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Keaton Walock is breaking records and bringing a spotlight to Northfield hockey

The senior goaltender has broken the official (and tied the unofficial) MSHSL record for regular-season career shutouts and is one of the best goalies in Northfield history.

A goaltender wearing maroon, yellow, and white, stops a puck in front of the net.
Senior Keaton Walock of Northfield makes a save in a game against Osseo.
Contributed. Jim Wellbrock

NORTHFIELD, Minn. — Senior goaltender Keaton Walock has been breaking school and state records, turning heads to the Northfield program and shining a spotlight on southern Minnesota hockey.

Walock has 21 regular season shutouts over his three seasons on varsity, which surpasses the previous record of 17 listed on the MSHSL website . The unofficial record is 21, held by Nick Althaus of St. Cloud, so the Northfield goaltender has technically tied that number, but Althaus' record was not reported to the MSHSL and is not listed on its website.

The senior has the most shutouts and the best win percentage in program history for the Raiders and will be top-three in the number of career overall saves at the end of the season. This puts him in the same company as Riley Gill and Ryan Bielenberg . Gill went on to play professionally in the ECHL, SPHL, and AHL after playing Division I at Western Michigan University while Bielenberg brought Northfield to its lone state tourney appearance back in 2017.

With a career high of nine shutouts this year in the regular season, Walock has helped push Northfield to a 20-5 overall record and to the No. 1 seed in Section 1A. The team is hoping to make another trip to St. Paul.

Charlie Cloud, the assistant coach for the Raiders, said that the senior goaltender has been a big part of the team's success this season.


"Being a third-year starter, he's a big piece of that. We've got some really good skill guys at forward and defense, so they just play with so much more confidence knowing that they've got him back there and he can pick us up if they make any mistakes in front of him," said Cloud.

Walock has given up only three goals in the past five games for Northfield, with three of those five games being shutouts.

"We have really good depth, which can be hard in single-A. We have good offensive power and a strong, tight D-core," said Walock on the Northfield squad, who've been playing together since they were little kids.

A hockey goalie leads his team onto the ice.
Senior goaltender Keaton Walock of Northfield leads his team onto the ice.
Contributed. Jim Wellbrock

The Raiders were a top team last year in 2022 but were unfortunately upset by New Prague in the Section 1A semifinal in overtime.

Walock, originally born in Idaho, moved to the Faribault/Northfield area when he was around 2 years old. He didn't come from a hockey family, and didn't even become a goalie until the age of about 8 or 9. He immediately fell in love with the position though and has been playing it ever since.

"The hockey community in Northfield is awesome; all the kids know your name, the parents are always thanking you, we always come out here for mites every weekend and I help out with goalie clinics every week too. It's really interactive from when you start out, all the way up to high school," said Walock.

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The 6-foot senior started playing varsity his sophomore season of high school. His first year he rotated off with another goaltender, but posted four shutouts and a .921 save percentage over 11 games. Since then, Walock has been a top netminder in the state, earning a .927 save percentage in 2022-23 with a 1.38 goals against average.

"He's a great kid, he's a funny kid. He likes to keep things loose. He's not wearing a letter, but he's our heart and soul leader," said Cloud. "We do team video sessions and one day he did a PowerPoint presentation joking about how he could try to skate out and score a goal."


Even though Walock tends to be a joker off the ice, he has a much different demeanor when it's game time.

"It's a completely different person. He'll show up to the rink with his game face on and completely dialed in. He's got the 'eye of the tiger' look," added Cloud.

And Walock hasn't had the easiest path to becoming a successful athlete either, as he's had to find ways to work through his type 1 diabetes.

"He has a tracker that he wears on the ice, if his numbers get low then he'll know. He always has healthy snacks ready to go and he's got it completely under control and it hasn't affected him in a long time," said Cloud.

Although Walock may not be a household name yet for high school hockey fans, he is on his way to be one. He has the second most wins in the state, only behind Warroad's Hampton Slukynsky , and he is top 10 in goals against average and top 20 in save percentage.

"I'm really good at cross-ice, reading plays, and standing my ground. I don't really sink back and I don't get beat backdoor too much, I'm pretty quick cross-crease," said Walock on his strengths in net.

As for his future, the Northfield goaltender isn't quite sure yet of what he'll do in the fall. He is considering playing junior hockey or going to college to study occupational therapy. Being from a small-town program and also being a goalie, finding spots to play on a junior hockey team can be a big challenge. Earning a trip to the state tournament could help give the Raider goaltender the exposure that he needs.

Northfield is the No. 1 seed in Section 1A and earns a first-round bye. They will play the winner of Rochester Lourdes (No. 8) and Waseca (No. 9) in the quarterfinals on Thursday, Feb. 23, and will continue their season from there.


Sydney Wolf is a reporter for The Rink Live, primarily covering youth and high school hockey. She joined the team in November of 2021 and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric Studies.
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