UNO junior left wing Ryan Walters was named Thursday one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given to Division I college hockey's top player.
The announcement was made by the Hobey Baker Award Committee at the WCHA Final Five at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Walters earned consideration by scoring 52 points (22-30-52) this season, a total that led the NCAA as of March 19th. He scored points in 28 of his last 32 games (22-27-49). His plus/minus rating of +26 ranks second in the country and is a school record. He finished as the WCHA's scoring champion with 16 goals and 24 assists for 40 points and was named to the All-WCHA First Team and the All-WCHA Academic Team. He was also a WCHA Scholar Athlete.
Walters was named the Hockey Commissioners Association national player of the month for November. Walters had six goals and nine assists for 15 points and a +8 rating in seven games to help the Mavericks to a perfect 7-0-0 record. During that stretch, he scored goals in five straight games. After being held off the board in the first game of the month, he scored at least two points in each of the other six games and extended his point streak into December with two assists in UNO's 3-2 loss at Minnesota December 1st.
With 52 points this season, Walters tied for the second highest single-season point total in school history with the school's all-time leading scorer, Scott Parse, who had seasons of 61 and 52 points as a junior and senior respectively.
Walters' 22 goals are tied with David Brisson (2001-02) for fourth best in UNO history. He has 100 career points, one of just 13 Mavericks to reach that mark. Walters also has played in 114 consecutive games, missing only one in his UNO career.
Parse was the last Maverick to be considered among the top 10 players in the country for the award. He was a finalist in both 2005-06 and 2006-07.
The 10 finalists were selected by voting from all 59 Division I college hockey head coaches and by online fan balloting. The 23-member Selection Committee and an additional round of fan balloting at hobeybakeraward.com now through March 31st 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.
The Hobey Hat Trick (three finalists) will be announced April 3rd and the Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced April 12th from Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh during the NCAA Frozen Four. The award announcement will be televised live that night on the NHL Network at 6 p.m.