ST. PAUL, Minn. – For the second year in a row, Michigan Tech has a Hobey Baker Top 10 Finalist as goaltender Blake Pietila was selected by voting from all 61 Division I college hockey head coaches plus online fan balloting. Brian Halonen was a finalist for the Huskies last season.
Pietila, the CCHA Goaltender of the Year and unanimous All-CCHA First Team selection, is also a top three finalist for the Mike Richter Award.
The native of Howell, Michigan, broke Michigan Tech records for shutouts in a season (10) and career (20) while becoming the all-time wins leader with 58—a record he shares with Bruce Horsch. Pietila leads the nation in shutouts while ranking second nationally with 23 wins, third in save percentage (.929), and fifth in goals-against average (1.99).
Pietila has appeared in 36 games for the Huskies going 23-10-3 overall. He is a top three finalist for the Mike Richter Award and was a Preseason All-CCHA selection. Pietila was named the CCHA Goaltender of the Month for October, January, and February, the CCHA Goaltender of the Week seven times, and the Most Valuable Player of the Desert Hockey Classic.
Pietila played in 24 CCHA games this season, going 14-7-3 with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. He led the league in wins, save percentage, and shutouts (6), while finishing second in goals-against average and minutes played (1425:48). Ranking third in total saves (625), he allowed two or fewer goals in 16 conference games.
The 30-member selection committee and an additional round of fan balloting through the Hobey website hobeybaker.com March 17-26 will determine this year’s Hobey Baker winner. Criteria for the award are: displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.
The Hobey Hat Trick (three finalists) will be announced on March 30, 2023, and the Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced on Friday, April 7, 2023. The announcement will be televised live on the NHL Network and streamed on the Hobey Baker website at 6 p.m.
Following, in alphabetical order, is a look at each finalist.
Logan Cooley – University of Minnesota
Freshman, Forward, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
With an excellent skating ability that matches his compete level, Cooley has been one of the most exciting players to watch in college hockey this season. The freshman forward was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes third overall at the 2022 NHL Draft. He currently is fourth in the nation in scoring with 50 points and sits fifth in assists. He has been named to the Big Ten conference’s All Freshman Team and First Team All Conference.
- Led all B1G players by earning five Star of the Week honors
- Is seventh in Minnesota history for scoring by a freshman – most points by a first-year since Phil Kessel had 51 points in 2005-06
- Leads all NCAA players with a +32 rating and has a positive plus-minus in 21 outings
Adam Fantilli – University of Michigan
Freshman, Forward, Nobleton, Ontario
Adam Fantilli is another freshman making a big impact this season. He currently leads the nation in scoring with 60 points, sits second in the nation in goals, third in assists, and is averaging 1.9 points per game. He plays on the power play, penalty kill, takes big faceoffs, and is on the ice in all end of game situations. The Big Ten named Fantilli Freshman of the Year, First Team All-Conference, and to the All-Freshman Team.
- Currently has 27 goals and 33 assists for 60 points (NCAA point leader) through 32 games played this season
- A top prospect eligible for the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, and is expected to be a top-three pick
- Won a gold medal at the 2023 World Junior Championships – had five points in seven games
Sean Farrell – Harvard University
Junior, Forward, Hopkinton, Massachusetts
Known for his speed and for his 200-foot game, Farrell has been a force to be reckoned with this season. He’s produced 51 points in 31 games and sits third in the nation in scoring. The Hopkinton native was named the ECAC Player of the Month twice this season.
- Second in the nation with an average of 1.62 points per game
- A 2020 fourth-round draft pick, 124th overall by the Montreal Canadiens
- Led Team USA in scoring (six points) at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics
Collin Graf – Quinnipiac University
Sophomore, Forward, Lincoln, Massachusetts
After transferring from Union College, Graf has been a vital piece of the Bobcats team this season. He currently sits second in the nation in scoring with 54 points and in assists with 34. He has played 16 multiple-point games, and has been awarded the ECAC Player of the Month three times this season.
- Fourth in the NCAA in points per game (1.44) and seventh in the NCAA in assists per game (.88)
- Tallied the most points by a sophomore in program history
- Studying Business Analytics
Lane Hutson – Boston University
Freshman, Defenseman, North Barrington, Illinois
A dynamic puck-moving defenseman, Hutson leads all blue-liners with 44 points in 34 games. He made history this season by becoming the first defenseman to lead Hockey East in scoring. He was named to the Hockey East First Team All-Conference and All-Rookie Team. To add to his accolades, he also was named Rookie of the Year and the Hockey East Scoring Champion.
- Leads NCAA defenseman with four game-winning goals
- A 2022 second-round draft pick and 62nd overall by the Montreal Canadiens
- Bronze medalist at World Junior Championship, providing primary assist on the bronze medal-winning goal
Matthew Knies – University of Minnesota
Sophomore, Forward, Phoenix, Arizona
Knies has the size, strength, power, and speed that he uses consistently to make him a key player on the ice. He currently ranks sixth in the nation with 21 goals, including seven game-winning goals which is the most in the nation. He was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference.
- Leads NCAA with seven game-winning goals – all scored against teams ranking top 15 in the nation
- 2021 second-round pick, selected 57th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs
- Is a Rink Roots participant where players run an on-ice clinic for kids in a local community – put on a summer hockey camp for kids of all ages in the Phoenix area
Devon Levi – Northeastern University
Junior, Goaltender, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec
Devon Levi is a competitive, athletic, and disciplined goaltender. He has the best save percentage in the nation at .933 and is a Hobey finalist for the second straight season. He was awarded multiple accolades in Hockey East, including Goalie of the Year, Player of the Year, and First Team All-Conference. Levi won the 2022 Mike Richter Award and is a finalist again this year.
- Currently has a 17-12-5 record with a 2.24 GAA and .933 save percentage
- Florida draft (seventh round, 2020), rights traded to Buffalo – made the 2022 Canadian Olympic roster
- Gives back to his community in Quebec by mentoring and training young athletes, and has donated old gear to his community rink and elementary school
Yaniv Perets – Quinnipiac University
Sophomore, Goaltender, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec
For the second consecutive season Perets leads the nation in goals against average; compiling a 1.52 GAA this season. He has nine shutouts, the second most in the nation, and a save percentage of .927 that is ranked fifth in the nation. He has the highest win percentage in the nation with only three losses in all 36 games he’s played. This is the second straight year the Quebec native has been named a Top 10 finalist, and is another Richter Award Finalist.
- Current record is: 30-3-3 with a 1.52 GAA and .927 save percentage
- Has the third best single season GAA and third most wins in program history
- Studying Talent Management
Blake Pietila – Michigan Technological University
Senior, Goaltender, Howell, Michigan
Pietila has played in 36 of 38 games for the Huskies this season, with ten of those games ending in a shutout. The Howell native has a .929 save percentage which is the third-best in the nation, and he has the second most wins in college hockey this season at 23. Pietila was named CCHA Goalie of the Year and CCHA First Team All-Conference. He is also a Richter Award finalist.
- Currently has a 1.99 GAA and a .929 save percentage through 36 games
- Holds Michigan Tech record for all-time wins and has the most shutouts in school history
- Mechanical Engineering major
Jason Polin – Western Michigan University
Senior, Forward, Holt, Michigan
Polin is playing his best season of hockey in his senior year. He leads the nation in goals with 29 in 38 games. The Holt native has recorded five hat tricks this season, and his 29 goals have set an NCHC conference record. He has been named First Team All-Conference.
- Currently has 29 goals, 17 assists for 46 points in 38 games
- Served as team captain for 2022-23 season
- Sport Management major – Named an NCHC Distinguished Scholar and named to the NCHC Academic All-Conference Team all four years
- Conference: Big Ten – 3, ECAC – 3, Hockey East – 2, NCHC – 1, CCHA – 1
- Position: Forwards – 6, Defensemen – 1, Goalie – 3
- Class: Seniors – 2, Juniors – 2, Sophomores – 3, Freshmen – 3
- Nationality: U.S. – 7 (Mich-2, Mass-2, Penn, Ill., Ariz) Canada – 3 (Que-2, Ont. 1)
- Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan Tech, Northeastern, and Quinnipiac have finalists for the second straight season
- Five of the ten finalists are NHL draft picks with one in the first round (Cooley)
- Visit hobeybaker.com or on Facebook at: facebook.com/TheHobey
- The Hobey Baker website also has the top ten video and in-depth bios
The Hobey Baker Top Ten video is available in a High Definition format at www.hobeybaker.com/media
The 2023 Hobey Baker Award winner will be honored along with this year’s Hobey Baker Legend of College Hockey, Jerry York, at the annual banquet and golf outing to be held August 2 in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. For more information visit the Hobey website at: www.hobeybaker.com.
Upcoming Hobey Baker Media releases are as follows:
- Hat Trick of three Finalists – March 30 at Noon
- Winner – April 7 at 6 p.m. – Live TV on NHL Network; streamed at www.hobeybaker.com