ROCHESTER, NY – Senior captain Matt Garbowsky (St. George, Ontario/Powell River Kings) of the RIT men’s hockey team was named one of 10 finalists for the 2015 Hobey Baker Award, college hockey’s most prestigious individual honor. He is the second Tiger to be named a finalist, joining Simon Lambert, who was also named in 2008.
“Matt Garbowsky (St. George, Ontario/Powell River Kings) is the most complete player I’ve had the opportunity to coach here at RIT,” said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson. “Matt is very deserving of being named a Hobey Baker finalist, not only as our best offensive player, but our top defensive forward, and tremendous leader. Off the ice, Matt represents everything the Hobey Baker award stands for.”
Garbowsky, RIT’s captain, is enjoying an incredible senior season for the Tigers. A three-time Atlantic Hockey Conference Player of the Week, Garbowsky leads Division I with 635 face-off wins, is tied for second with 26 goals, tied for fourth with 50 points, and tied for fifth nationally with a plus-24 rating. He led the league in scoring during league play with 44 points on 23 goals and 21 assists in 28 league contests and recorded 12 multiple-point outings this season, including a pair of hat-tricks. Garbowsky leads the team with six power-play goals, five game-winning tallies, and has one shorthanded goal.
On the defensive side, Garbowsky has won 60 percent of his 1,059 face-offs taken this season and is plus-16 over the last 13 games played. He has also been a key cog in RIT’s penalty-killing unit that is eighth nationally this season at 87.7 percent.
The ten finalists were selected by voting from all 59 Division I college hockey head coaches and by online fan balloting at www.hobeybakeraward.com. Next, the 27-member Selection Committee and an additional round of fan balloting (at www.hobeybakeraward.com from March 19-29) will determine this year’s Hobey Baker winner. Criteria for the award include: displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.
A model of consistency this season, Garbowsky had 12 points (8-4-12) in eight November games, 12 points (5-7-12) in 10 January contests, and 11 points (5-6-11) in eight games during the month of February. In his 10 other games, Garbowsky has recorded 14 points (8-6-14).
Garbowsky is one goal (27, Matt Smith, 2008) and one point shy (Lambert, 51, 2008) of tying the Division I team record in both categories. Garbowsky is just the second player since RIT moved to the Division I level to reach 50 points in one season. He had 18 points during a 10-game point-scoring streak from Oct. 18 to Nov. 21. The 10-game streak tied a career-high and is one shy of the school record. He has tied a career-high with four points on three separate occasions.
Garbowsky became the seventh player in RIT’s Division I history to reach 100 career points, doing so on Feb. 14 at Holy Cross. He has 48 goals and 62 career assists in 124 games. His 110 points are tied for fifth best at RIT in the Division I era.
Last week, Garbowsky was named a unanimous All-Atlantic Hockey first team selection. He won the Atlantic Hockey Leading Scorer Award as well.
In 2011-12, Garbowsky enjoyed a strong rookie season, recording 20 points, while winning the Craig Lauzon Award as RIT’s Rookie of the Year, helping lead the Tigers to the Atlantic Hockey Championship game. The following season, Garbowsky led the Tigers in scoring with 33 points and won the team’s Greg Moss Hard Hat Award. Last year, Garbowsky missed 24 games due to injury, recording seven points in 13 games.
The most coveted award in collegiate hockey, the Hobey Baker Award is given to the top NCAA men’s ice hockey player in the nation. Winners are chosen not for raw skill or stats or character alone, though those are important. They are selected for everything they do. The Hobey Baker Award was named for hockey legend and World War I veteran Hobey Baker. Universally recognized as the best amateur player in the United States, Baker was the ultimate gentleman sportsman, always playing the game with courage, honor, and humility.
The Hobey Hat Trick (three finalists) will be announced on April 2, 2015 and the Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced Friday, April 10, 2015 from Boston, Mass. during the NCAA Frozen Four. The award announcement will take place at America’s oldest hockey arena, Matthews Arena (built in 1910) and once known as Boston Arena, a rink where Hobey Baker played. The announcement will be televised live on NESN and the NHL Network and can be followed on the Hobey Baker website at 5 p.m. EST.
The Tigers head to Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester for the Atlantic Hockey Conference championship weekend. On Friday, the third-seeded Tigers face No. 2 seed Canisius in the second AHC semifinal at 8:35 p.m. If RIT wins, they will play the winner between No. 1 seed Robert Morris and fifth-seeded Mercyhurst in the championship on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. The winner of the AHC Championship will advance to the NCAA Division I Tournament.
• Nominees by conference: AHC – 2, Big 10 – 2, ECAC – 2, NCHC – 2, Hockey East – 1, WCHA – 1,
• By class: Senior 6, Junior 3, Freshman 1
• By position: Forward 7, Defense 2, Goalie 1
• By nationality: U.S. – 6 (2 each: Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota), Canada – 4 (Ontario – 3, British Columbia – 1)
• All ten finalists are making their first appearance as a candidate
• Minnesota and Union have finalists for the 2nd straight year; Robert Morris has a finalist for the first time; all six college hockey conferences are represented
• Hobey Baker Award Banquet will be held May 28, 2015 in St. Paul, Minn.
• Visit www.hobeybakeraward.com or on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/TheHobey
• The Hobey Baker website also has the top ten video and in-depth bios