Monday, July 28, 2014

Fort native earns ‘Hobey’ nomination

A Fort Frances product who once shone for his hometown junior squad has an opportunity to be recognized as the best U.S. college hockey has to offer.
Goalie Ryan Faragher was one of 68 players nominated last week for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which is given to the top player in the American collegiate ranks.

The 23-year-old is having a standout year in his junior season with the NCAA Division I St. Cloud State Huskies based in St. Cloud, Mn., going 11-3-3 with a 2.28 GAA and .912 save percentage.
Faragher, who went 37-31-3 for the Fort Frances Jr. Sabres in the SIJHL from 2007-09, wasn’t available for comment by press time.
But Huskies’ head coach Bob Motzko had plenty to say about his No. 1 puck-stopper.
“Ryan is the backbone of our team, and has the respect of our entire team and all who follow,” he lauded.
“Our team believes each and every night we have a chance to win because of the faith they have in Ryan,” Motzko added.
“Most important is Ryan delivers with a high-level performance every time out for us.”
Faragher went 9-11-3 in his freshman season at St. Cloud State two years ago.
Then he turned in a terrific 24-14-1 record, with a 2.27 GAA and .914 save percentage, last year in helping the Huskies reach the NCAA “Frozen Four” national championship tournament for the first time in the school’s history.
The 6’2”, 205-pound netminder may be having an even better season for the Huskies in their first year of play in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference after leaving the Western Collegiate Hockey Association at the end of last year.
“Ryan is becoming a very seasoned goalie now in his upper-class years,” noted Motzko.
“He has great leadership qualities and an outstanding work ethic, which he brings each and every day.
“He has played a lot of hockey for us over his career and continues to work on his game to improve all areas,” Motzko added.
“He is a winner in every aspect as an athlete and person.
“Honour roll student, extraordinary work ethic, and talent make for a very special young man.”
If he claims the award, Faragher would join a prestigious group of past winners, such as Buffalo Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller, San Jose Sharks’ defenceman Matt Carle, and St. Louis Blues’ defenceman Jordan Leopold.
“The first part of this is it shows Ryan is having an outstanding season on the ice,” said Motzko.
“It’s what’s behind the scenes that make Ryan special,” he stressed. “This award is more than what happens on the ice.
“Yes, you must be having a special season of play. But to be a candidate, he must have all the qualities of a leader that come out in school and life away from the rink.
“Ryan has all these areas covered with exceptional effort and talent,” Motzko noted.
“[He has had] a terrific season thus far leading our team. . . .
“We have half the season left to keep gaining attention for the award and we have all the faith in him,” he added.
Online voting is now open to those wanting to support Faragher’s cause, with the selection committee using the vote count as part of their determination of which players will advance to the top 10.
As of early yesterday afternoon, Faragher was running solidly in fourth place with 3,249 votes.
He trailed only defenceman Shayne Gostisbehere of the Union College Dutchmen from Schenectady, N.Y. (4,898), defenceman Ben Hutton of the Maine Black Bears (4,802), and forward Johnny Gaudreau of the Boston College Eagles (4,599).
Visit www.hobeybaker.com and click on the “So Vote Hobey Now” link on the home page.
Then find Faragher’s picture (fourth row from the bottom) and click on the “Vote” link.
People are allowed to vote once a day from each IP address.
The award will be handed out April 13.

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