University of Maine sophomore right wing Gustav Nyquist has gone from one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award to one of three.
The 20-year-old Nyquist is joined as a Hobey Hat Trick finalist by University of New Hampshire senior right wing Bobby Butler and University of Wisconsin senior center Blake Geoffrion.
The winner of the award, given to the nation’s best player, will be announced on Friday, April 9 in Detroit, site of this year’s Frozen Four. The ceremony will be televised live on ESPNU beginning at 7.
“I’m a little surprised. I’m very honored to be one of three finalists. I’m very happy. Going to Detroit is going to be a great experience for me,” said Nyquist, who leads the nation in scoring (61 points), points per game (1.56) and assists (42).
The dynamic Nyquist was non-committal about his chances of becoming the school’s third Hobey Baker Award winner and first since Paul Kariya won it in 1993.
“[Butler and Geoffrion] are both great players and they’re seniors,” said the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Nyquist.
Despite being a focal point of opposing checking lines, Nyquist had at least a point in 32 of 39 games and had 19 multiple-point games. He had seven power-play goals and 20 power- play assists along with four game-winning goals and three game-winning assists.
He was a team-leading plus-15 in plus-minus which awards a plus-one to a player on the ice when his team scores an even-strength or shorthanded goal and a minus-one if the opponent scores one.
He led the team in shots on goal with 134.
Nyquist played in all situations for the Black Bears. In addition to his prominent role on the nation’s best power play, he also killed penalties and played in the first and last minutes of periods.
The native of Malmo, Sweden, credited linemates Brian Flynn and Tanner House for playing integral roles in his success and he also praised the entire team for overachieving this season.
“We were picked to finish eighth in the [coaches’] preseason poll and we finished tied for third,” said Nyquist. “Then we reached the Hockey East final and took one of the best teams in the country [Boston College] into overtime. We always knew we were a good team and I think if we had gotten into the NCAA Tournament, we could have done some damage.”
Maine lost to Boston College 7-6 in OT after rallying from three two-goal deficits to tie it.
Nyquist was the lone unanimous selection on the Hockey East first team and was the runner-up to Butler for the league’s Player of the Year.
Nyquist and Butler each finished with 41 points in 27 league games.
Butler, an All-Hockey East first team choice, led the nation in goals with 29 to go with 24 assists in 39 games. He was tied for second in points.
Geoffrion, an all-WCHA first- team selection, tied for second in goals with 27 and tied for first in power-play goals with 14. He has 21 assists to go with his 27 goals in 38 games.
Nyquist, a fourth-round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings, said he expects to return the Maine because he and his teammates have some “unfinished business.”
He intends to devote his off-season training regimen to improving his strength and his speed and he anticipates his teammates also returning in great shape next fall.
“Everybody did a great job coming back [in shape] this past year and we outworked teams [because of it],” said Nyquist.
He said he isn’t going to worry about his points next season.
“I just want to do what I can to help us get into the NCAA Tournament,” said Nyquist.