If you’ve kept your eye on the college hockey news circuit lately, you’re probably well aware of the multitude notable accomplishments of Buffalo Jr. Sabres alumni Parker Gahagen.
Gahagen, an Amherst, NY native now in his senior year at Army West Point, was recently named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, one of the most prestigious accolades in college hockey.
Hobey Baker nominees must display a number of qualities, including: strength and character, both on and off the ice; outstanding skills in all phases of the game; and scholastic achievement and sportsmanship.
Gahagen has appeared in all 27 games for the Black Knights this season, going 12-11-4. He’s managed a career-best 1.88 GAA and respectable .936 save percentage in over 1,626 minutes played. His season has also included a chance to return back home to Buffalo, when Army faced Canisius on February 3 and 4. That series marked Gahagen’s first time playing an NCAA game in Buffalo since November 2015.
While he’s certainly having a spectacular senior year – and a Hobey nomination may just be the icing on the cake – Gahagen’s solid play is nothing new.
Last season, Gahagen set the single-season Army record for save percentage, and led the nation in that statistic. He also recorded the second-best GAA in program history, and had a career-high four shutouts – a stat he’s since bested, with five shutouts this season to date.
For those who have seen Gahagen play previously, his success at the college level comes as no surprise. The 2011 graduate of Williamsville North High School was named the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s Hockey Player of the Year in 2011 and garnered OJHL Goaltender of the Year runner-up honors during his time with the Jr. Sabres.
Gahagen spent two seasons with the Jr. Sabres, appearing in 81 regular-season games and 18 playoff games between 2011 and 2013. He posted records of 21-11-3 and 29-10-4, with goals-against averages of 3.14 and 2.55 in the regular season. Of his 50 regular-season victories in the OJHL, nine were shutouts.
Here’s what others have said about the Jr. Sabres alumni:
“Gahagen is a difference-maker on the back end, then, and right now seems to have the Black Knights well-positioned for a winning season for the first time in almost a decade.” – Ryan Lambert, Yahoo! Sports
“…. the success is just a continuation of last year and a sign of his upward arc since his freshman season. – Jashvina Shah, College Hockey News
“Gahagen excels across all pillars at the Academy and is recognized by not only his teammates, but the academy’s leadership, for his accomplishments. Academically, Gahagen boasts a 3.332 grade-point average and ranks in the top half of his class.” – Senior Class Award
Gahagen is one of two Buffalo Jr. Sabres alumni playing NCAA Division I hockey for the Army West Point Black Knights this season. Joining him is freshman forward Zach Evancho, who captained the Jr. Sabres last season before heading off for collegiate hockey.
Fans can vote for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award here. The second phase of fan voting begins March 16 with the top 10 candidates; the award will be presented to the winner on April 7 in a ceremony in Chicago, IL.