Of the nine finalists for the Mike Richter Award — given annually to the top goaltender in men’s college hockey — that were announced on Friday, more than half have ties to The Rick Live region.
Minnesota State junior Dryden McKay, who is from suburban Chicago, is considered the favorite by some after putting up eye-popping numbers for the Mavericks for the second year in a row. Not far behind is Gophers senior Jack LaFontaine, who is from suburban Toronto, and has backstopped his team to the top of the Big Ten standings this season.
Also representing the Big Ten on the list is former Fargo Force goalie Strauss Mann, a junior at Michigan who hails from Greenwich, Conn. Another junior, North Dakota’s Adam Scheel of Lakewood, Ohio, is among the finalists, as is Jaxon Stauber, who is a sophomore at Providence (after transferring from Minnesota State). He is the son of former Gophers star goalie Robb Stauber and played prep hockey at Holy Family Catholic.
The four other finalists for the Richter, which is given out on Friday of Frozen Four weekend, are Spencer Knight of Boston College, Mareks Mitens of Lake Superior State, Keith Petruzzelli of Quinnipiac and Blake Pietila of Michigan Tech.
Current Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck from UMass Lowell won the first Richter Award in 2014, and North Dakota’s Zane McIntyre captured the honor a year later. It is named after the former Wisconsin goalie who led the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup in 1994.
Women's Goalie of the Year finalists named
At the same time as the Richter finalists were announced, the Hockey Commissioners Association also revealed the eight finalists for the Women’s Hockey Goalie of the Year Award, which is also announced during the Frozen Four in March.
After playing both boys and girls high school hockey in Forest Lake, Minn., Josie Bothun has had a standout freshman season at Penn State, and is one of two college hockey newcomers on the finalists list. She is joined by Minnesota Duluth junior Emma Soderberg, who is from Sweden, and Wisconsin senior Kennedy Blair, who was a star for the Bismarck Blizzard prep program and played three years at Mercyhurst before transferring to the Badgers.
Other finalists for the women’s award are Sandra Abstreiter of Providence, Andrea Braendli of Ohio State, Aerin Frankel of Northeastern, Kayle Osborne of Colgate and Loryn Porter of Maine.