Moon Township, Pa. - Senior Robert Morris University forwards Adam Brace and Zach Hervato join Senior Goaltender Eric Levine among 14 Atlantic Hockey players that are in the first round of fan voting for the 2013 Hobey Baker Memorial Award.
Hockey is back in Pittsburgh. With the start of the condensed NHL season taking place over the weekend Penguins fans will fly back in droves to the confines of the CONSOL Energy Center over the next few weeks. Hockey starved fans will once again get to see the talents of their favorite Penguins. However, award-winning hockey performances have been on display in Pittsburgh since October from players not named Crosby, Malkin or Letang.
Levine, who is on pace to surpass 2,000 career saves, boasts a .940 save percentage and a 2.31 goals-against average in the time he has earned a 11-5-2 record. He has also collected shutouts against nationally ranked opponents Miami University and Quinnipiac. His weekly honors during the season include an AHA Player of the Week honor and three AHA Goaltender of the Week honors.
"It is an honor to even be mentioned amongst the elite players in college hockey, and is a true testament to our team for having three individuals recognized," said Levine. "That doesn't happen without great coaches and great teammates. When you look back at some of the previous winners and see what kind of careers they went on to have, it's pretty surreal, and I'm just grateful to be on the ballot this year. To be nominated for an award that goaltenders like Ryan Miller once won, it's humbling. I'm just grateful for the team in front of me and truly honored to be on the ballot for the Hobey Baker."
Brace, who recently surpassed 100 career games played, has logged major minutes on the team's 21st ranked penalty kill while recording a plus 11 +/- rating. His 21 points and 12 assists lead the team while his 9 goals rank him second among Colonials skaters. His three shorthanded goals are tied for first in the NCAA. Brace is fourth in team history with 35 career goals and is on pace to reach 100 career points by the season's end.
"It is an honor to be included as a nominee for this prestigious award," said Brace. "To be listed alongside two of my teammates and with what many consider the best players in college hockey pushes me to continue to perform my best for the team as we look to reach our postseason goals."
Hervato, who also surpassed the century mark in career games played, is second on the team in points with 16 and tied for second in assists with 9. Hervato was named AHA Player of the Week in late October after recording one goal and three assists in the programs first ever road victory against AHA opponent RIT. He reached the 50 career points mark with a goal in last weekend's series against American International.
"I'm honored," said Hervato. "It is a long process, and I'm proud to be on there with Eric [Levine] and Bracer [Adam Brace]. They are awesome players and I'm happy to be nominated with them and among the top players in college hockey."
The Hobey Baker Memorial Award, college hockey's most prestigious award, is given to the nation's top college hockey player and is named after the great Hobey Baker. Baker was considered the greatest Amateur athlete of his era, competing in football and hockey at Princeton University before becoming a World War I Fighter Pilot. Candidates for this award not only must achieve high success on the ice, but must exhibit a range of high-character personality traits off the ice.
The fan voting for the 77 candidates, which began on January 7 and will run through March 10, accounts for one percent of the total ballot in the preliminary round of the voting process. A second round of fan voting will begin on March 22 as the ten finalists will be announced prior to the winner being announced at the Frozen Four, which Robert Morris University is hosting at the CONSOL Energy Center. Fans can let their voices be heard by logging onto hobeybakeraward.com and viewing all the Hobey Baker Memorial Award nominees.