04/03/2014 2:22 PM
On Wednesday, Johnny Gaudreau of Boston College, Nic Dowd from St. Cloud State and current Pirate Greg Carey from St. Lawrence University were announced as the finalists for the Hobey Baker award, an award given annually to the best player in NCAA men’s ice hockey.
Carey joined the Pirates in mid-March, signing a one-year deal with the Phoenix Coyotes. When he signed his contract, Carey knew he was one of the ten overall finalists, his second nomination in as many years. But being chosen as one of the final three finalists brings an even bigger sense of pride to the 23-year-old.
“I was a little shocked when it happened,” he admitted. “There’s ten great players who are up for it, to be selected for the final there, I’m proud and I’m happy.”
Though the pride Carey feels is evident, that does not mean he is anything less than humble about how he got to be one of the finalists.
“Individually it’s great, but it also says a lot for my team who helped me the whole year because you can’t put up numbers and be successful without your teammates on the ice as well. It’s as much as an individual award as it is a team award.”
Carey credits the power play unit as one of the main reasons he is now in a position to win the Hobey Baker. The unit that included Carey, his younger brother Matt, Jeremy Wick, Justin Baker and Gavin Bayreuther led the Saints to a 27.2 percent conversion rate on the power play, as they scored 47 power play goals on the year.
“Our PP was first in the nation and when you’re converting on the power plays every game and you’re getting those points, it helps boost your numbers and it helped out with our success, so I got to thank those guys.”
Carey learned about his nomination as he was getting prepared for the Pirates game with the Hershey Bears when one of his former college teammates texted him with the news.
“I was at Mac Grill having a pre-game meal and one of my roommates on the road, one of the seniors, Pat Raley texted me and he’s like, ‘Congrats on the top three,’ and I said, ‘What?’” Carey recounts. “I hadn’t even heard yet, I was just preparing for the game and he was like, ‘Yeah, it just came on Twitter and online,’ so I jumped on my phone and then all the calls started coming through.”
The other two finalists, Dowd and Gaudreau have resumes just as impressive as Carey’s—Dowd, a senior at St. Cloud, racked up 40 points for Huskies, finishing second on the team, leading them in goals with 18. He notched ten power play goals on the year and added five game-winners.
Gaudreau led Boston College with 77 points as a junior, topping the nation. His point total is the most a junior has even scored at Boston College and fourth all-time at the school. Gaudreau and his teammates will face Union in the Frozen Four in Philadelphia this weekend. Though Carey did not face off against either of the other finalists this season, he is well aware of their accomplishments.
“They’re two terrific players,” he said. “Johnny’s got a ton of points, he’s been putting up great numbers and they’ve got a bid for a National Championship against a team that we played against. And Nic, I know St. Cloud was up there this year and they had a lot of success. To be among two great hockey players and outstanding men, it’s an honor.”
If he wins, Carey would be the second Hobey Baker winner on the Pirates roster as forward Andy Miele won in 2011 with the Miami University RedHawks.
The winner of the award will be announced April 11 and while winning would be great for Carey, he is more than thrilled to be in the position he is now.
“I didn’t think about it going into college my junior year, or my senior year here being able to make the top three here. It’s a great honor and I’m just happy I get to have the opportunity. I’m just happy I get to bring that kind of name to St. Lawrence and to the Pirates here too,” he added.
The Pirates and Carey will next play Saturday when they travel to Manchester to continue their VIP Cup Series with the Monarchs. Puck drop is set for 3 pm Saturday as the Pirates look to close the gap on Manchester’s 6-3 series lead. For more information about the VIP Cup Series, visit www.vip-cup.com. The game can be heard on the Pirates flagship stations WPEI 95.5/95.9 FM as well as WEZR FM 105.5/AM 1240 in the Lewiston/Auburn area and WTME AM 780/1450 in Oxford County. The game can also be heard online at portlandpirates.com by clicking “Listen Live” and can be seen live on AHL Live at ahllive.com. The pregame show starts at 6:40 with Jeff Mannix.
Follow all the action on the Pirates official Facebook page and Twitter account (@PortlandPirates) with the hashtag #PiratesAway.
The Pirates have announced eight guaranteed dates for the 2014-15 season as the Pirates return to the Cumberland County Civic Center! Group tickets are available for all eight of the announced dates and flex and season tickets for the 2014-15 season are now on sale! For more information on the guaranteed dates, click here and for more information on ticket plans, call 207-828-4665.