Omaha’s Simon Latkoczy stays hot and earns first NCAA shutout in win over Miami
The Slovakian goalie prospect has now won six of his last seven starts and his confidence continues to grow
OMAHA, Neb. – When you’re hot, you’re hot. That’s life for Omaha goaltender Simon Latkoczy right now.
Latkoczy has won six of his last seven starts, including three straight. The freshman has stopped 159 of the 167 shots fired his way in that stretch, including all 21 Saturday night, and has allowed two or fewer goals in all seven starts.
That 21-save performance earned the freshman his first collegiate shutout in a 2-0 NCHC win over Miami.
“I thought he was elite,” Omaha head coach Mike Gabinet said after the game. “Those are tough games for goaltenders at times where you go through a little stretch without seeing a lot of shots and have to make some key saves. And he did exactly that.
“He made some key saves at key moments to keep the lead and keep it a scoreless game.”
Gabinet’s Mavericks have won five straight and currently sit third in the NCHC standings, just two points behind Denver and St. Cloud State. Omaha (13-9-2, 8-5-1) polished off its second consecutive sweep after beating Minnesota Duluth 3-2 and 6-1 at home last weekend.
The tandem of AIC transfer Jake Kucharski and Latkoczy are a big reason why, Saturday night being the latest example.
“It’s a pretty awesome feeling, especially to get my first NCAA shutout,” Latkoczy said. “The guys made it way easier for me, so the (credit) goes to them. We played great hockey.”
Latkoczy now sits at 6-2-0 on the season with a .921 save percentage and 1.95 goals against.
The Trencin, Slovakia native impressed at the World Junior Championships and some thought he’d be picked in the later rounds of last summer’s NHL draft. Although Latkoczy went undrafted, he remains an intriguing prospect going forward.
Coming into this season, Latkoczy was one of the NCHC’s most promising rookie goaltenders. It's showing why.
“He just keeps on getting better and better,” Gabinet said. “With both of our goalies from where they were when they started the season to where they are now is quite a jump. And they’re just continuing to build.
“Simon’s got a tremendous work ethic, a great young man and shows up every day hungry to get better. He’s doing just that.”
Latkoczy came to Omaha after three USHL seasons. He hoisted the Clark Cup with Chicago in 2021 and led Madison on an improbable run to the Clark Cup Final last spring but ultimately fell to Sioux City.
He became the first goaltender in USHL history to appear in back-to-back Clark Cup Finals with two different teams in the process.
After allowing four goals in each of his first two starts this season — a 4-3 loss to Niagara and a game where he was pulled at Lake Superior State — he’s continued to settle in and grow more confident by the start.
Latkoczy said the biggest thing he’s improved this season is his focus. His angles and ability to read the play have also continued to improve and were fully on display Saturday night.
“Everybody’s excited for him and especially a guy that’s been working so hard,” Gabinet said. “Rob (Couturier) our goalie coach has been spending so much time with him and helping these guys develop, and it’s exciting.”
“I think that I’m improving every day, which I’m really happy about,” Latkoczy added. “And I think that’s the biggest goal I can achieve. To be better than I was yesterday.”