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2020 Winner -Scott Perunovich of University of Minnesota Duluth

The Hobey Baker Memorial Award Committee announced today the 2020 recipient of college hockey’s top individual prize is Scott Perunovich (purr-roo-na-vitch) from the University of Minnesota Duluth. The announcement came during a live broadcast on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

The coronavirus pandemic caused the cancelation of the college hockey season, negating an attempt by the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs to win a third straight national title. Nonetheless, it has been a fabulous run for the junior defenseman from Hibbing, Minnesota. Perunovich became the first defenseman to lead the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) in conference scoring, collecting 32 points on four goals and 28 assists in 24 conference games.

Overall, Perunovich tallied six goals and 34 assists for 40 points in 34 Bulldog games. That positioned him tenth in the nation in scoring and second among all defensemen. His 34 assists led all defensemen and was second overall in the nation. 

A plethora of honors followed: NCHC Player of the Year, NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year for the third straight season, First Team all-conference for the third straight season and an All American for the third straight season. Additionally, College Hockey News named him their national Player of the Year this past season.

On the ice, he is known as a difference maker, possessing an innate ability to control the pace of the game. The smooth-skating defenseman improved his defensive game significantly in his Hobey Baker season, turning him into a complete player. Especially effective on the power play, Perunovich tied for the national lead in power play points (22) and power play assists (19). He also had 12 multiple-point games, second among all defensemen.

A Communications major at UMD, Perunovich decided to forego his final year of college hockey and signed a pro contract with the team that drafted him, the St. Louis Blues (2nd round, 2018, 45th overall). Perunovich becomes the sixth UMD Bulldog to win the Hobey, the most of any NCAA school. He follows in the skates of Tom Kurvers (1984), Bill Watson (1985), Chris Marinucci (1994), Junior Lessard (2004) and Jack Connolly (2012). This marks the second straight year and third time in four seasons a defenseman has won the Hobey (Cale Makar 2019, Will Butcher 2017).

  • Finished with 6 goals, 34 assists for 40 points in 34 games – second in nation in assists
  • Two-time All American and three-time First Team all-conference
  • Communications major – drafted by St. Louis Blues (2nd round) and recently turned pro
 

2019 Runner-Ups


Jordan Kawaguchi
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA

The dynamic play of Jordan Kawaguchi (cow-uh-GOO-chee) helped guide the Fighting Hawks to the NCHC regular season title and the top spot in the national pairwise rankings at the seasons’ cancelation. His terrific hockey sense led him to the number two spot in the national scoring charts collecting 45 points in 33 games. Accolades aplenty followed Kawaguchi as he was named First Team all-conference, Forward of the Year in the NCHC and was a finalist for the circuit’s Player of the Year. Valuable in the clutch, he had 13 game winning points.

Jeremy Swayman
UNIVERSITY OF MAINE

The busiest goaltender in college hockey this past season was the Black Bears sensational netminder Jeremy Swayman. He faced more shots and made more saves than any other goalie, finishing with the second best save percentage in the nation at .939. A strong skater with exceptional anticipation skills, Swayman was named Hockey East Player of the Year and First Team all-conference. A heavy workload was no problem as he started 33 of 34 Maine games and played all but seven minutes of the season.

 

2019 TOP 10 FINALISTS


Morgan Barron
Cornell University

A prototypical power forward, Barron finishes atop the Big Red scoring charts for the second straight year as he helped guide Cornell to a first-place finish in the ECAC and a number one ranking in both national polls. His special teams work was outstanding, gaining top penalty killing time and blasting one-timers on the power play. Despite playing the wing, he took key faceoffs and finished the year at 56.1% on the draw. He was a finalist for ECAC Player of Year.

Jason Cotton
Sacred Heart University

Collecting a career high 37 points in 34 games, Cotton soared to the top of Atlantic Hockey in scoring. The co-captain of the Pioneers is best known as a competitive, 200-foot player effective in all zones of the ice. Conference foes took notice and named him the circuit’s Player of the Year and First Team all-conference. Cotton topped all Atlantic Hockey snipers with 20 goals.

Jack Dugan
Providence College

Dugan led the NCAA in scoring for almost the entire season and finished atop all skaters with 52 points in 34 games. Additionally, the slick playmaker led the nation in assists, power play points and averaged a national best 1.53 points per game. A finalist for Hockey East Player of the Year, Dugan has collected 91 points in 75 games in his first two seasons of college hockey play.

David Farrance
Boston University

A banner year has Farrance up for a multitude of conference and national awards. The high scoring defenseman had a terrific season topping all blue-liners in the country in points, goals and power play goals. His scoring prowess, particularly on the power play, placed him sixth overall in the nation in total points and ninth in the nation in assists.

John Leonard
University of Massachusetts

An elite goal scoring sensation, Leonard led the nation bagging 27 goals in just 33 games. His clutch performances included six game winners, tied for first in the country. A finalist for Hockey East Player of the Year, his 21 conference markers was a nine-year high in the circuit. Leonard was particularly brilliant late season tallying 10 goals in his final six games.

Dryden McKay
Minnesota State University

Backstopping the Mavericks to a conference title and a number two national ranking, McKay led the way with a terrific season. He was the national leader in almost every goalie category including goals against average, save percentage, shutouts and wins. The WCHA rewarded him with Goaltender of the Year honors and First Team all-conference accolades.

Marc Michaelis
Minnesota State University, Mankato

A dynamic centerman who led the WCHA in scoring, Michaelis (mih-KAY-lis) finished tied for third in the nation in scoring despite missing seven of his teams’ games. The two-time team captain was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Year and in a college sports rarity, was named First Team all-conference for the fourth straight season.