Let’s Play Hockey and the Herb Brooks Foundation announced the five finalists for the 2017 Mike Richter Award, which honors the most outstanding goaltender in NCAA men’s hockey. The fourth annual award will be presented at the 2017 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four in Chicago.
In alphabetical order, following are the finalists for the 2017 Mike Richter Award:
|Michael Bitzer||Bemidji State||Junior||2355:22||22-14-3||1.71||.932||6||912|
|Hunter Miska||Minnesota Duluth||Freshman||2068:36||24-4-5||2.23||.917||5||856|
|Cal Petersen||Notre Dame||Junior||2191:55||21-11-5||2.14||.928||6||1007|
The finalists combine for a 1.94 goals-against average, a .930 save percentage and a grade-point average of 3.45.
Michael Bitzer • Bemidji State University • Junior
The WCHA Player of the Year and an All-WCHA First Team selection, Michael Bitzer led the Beavers to the WCHA regular season championship while leading the conference in goals-against average (1.71), save percentage (.932), shutouts (6) and wins (22, tied with Michigan Tech’s Angus Redmond). A native of Moorhead, Minn., he posted a 22-14-3 overall record and ranks first in the nation in goals-against average, games played (39), minutes (2355:22), tied for first in shutouts, third in save percentage and tied for seventh in wins. The junior netminder played in all but two games this season for the Beavers, allowing two goals or less 29 times. Bitzer stopped 30 or more shots in nine games this season, and posted a .930 or better save percentage in 20 games. A Hobey Baker Award top 10 finalist, Bitzer is an exercise science major at Bemidji State.
Tanner Jaillet • University Denver • Junior
The NCHC Goaltender of the Year and a member of the All-NCHC First Team, Tanner Jaillet backstopped top-ranked Denver to the NCHC regular season title while leading the conference in save percentage (.930), goals-against average (1.82) and wins (24, tied with UMD’s Hunter Miska). The native of Red Deer, Alberta, owns a 24-5-4 record and ranks third in the nation in goals-against average, tied for fourth in wins, and fifth in save percentage and winning percentage (.788). Jaillet has posted five games with 30 or more saves and has notched a .930 or better save percentage in 19 games this season. The NCHC Player of the Month for January and four-time NCHC Goalie of the Week has started all but six games this season and has allowed two goals or less 29 times. Jaillet is a business information and analytics major at Denver.
Hunter Miska • University of Minnesota Duluth • Freshman
Hunter Miska is a member of the NCHC All-Conference Second Team and was a finalist for both the NCHC Goaltender of the Year and NCHC Rookie of the Year Awards. A native of Stacy, Minn., Miska owns a 24-4-5 record and ranks second in the nation in winning percentage (.803), tied for fourth in wins (24) and shutouts (5), 19th in goals-against average (2.23) and 22nd in save percentage (.917). In backstopping third-ranked Minnesota Duluth to second place in the NCHC regular season and first place at the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, Miska posted nine games with 30 or more saves, including a career-high 38-save effort in a 3-1 win at Denver on Dec. 10. Miska has posted a .930 or better save percentage in 14 games this season and is 11-4-7 in one-goal games on the year. Miska is a business major at UMD.
Cal Petersen • University of Notre Dame • Junior
Cal Petersen backstopped the 12th-ranked Fighting Irish to within one point of a share of the Hockey East regular season championship while leading the conference in save percentage (.928) and shutouts (6), and earning First Team All-Hockey East honors. A native of Waterloo, he owns a 21-11-5 overall record and ranks tied for first in the nation in shutouts, fifth in saves (1,007), seventh in minutes played (2191:55) tied for ninth in save percentage, 12th in goals-against average and wins, and 19th in winning percentage (.635). The junior netminder has started every game and played all but 19 minutes this season for the Irish, allowing two goals or less 23 times. He has stopped 30 or more shots in 15 games this season and has posted a .930 or better save percentage in 16 games. A finalist for the Hockey East Player of the Year Award, Petersen has started 87 consecutive games, dating back to a 5-1 win over Maine on Feb. 7, 2015. A fifth-round pick (129th overall) of the Buffalo Sabres in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Petersen is a management consulting major at Notre Dame.
Charles Williams • Canisius College • Senior (graduate transfer)
The Atlantic Hockey Player of the Year and an All-AHC First Team selection, Charles Williams led the Golden Griffins to their first AHC regular season championship while leading the conference in goals-against average (1.82), save percentage (.943), shutouts (6) and saves (1,016). A native of Canton, Mich., he posted a 21-7-5 overall record and ranks first in the nation in save percentage and shutouts, tied for third in goals-against average, fourth in saves and tied for 12th in wins. The graduate transfer netminder played in all but five games this season for the Griffins, allowing two goals or less 25 times. Williams stopped 30 or more shots in 15 games this season, including a career-high 46 in a 2-2 tie at Air Force on Jan. 14. The six-time AHC Goalie of the Week honoree posted a .930 or better save percentage in 21 games. A Hobey Baker Award top 10 finalist, Williams is a master’s degree candidate in sport administration at Canisius.
The 2017 Mike Richter Award will be presented at ESPN’s #CawlidgeHawkey event at Kitty O’Sheas in the Hilton Chicago (720 S Michigan Ave.) on Friday, April 7 (7 p.m. CT), featuring John Buccigross and Barry Melrose. Fans are encouraged to attend the event, which will feature a Q&A, giveaways, autographs and lots of college hockey talk. More details to be announced next week.
Candidates for the Mike Richter Award were determined by nominations from all 60 NCAA Division I men’s hockey head coaches. The 10 semifinalists, five finalists and winner are selected by a committee of coaches, scouts and members of the media.
Criteria for the Mike Richter Award:
- Candidates must display outstanding skills on the ice
- Candidates should be in good academic standing at an NCAA college or university
- Consideration should be given to academic achievement and sportsmanship
- Candidates must comply with all NCAA rules; be full-time students at an NCAA college or university; and complete 50 percent or more of the season
- Consideration should be given to the candidate’s activities in the community
Past winners: 2016 Thatcher Demko (Boston College), 2015 Zane McIntyre (North Dakota), 2014 Connor Hellebuyck (UMass Lowell)
NOTES: There are four Americans and one Canadian among the finalists • The five finalists represent three different U.S. states – Minnesota with two, followed by Iowa and Michigan with one each • One Canadian province is represented – Alberta • Conference breakdown – NCHC 2, Atlantic Hockey 1, Hockey East 1, WCHA 1 • The finalists include one senior, three juniors and one freshman.