The Hockey Commissioners Association (HCA) has announced the final three candidates for this year’s Mike Richter Award, given annually to the top goalie in men’s NCAA Division I hockey since 2014. A “Watch List” of 35 was reduced to nine and now, with all programs through conference tournaments, the final three have been chosen. They are: Boston College sophomore Spencer Knight, Minnesota senior Jack LaFontaine, and Minnesota State junior Dryden McKay.
The three finalists include two U.S. natives, and one from Canada. There is one sophomore, one junior and one senior and they hail from the Big Ten, Hockey East and the WCHA (one each.) The winner of this year’s Mike Richter Award will be announced in April during the NCAA Frozen Four. A similar award to recognize the top female goalie in the NCAA was launched this season and the inaugural recipient was Northeastern University senior Aerin Frankel.
Mike Richter enjoyed a phenomenal playing career, highlighted by 14 seasons with the New York Rangers, leading them to the Stanley Cup in 1994, their first in 54 years. A member of the Hall of Fame, Richter was outstanding on a number of USA Hockey Teams, most notably the 1988 Olympic Team, the 1991 Canada Cup Team and as the MVP of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. Mike also played at the University of Wisconsin and earned a degree from Yale University.
Three Finalists for the 2021 Mike Richter Award
Spencer Knight, Boston College
(SO – Darien, CT)
Knight was chosen Hockey East Player of the Year and is a Hobey Baker finalist. His GAA (2.13) and save percentage (.933) reflect his talents, as did his leading Team USA to a gold medal at the World Junior Tournament in January.
Jack LaFontaine, Minnesota
(SR - Mississauga, ON)
Goaltender of the Year in the Big Ten, LaFontaine takes phenomenal numbers into the NCAA Regionals: a 1.74 GAA and a save percentage of .936. He was on the Big Ten First Team and is a Hobey Baker finalist.
Dryden McKay, Minnesota State
(JR – Downers Grove, IL)
Named WCHA Player of the Year, McKay was also named to All Decade Team by the WCHA. His 1.40 GAA and .930 save percentage helped MNSU to the WCHA regular season title and into the NCAA Tournament. He is a Hobey Baker finalist.
Past Richter Award Recipients: 2014 - Connor Hellebuyck, UMass Lowell; 2015 - Zane McIntyre, North Dakota; 2016 - Thatcher Demko, Boston College; 2017 - Tanner Jaillet, Denver; 2018 - Cale Morris, Notre Dame; 2019 - Cayden Primeau, Northeastern; 2020 - Jeremy Swayman, Maine.