Vees alumnus LaFontaine wins Mike Richter Award

University of Minnesota goaltender and Penticton Vees alumnus Jack LaFontaine has won the 2020-21 Mike Richter Award as the NCAA’s top goaltender.

He was also named a First-Team All-American.

The winners of the major college hockey year-end awards were announced today in a live ceremony from the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh, Pa.

From Mississauga, Ont., LaFontaine set school single-season records for save percentage (.934) and goals-against average (1.79), while his five shutouts this year rank tied for the third most in a season by a Gopher.

Among regular NCAA goaltenders this year, the 2016 Carolina Hurricanes draft pick ranked first in wins with 22, tied for first in save percentage, tied for second in shutouts, third in saves (717) and third in goals-against average.

The 23-year-old led Minnesota to a Big Ten tournament championship and an appearance in the NCAA’s Frozen Four tournament.

He also won several other individual awards this year, including Big Ten Goaltender of the Year, Most Outstanding Player at the conference tournament and was named a Big Ten First-Team All-Star.

LaFontaine beat out Boston College sophomore Spencer Knight and Minnesota State University junior Dryden McKay for the honour.

LaFontaine played one season with Penticton in 2018-19 during his transfer year after spending two years with the University of Michigan. In his lone BCHL season, he finished second in the league in both save percentage (.923) and goals-against average (2.19) and was named the league’s Top Goaltender.

He is the first BCHL grad to ever win the Mike Richter Award.

Due to a change in NCAA eligibility rules because of COVID-19, LaFontaine has already announced he is returning to the Gophers for a fifth and final season next year.