Photo credit: Mark Kuhlmann (Scheel)
Penticton Vees alums Jack LaFontaine and Adam Scheel have both been named finalists for the Mike Richter Award, given to the NCAA’s top goaltender.
The Hockey Commissioner’s Association released a “Watch List” of 35 names at the start of the month, but have narrowed that list down to nine finalists.
Jack LaFontaine – Senior – University of Minnesota (Penticton Vees)
LaFontaine is in his second year at Minnesota, after transferring from Michigan, and is the main reason why Golden Gophers sit atop the Big Ten conference standings. The Carolina Hurricanes draft pick holds a record of 17-5-0 this season and ranks near the top of the NCAA in save percentage (.941), goals-against average (1.56) and shutouts (5).
He’s also a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player.
LaFontaine played one season with Penticton in 2018-19 during his transfer year. That season, he finished second in the BCHL in both save percentage (.923) and goals-against average (2.19) and was named the league’s Top Goaltender.
Adam Scheel – Junior – University of North Dakota (Penticton Vees)
Scheel has been as consistent as any goalie in college hockey over the past three seasons. The 21-year-old from Lakewood, Ohio is having his best campagin in the NCAA with a record of 15-3-1, a save percentage of .928, a goals-against average of 1.78 and four shutouts. Last weekend, his North Dakota team clinched the Penrose Cup as NCHC regular-season champions and is either ranked first or second in each of the national polls heading into the final weekend of the regular season.
Scheel had a 19-12-3 record in 2017-18 with Penticton and was named a Second-Team All-Star after finishing with the second-best goals-against average in the league with a mark of 2.08 and the fourth-highest save percentage at .927.
If either goalie were to win the award, they would be the first BCHL alumni to accomplish that milestone.
The winner will be announced in April at the NCAA Frozen Four tournament.
The full list of Mike Richter Award finalists:
Spencer Knight – Boston College
Jack LaFontaine – University of Minnesota
Strauss Mann – University of Michigan
Dryden McKay – Minnesota State University
Mareks Mitens – Lake Superior State University
Keith Petruzzelli – Quinnipiac University
Blake Pietila – Michigan Tech
Adam Scheel – University of North Dakota
Jaxson Stauber – Providence College