leading all Western Collegiate Hockey Association defensemen in scoring this season.
Schmidt, a two-time All-WCHA defenseman including a First Team honoree this year, ranks tied for third among all NCAA defensemen with 32 points this season including a career-high nine goals. Schmidt also leads all national defensemen and ranks tied for sixth among all skaters with 19 power-play points this season. The junior finished the year with a plus-15 rating as Minnesota led the WCHA and finished third nationally in scoring defense.
In his final year with the Gophers program, Schmidt developed into arguably Minnesota’s most valuable player in 2012-13. As a junior, the St. Cloud, Minn., native saw the ice in nearly every situation for the Gophers. In addition to backing the WCHA’s top defense, Schmidt quarterbacked the country’s top power-play unit and continued to contribute offensively with the top scoring program in the NCAA as Minnesota picked up a share of its second-straight MacNaughton Cup as WCHA regular-season champions. Schmidt also saw time on the WCHA’s top penalty kill as the Gophers were ranked in the top 10 nationally in all four facets of the game.
In 96 career games at Minnesota, Schmidt tallied 74 points and 12 goals. In his final two seasons with the program, Schmidt and the Gophers won back-to-back MacNaughton Cups and made two trips to the NCAA tournament including the team’s run to the NCAA Frozen Four in 2011-12.
Schmidt signed a two-year entry level contract with the Washington Capitals last week and has two assists in two games with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League.
(Some content in this article is courtesy of the St Cloud State and University of Minnesota athletic departments)