Union goalie Troy Grosenick has always been a team-first type of guy. Winning individual awards doesn’t excite him.
When he was asked about his chances of being named a Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalist last Saturday, after the Dutchmen beat UMass Lowell, 3-1, to win the NCAA hockey tournament East Regional title and clinch a Frozen Four berth, Grosenick said he wasn’t worried about it.
So when Grosenick found out Thursday that he wasn’t named one of the three Hobey finalists, he took the news in stride.
“We have way more important things ahead of us,” Grosenick said before practice at Messa Rink, where the Dutchmen (26-7-7) are preparing to face Ferris State (25-11-5) in the NCAA hockey Frozen Four semifinal at 4:30 p.m. next Thursday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
“I’m not worried about that stuff at all. It’s just an individual award. At the end of the day, [the Hobey] is not something we’re about. I’m just looking forward to getting, hopefully, a national championship. That’s primarily what we’re focused on right now.”
The three finalists are all forwards — Colgate’s Austin Smith, Maine’s Spencer Abbott and Minnesota Duluth’s Jack Connolly. The winner will be announced next Friday at 6 p.m. in Tampa, Fla. The ceremony will be televised by the NHL Network.
Grosenick is 22-5-3 with a 1.64 goals-against average, a .936 save percentage and five shutouts. He won the Ken Dryden Award as ECAC Hockey goalie of the year after going 11-3-1 with a 1.60 GAA, a .940 save percentage and four shutouts.
Grosenick, who played in only three games last season, was the first Union player to ever be nominated for the Hobey.
“It would have been phenomenal for Troy to win it for our school and our hockey program here and, most importantly, for Troy,” Union coach Rick Bennett said. “But if you asked Troy, coming into this year from last year, if he thought he was going to be a top-10 finalist, he’d probably tell you that you’re crazy. It was quite an accomplishment, and we’re still going. Just because you don’t win the Hobey Baker doesn’t mean he didn’t have a good year. I think he’s happy.”
Only two goalies have ever won the Hobey, which was first presented on 1981. They were Minnesota’s Robb Stauber in 1988, and Michigan State’s Ryan Miller in 2001.
Grosenick was honored to make the top-10 finalists. He was the only sophomore in that list.
“It was a nice thing for our program,” Grosenick said. “But it’s also an honor to be in the Frozen Four.”
Smith, the ECACH Player of the Year, had 31 goals and 26 assists this season for the Raiders. Abbott had 21 goals and 41 assists for the Black Bears. Connolly led the Bulldogs with 20 goals and 40 assists.
Grosenick is rooting for Smith to win. If Smith does capture the Hobey, he would become the fourth ECACH player to do so. The previous three winners have all been from Harvard — defenseman Mark Fusco in 1983, center Scott Fusco in 1986 and left winger Lane MacDonald in 1989, the year the Crimson won the NCAA title.
“They’re all great players,” Grosenick said of the Hobey Hat Trick finalists. “We’d like to see an ECAC guy win it. Austin’s got a great chance to do that. He had a phenomenal year.”
For the first time since the Hobey Hat Trick Era began in 2002, none of the three finalists are playing in the Frozen Four. The last player to win the Hobey when his team wasn’t playing in the Frozen Four was Denver defenseman Matt Carle in 2006. . . .
The last ECACH player to be a Hobey Hat Trick finalist was Cornell goalie David McKee in 2005.