Union sophomore goalie Troy Grosenick has one goal in mind, just like his teammates — winning the school’s first NCAA championship.
But there is another award that could be in Grosenick’s future.
Grosenick played himself into contention to be Hobey Hat Trick finalist as he helped the Dutchmen win the NCAA tournament East Regional championship at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. He made 20 saves in Friday’s 3-1 semifinal win over Michigan State, and followed that up with a 19-save effort in a 4-2 victory over UMass Lowell in Saturday’s championship game that helped the Dutchmen advance to the Frozen Four.
Grosenick, who is 22-5-3 with a 1.64 goals-against average, a .936 save percentage and five shutouts, was named a top-10 Hobey finalist March 15. He is the first Union player to be a Hobey finalist in the program’s 21-year history.
While Colgate senior forward Austin Smith, who had 36 goals and 21 assists, and Maine senior forward Spencer Abbott
(21-41-62) are considered the favorites to be in the Hobey Hat Trick mix, the third spot is up for grabs. The Hat Trick finalists will be announced Thursday. The winner will be named April 6 in Tampa, Fla.
The regional finals are considered by the Hobey Baker voters, so that could have helped Grosenick. But Grosenick, who won the Ken Dryden Award as the ECAC Hockey goalie of the year, isn’t worried about the Hobey.
As the game against UMass Lowell wound down, the Union fans who made the trip to Bridgeport began to chant “Hobey Baker” toward Grosenick. He heard the chants, and was appreciative of it. But the Hobey isn’t on his mind.
“I’m not worried about it whatsoever,” Grosenick said. “If it happens, it happens. We’re focused on our team goals. That’s all I have to say about that.”
Union coach Rick Bennett thinks Grosenick should be considered for the Hobey Hat Trick.
“I’m not sure what the criteria goes into it,” Bennett said. “But if the criteria is moving on to the next level, then he certainly does deserve a fair shot, and I hope he does. He’s deserved it the whole year.
“But, as you heard from Troy, it’s not something that he sits up at night and thinks about. He thinks about the team, and that’s what makes him so special.”
If the Hobey voters were watching the East Regional, they saw Grosenick make two key saves late in each game to preserve Dutchmen one-goal leads. He got a glove on a one-timer by Michigan State’s Lee Reimer in the slot. Against UMass Lowell, Grosenick used his stick to clear the puck out just before it crossed the goal line, and he used his blocker to knock out a Josh Holmstrom attempt after it hit him in the back.
The two goals that UMass Lowell scored were tough breaks. Terrence Wallin’s goal went off Union defenseman Mat Bodie’s skate. Ferreira got a gift goal when Jeremy Welsh lost control of the puck behind the Dutchmen net.
Grosenick credited his teammates with making it easy for him to see shots, as well as limiting the number of shots he faced in the regionals.
“The ‘D’ clear rebounds. I have a tendency to leave a few out there once in while,” Grosenick said. “Obviously, I try to control as many as possible. When I do let up a rebound like that, the ‘D’ is there to clear it away. They do a great job of letting me see the puck, and our forwards do a great job on the backcheck and blocking shots from the point.”
Semifinal times set
The time for the Union-Ferris State semifinal April 5 has been set. The game will be played at 4:30 p.m. at the Tampa Times
Forum, and will be on ESPNU. You can also watch the game on your computer or smart phone at ESPN3.com.
The second semifinal will be at 8 p.m. on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com. The April 7 championship game will be at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.