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Duluth's Connolly a finalist for Hobey Baker award

Minnesota Duluth senior center Jack Connolly has been named among three finalists for the 2012 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which goes to the top player in Division I men's hockey.

The other finalists are Maine senior forward Spencer Abbott and Colgate University senior forward Austin Smith.

A list of 10 finalists was cut to three this week in voting by the Hobey Baker Award Committee. The three finalists were announced Thursday.

Connolly, a Duluth native, was second among Division I scorers this season with 20 goals and 40 assists for 60 points in 41 games. The Bulldogs finished their season Sunday in the NCAA Northeast Regional final in Worcester, Mass., losing 4-0 to Boston College.

"Jack had a great year and epitomizes what the Hobey Baker Award is all about: on the rink, in the classroom and in the community," UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. "He has risen to the challenge during every step of his career."

The 32nd Hobey Baker Memorial Award will be presented April 6 in a ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla.

Connolly played in every game at UMD in four seasons, a school-record 166 straight, and finished eighth in program career scoring with 66 goals and 131 assists for 197 points. His point total this season was the highest in eight years, since right winger Junior Lessard recorded 63 in 2003-04, and the second-most in 17 years.

Lessard won the 2004 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, the most-recent of four Bulldogs, following defenseman Tom Kurvers in 1984, winger Bill Watson in 1985 and winger Chris Marinucci in 1994.

Of the past 10 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winners, seven have come from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Last year's winner was senior center Andy Miele of Miami of Ohio.