The top-10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s best player were announced today and two BCHL alumni are on the shortlist. University of Minnesota goaltender and Penticton Vees alum Jack LaFontaine and Quinnipiac University senior and former Vernon Viper Odeen Tufto are both up for the award.
Jack LaFontaine – Senior – University of Minnesota (Penticton Vees)
LaFontaine, who is also a finalist for the Mike Richter Award as the NCAA’s top goaltender, is enjoying the best season of his college career and just yesterday led the Golden Gophers to a Big Ten conference championship. On the season, the 23-year-old from Mississauga, Ont. has a 21-6-0 record, a .936 save percentage and 1.74 goals-against average, with five shutouts. LaFontaine, a 2016 Carolina Hurricanes draft pick, was also named the Big Ten Goaltender of the Year and a First-Team All-Star.
LaFontaine played one season with Penticton in 2018-19 during his transfer year. That season, he finished second in the BCHL in both save percentage (.923) and goals-against average (2.19) and was named the league’s Top Goaltender.
Odeen Tufto – Senior – Quinnipiac University (Vernon Vipers)
In his final year of college eligibility, Tufto is tied for the NCAA lead in points-per-game with 1.63 per contest, second in points overall with 44 and by far the leader in assists with 38. Quinnipiac has a bye to the ECAC Hockey tournament final Mar. 20. The 24-year-old from Chaska, Minn. was named a conference First-Team All-Star and is a finalist for ECAC Hockey Player of the Year.
Tufto played the 2015-16 season in Vernon where he led the team in goals (25), assists (40) and points (65).
The three Hobey Hat Trick Finalists will be announced on Apr. 1 and the winner will be revealed on Apr. 9.