The Mike Richter Award is given annually to the top goaltender in NCAA Division One Men's Ice Hockey. The Award has only been around since 2014 but has already been won by some phenomenal goaltenders including Vezina Trophy winner, Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets and Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks. So, who will be next to win the prestigious award?
Spencer Knight – Boston College Eagles/Florida Panthers
Expectations were high for the former 13th overall pick coming into his sophomore season.
Despite the bright lights, Spencer Knight did not miss a beat, opening the season with back-to-back shutouts against Providence College before heading to the World Junior Championship (WJC) in Alberta with Team USA.
Knight continued to impress at the WJC, putting up an outstanding .940 save percentage and backstopping the US to their first gold metal in four years.
After returning to Boston College, Knight has kept up his stellar play and is leading Hockey East in save percentage and goals against average (1.98 GAA, .937 SV%). He also leads the Conference in wins with a record of 14-2-1 and is a big reason why the Eagles are currently ranked No. 2 in the nation.
Knight is definitely the front-runner for the award and if he keeps up his play, it’s hard to imagine him getting beat out.
Dryden McKay – Minnesota State Mavericks/Free Agent
If you’ve paid attention to college hockey in the past few years, you know the name Dryden McKay.
McKay has put up video game numbers for Minnesota State for the past few years. This season, he leads the nation in shutouts (8) and goals against average and is fifth nationally in save percentage (1.30 GAA, .933 SV%).
The junior goaltender is also second in the nation in wins with a record of 15-2-1 in 18 starts and has backstopped his team to No. 4 in the national rankings. However, unfortunately for McKay, Minnesota State’s strength of schedule is not very good this season; the Mavericks have played just one team ranked in the top 15.
If McKay wants a chance to beat out Spencer Knight, the Mavericks are going to have to make a run to the Frozen four and prove that McKay can be great against better competition.
Jack Lafontaine – Minnesota Golden Gophers/Carolina Hurricanes
As the Minnesota Golden Gopher’s starting goaltender, Jack Lafontaine has been busy this year starting 22 of the Gopher’s first 24 games.
Lafontaine currently ranks among the best in college hockey this year in almost every category. The alternate captain for the Gophers leads all NCAA goalies with 17 wins this season (17-5-0).
He ranks second nationally in goals against average, third in save percentage (1.56 GAA, .943 SV%) and is second in shutouts (5). Lafontaine’s strong play has propelled the Gophers up the rankings and they currently sit at second in the Big Ten Conference and No. 3 in the nation.
As of right now, Lafontaine is on the outside looking in. However, if the Gophers can win the Big Ten Conference later this month, Lafontaine will have a chance to make a late push.
Keith Petruzelli – Quinnipiac Bobcats/Detroit Red Wings
The senior goaltender and 88th overall pick in the 2017 draft has had an interesting career at Quinnipiac. With high expectations, Petruzelli struggled in his first two seasons with the Bobcats before emerging as a star in his junior season.
Now a senior, Petruzelli has really found his groove. He is currently third in the nation in shutouts (4) as well as second in wins with a record of 16-5-4.
He also ranks in the top eight nationally in both goals against per average and save percentage (1.68 GAA, .931 SV%). Petruzelli’s solid play has helped Quinnipiac climb the rankings and are currently ranked No. 10 in the nation.
Despite all this, Petruzelli is quite a long shot. Unless the Bobcats make an incredible run to the Frozen Four, He won’t have the voter appeal that other goaltenders on this list have.