TAMPA, Florida – The day between the NCAA tournament semifinals and national title game is reserved for honoring various national award-winners in NCAA hockey.
That includes the Mike Richter Award for the most outstanding goaltender in the country, the Hockey Humanitarian Award, and perhaps most importantly the Hobey Baker Award for the most outstanding player.
The latter went to Adam Fantilli, after something of a controversial awards voting process.
In addition, the Derek Hines Unsung Hero award, given to the player who “displays exemplary sportsmanship, is supremely competitive, intelligent and extraordinarily conditioned with an unmatched work ethic,” went to Army’s Noah Wilson.
The Hockey Humanitarian Award was awarded to Gabbie Hughes of Minnesota-Duluth, whose organization has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for mental health awareness. Hughes was unable to attend the ceremony because she is playing with USA Hockey at the Women’s World Championships, but she did make a speech via Zoom.
The first and second East and West All-America teams were also revealed, but more on those in a moment.
Fantilli wins Hobey Baker, Tim Taylor awards
Adam Fantilli won the Hobey Baker Award, as the nation’s most outstanding player.
He beat out two Minnesota linemates, Matthew Knies and Logan Cooley, to take home the award.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Fantilli said. “Those two players are phenomenal guys, I’m sure they’re gonna play their hearts out tomorrow, so it could have gone any way. I’m glad it went mine, but it was definitely nerve-wracking.”
In winning, Fantilli becomes only the third freshman to win the Hobey. The previous two were Jack Eichel (2015) and Paul Kariya (1993). All three were in their draft years, and obviously handled the transition to college hockey with aplomb.
“These guys are a lot bigger, a lot faster, a lot stronger,” Fantilli said. “They take away space pretty fast, so learning to adapt to that type of play was pretty important. I think our entire freshman class as a whole was able to do that pretty well and I think that’s something that helped carry us this far.”
Fantilli was the national leader in points (65); tied for first in goalscoring (30) and fifth in assists (35).
For a more in-depth look at the Hobey Hat Trick, click here.
He also won the Tim Taylor Award as the nation’s most outstanding rookie of the 2022-23 season.
The finalists for the awards are the six conferences’ Rookie of the Year award winners. As such, the final nominees were Fantilli, Boston University’s Lane Hutson, Michigan Tech’s Kyle Kukkonen, Quinnipiac’s Sam Lipkin, North Dakota’s Jackson Blake, and Army’s Max Itagaki.
Devon Levi wins Mike Richter Award
The award for the best goaltender in the nation went, for the second year in a row, to Devon Levi of Northeastern, who is now playing with the Buffalo Sabres.
This decision should not come as a surprise, as the Huskies gave up a great number of scoring chances per game and which would have struggled mightily if not for Levi’s elite-level play for the second consecutive season.
To win the award, Levi beat out Quinnipiac’s Yaniv Perets (also a finalist for the second straight year) and Michigan Tech’s Blake Pietila (who was a finalist in 2021). Because it was the first time three previous finalists were all nominated again, this is the most stacked competition ever for the award, which has been awarded since 2014.
Levi, currently preparing for tomorrow’s afternoon game against the Carolina Hurricanes, was not present in Tampa to accept the award. Instead, NU coach Jerry Keefe did so on his behalf.
For a more in-depth look at this year’s Mike Richter finalists, click here.
East and West All-America teams revealed
Finally, these are the All-American first and second teams for both halves of the country:
East first team
F: Aidan McDonough, Northeastern
F: Sean Farrell, Harvard
F: Collin Graf, Quinnipiac
D: Henry Thrun, Harvard
D: Lane Hutson, Boston University
G: Devon Levi, Northeastern
East second team
F: Alex Jeffries, Merrimack
F: Matt Coronato, Harvard
F: Matt Brown, BU
D: Zach Metsa, Quinnipiac
D: Sam Malinski, Cornell
G: Yaniv Perets, Quinnipiac
West first team
F: Matthew Knies, Minnesota
F: Fantilli, Michigan
F: Cooley, Minnesota
D: Brock Faber, Minnesota
D: Luke Hughes, Michigan
G: Blake Pietila, Michigan Tech
West second team
F: Carter Mazur, Denver
F: Jason Polin, Western Michigan
F: Massimo Rizzo, Denver
D: Mike Benning, Denver
D: Jake Livingstone, Minnesota State
G: Ryan Bischel, Ohio State