WASHINGTON (AP) – From walk-on to award-winner, Boston University senior defenseman Matt Gilroy received the Hobey Baker Memorial Award on Friday night as the top college hockey player.

The second Terrier to win the award following Chris Drury in 1998, Gilroy was selected over fellow finalists Colin Wilson of BU and Northeastern goalie Brad Thiessen.

Gilroy walked on to BU as a freshman but leaves as captain of the team that will play Miami University on Saturday night in the NCAA title game.

“Four years ago sitting on my couch at home, talking to my dad, my junior career was over and I had nowhere to go,” Gilroy said. “I think I e-mailed every team in the country. I tried calling every team in the country. No one was interested at all.”

A BU assistant coach took notice. Gilroy worked his way onto the team, shifted from forward to defense and turned into an iron man, playing in 145 consecutive games. This season, he had eight goals and 28 assists in 43 games. He led all Hockey East defenseman in scoring and ranked third in the nation.

Gilroy, from North Bellmore, N.Y., wears jersey No. 97 in memory of his brother, Timmy, who died in a bicycle accident at a young age.

“Seeing that jersey and the number I wear for my brother, I get goose bumps every time I walk in the locker room,” Gilroy said.

Gilroy made sure to thank his parents at the ceremony – for good reason. He didn’t get a scholarship until his junior year, then lost it in his senior year because coach Jack Parker was certain his talented player would turn pro.

“I was pretty mad,” Gilroy said. “My first reaction was not too happy. I remember calling coach and like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ Then I realized what was done. It’s worked out for the best – except for my dad. He’s had to pay a lot of money for me, and I hope I can pay him back one day.”

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