Calderone and Marody nominated for Hobey Baker Award after prowess in Minneapolis
In its entire history, the Michigan hockey team has seen just two players claim a Hobey Baker Award: Kevin Porter in 2007-08 and Brendan Morrison in 1996-97.
And given the Wolverines’ (5-7-2 Big Ten, 10-10-2 overall) performance this past weekend against then-No. 9 Minnesota (4-9-1, 13-12-1), it’s no surprise that senior forward Tony Calderone and junior forward Cooper Marody were nominated Monday for the same award that solidified Porter and Morrison as Michigan hockey legends.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” Marody said. “I remember when I came in right at my freshman year and I walked into this room that was a lounge at one time, and the Hobey Baker trophies were there and above was a picture with the two Hobey Baker winners – Brendan Morrison and Porter – and coach (Red) Berenson told me, he said, ‘You see those right there? Go get one.’ ”
That memory certainly seems like more of a reality now.
Marody and Calderone lead the team in points with 31 and 27, respectively, and steered the Wolverines to an unexpected sweep of the Golden Gophers.
“Obviously, you know they’ve had good years,” said Michigan coach Mel Pearson. “ … I’m glad they were recognized for it. Obviously, they can’t do it without a lot of help from other people, but good for them, they both deserve to be nominated and recognized for the starts they’ve had so far.”
The pair – in conjunction with senior forward Dexter Dancs – are no strangers to the spotlight as almost 40% of Michigan’s total points run through them.
But are either of them worthy of the highest honor in collegiate hockey?
Let’s put it in context of the Wolverines’ biggest and most successful series of the season thus far.
Mariucci Arena – Minnesota’s home rink – is one of the most hostile environments in all of college hockey, but Marody managed to give Michigan a 3-1 lead both Friday and Saturday. They were much-needed insurance goals to solidify its two victories.
Calderone, despite his uncommon goal-less weekend, racked up three assists, one of which was to Dancs to get the Wolverines on the board first Friday.
To say that Marody and Calderone generated all of the Michigan offense this weekend would be a farce, as the sweep can be attributed to a complete revival – a rev of the Wolverines’ offensive engine.
“You see one guy working, shoveling, and then maybe three or four guys just leaning on their shovels watching, and I think we’ve been a little bit like that,” Pearson said. “Lately, all the guys are getting their hands dirty.”
Junior forward Brendan Warren certainly can be considered one of those guys, netting two goals Friday that ultimately helped award him the Big Ten First Star of the Week.
However, their combined plus-minus of three is worth noting to consider the impact of their prowess.
At face value, Calderone’s team-leading 15 goals – which ties for seventh in the nation – and Marody’s 31 points are considerable accolades. But, the recent success of the pair wasn’t always a given in the up-and-down season the Wolverines are having.
They were scoreless against Ohio State in Columbus, Michigan State in East Lansing and Notre Dame in South Bend. While the Michigan offense – if one were to look at the season in its entirety – has been reliant on Marody and Calderone, their performance has ultimately been inconsistent.
“I think this weekend might’ve shown that we can do it against good teams,” Calderone said of the Selection Committee’s process. “But they’ve probably looked at our whole season and I think we’ve done pretty well … but last weekend definitely helped.”
If the weekend against the Golden Gophers tells fans one thing, it’s that the Wolverines’ play is much better when the pair is on its game.
And the question remains, can they keep it up?
The Hobey Baker Award Selection Committee will be watching.