Blues prospect Perunovich among three Hobey Baker finalists

Minnesota Duluth's Scott Perunovich (right) has been nominated for an award recognizing the best player in college hockey.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Duluth defenseman Scott Perunovich, a St. Louis Blues prospect, and two other players were named Thursday as the three finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

North Dakota forward Jordan Kawaguchi and Maine goalie Jeremy Swayman were the other finalists for the award, which is given to the most outstanding player in college hockey.

All three players were juniors this season, before play was halted March 12 because of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Perunovich became the first defenseman to lead the NCHC in scoring, tallying 40 points for the two-time defending champion Bulldogs, who finished second behind North Dakota in conference play. He was a second-round draft pick in 2018 by the Blues, who signed him last week to an entry-level contract.

Kawaguchi had 15 goals and 30 assists to rank second nationally with 45 points for the Fighting Hawks, who won the NCHC regular-season title.

Swayman faced more shots than any other goalie in the country, finishing with the second best save percentage at .939. He started 33 of 34 games for the Black Bears, going 18-11-5. Drafted in the fourth round by Boston in 2017, Swayman signed with the Bruins two weeks ago.

The winner will be announced April 11 during the broadcast of ESPN’s SportsCenter, along with the Mike Richter Award for college hockey’s top goaltender and other postseason honors.

The Hobey Baker Award was commissioned in 1981. It is named for the Hall of Fame member and former Princeton star and Army pilot who died in a plane crash at age 26 on a test flight shortly after the end of World War I.