BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The wins keep piling up for Massachusetts defenseman Cale Makar at the Frozen Four.
Some 16 hours after celebrating a 4-3 overtime victory over Denver in the semifinals, Makar won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the nation’s top player Friday.
“In my wildest dreams? Probably,” the sophomore said of the season he the Minutemen are enjoying. “But no. It’s definitely not something I thought could happen in two years.”
The one thing he wouldn’t mind getting was a little rest before UMass (31-9) prepares to play Minnesota Duluth (28-11-2) in the championship game Saturday night.
“Honestly, it’s been a little bit of a whirlwind,” Makar added. “I’m looking forward to just going to bed tonight and getting 11 hours of sleep.”
And his season might not be done after the championship game.
Selected with the fourth pick by Colorado in the 2017 draft, Makar didn’t rule out the possibility of making the jump to the NHL and joining the Avalanche as early as next week for their first-round playoff series against Calgary.
Makar won the Hobey Baker by beating out Harvard’s Adam Fox and St. Cloud State’s Jimmy Schuldt in the first time the award’s three finalists were defensemen.
From Calgary, Alberta, Makar has 49 points in 40 games and is two points from becoming the first defenseman to lead the nation in points.
He was the Hockey East player of the year and the first defenseman in 20 years to lead the conference in points.
The Mike Richter award for top goalie went to Northeastern sophomore Cayden Primeau. He finished 25-9-1 and ranked second in the nation with a .933 save percentage. He’s the son of former NHL forward Keith Primeau and signed an entry level contract with Montreal last month.
Primeau said his father was initially against him playing goal.
“It was a ‘No you’re not doing it because goalies are crazy and goalies parents are even crazier,’” Primeau said with a laugh.
As for what finally convinced his father to allow him to play net, Primeau said: “He got tired of me asking. … And once he let me and I put the pads on, I didn’t look back.”
Wisconsin defenseman Jake Bunz earned the Hockey Humanitarian award for establishing The Fond Blanc Foundation to help orphaned children in Haiti.