March 31, 2005

McKee Named Hobey Hat Trick Finalist

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After taking a look at David McKee’s accomplishments, an observer would have every right to be impressed. Once one considers the fact that McKee has achieved so much in just two college hockey seasons, an observer would have every right to be astounded.

Count the Hobey Baker selection committee in the latter category.

McKee has been named to the Hobey Hat Trick, emblematic of the three finalists for the prestigious award. A pair of Colorado College juniors join McKee as finalists — forwards Marty Sertich and Brett Sterling.

Throughout the Red’s superlative season, McKee took his place among many of Cornell’s goaltending elite, shattering their ostensibly unreachable marks along the way. On Feb. 12, he broke Laing Kennedy’s ’63 record for consecutive games played with his 57th. McKee has now started 67 consecutive games for the Red.

On March 12, he shut out Clarkson, 5-0, in Game 1 of the ECACHL quarterfinal series to break Ken Dryden’s ’69 school record of 13 career shutouts. With his 3-0 shutout of Vermont on March 18 in the ECACHL semifinal in Albany, McKee broke the school record for shutouts in a season, set two years ago by former Hobey Hat Trick finalist David LeNeveu ’05.

“The numbers he’s put up has been near the best any goaltender has put up in the history of college hockey,” Cornell head coach Mike Schafer ’86 said after the team’s ECACHL tournament victory on March 19.

McKee’s statistics have opened eyes across the country. He led the nation with a 1.24 goals against average, the third-best mark in college hockey history. He also was tops in Division I with a .947 save percentage, which was also the third highest mark in the annals of the sport. He was third in winning percentage (.814), and set ECACHL records for save percentage, winning percentage, and shutouts for a season and a career.

While he has benefited from one of the stingiest defensive units in the country, McKee’s individual performance has earned its share of admiration this season.

“His play has been as solid as can be. His competition should be one of the best forwards or one of the best defensemen in the country who’s putting up numbers that equal the best forward in the history of college hockey,” Schafer said. “He’s done it game in, game out, he’s done it in big games. Every one who’s seen him on a regular basis knows how good a goaltender he is.”

The other two Hobey Baker finalists also boast highly accomplished seasons and careers. Sertich is the nation’s leading scorer, having compiled 64 points on 27 goals and 37 assists. Sterling, ranked second in the country in overall scoring behind his linemate, has 63 points, and leads Division I with 34 goals. He is also tops in the nation with 18 power-play goals.

Sterling, a native of Pasedena, Calif., was selected in the fifth round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers. Sertich hails from a highly accomplished hockey family, which includes his father, who was a member of the 1976 U.S. Olympic team.

The 25th annual Hobey Baker award winner will be announced on April 9 at the Frozen Four in Columbus, Ohio.

Archived article by Owen Bochner
Sun Senior Writer