ST. PAUL (AP) -- Minnesota defenseman Jordan Leopold and New Hampshire forward Darren Haydar are two of the finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, college hockey's version of the Heisman Trophy.
St. Cloud State's Mark Hartigan is the other, but Leopold and Haydar are considered the front-runners to be named the nation's top player Friday afternoon.
But Haydar, the nation's leading scorer with 76 points, and Leopold, whose 20 goals are tops among defensemen, both insist they're not bothered by the Hobey hype.
"The team has definitely rallied behind me," said Haydar, whose Wildcats face Maine on Thursday. "It's made them push a little harder. Individual awards are a measure of team success. This team has done a lot for me, and I hope I do the same for them."
Leopold's Gophers play Michigan in Thursday's second semifinal.
"It's mostly up to me if I want it to be a distraction," he said. "I need to worry about that on Friday. We are playing on Thursday."
LONG LAYOFF: To avoid conflicting with the NCAA men's and women's basketball Final Fours, the Frozen Four is again being played two weeks after the quarterfinals.
The consensus Wednesday was that the wait was too long.
"I ran out of drills halfway through the year," joked Maine's interim coach Tim Whitehead. "I certainly doubt we'll have any new ones on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday."
Minnesota coach Don Lucia didn't have to worry about traveling, since the Xcel Energy Center is less than 8 miles from campus. The Gophers played there three weeks ago in the WCHA Final Five.
BACK HOME: While forward Grant Potulny, a native of Grand Forks, N.D., is Minnesota's only player from out of state, there are only two others from the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Maine junior Tom Reimann, who plays both forward and defense, is from Blaine and New Hampshire sophomore defenseman Tim Horst is from South St. Paul.
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