BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Feb. 26, 2021 – The Western Collegiate Hockey Association leads all conferences with three goaltenders among the nine finalists for the 2021 Mike Richter Award. The finalists were announced today by the Hockey Commissioners Association.
Finalists from the WCHA are Mareks Mitens of Lake Superior State, Blake Pietila of Michigan Tech and 2020 Richter Award finalist Dryden McKay of Minnesota State.
One of the top goaltenders in the country over the last two seasons, Dryden McKay boasts a 15-1-0 record with a WCHA-best 1.14 GAA, a WCHA-leading .941 save percentage and an NCAA-topping eight shutouts in 16 outings this season. He recently broke the WCHA career shutout mark with his 22nd whitewash on Feb. 12 at Alabama Huntsville. McKay also authored 217:37-minute scoreless streak from Dec. 18, 2020 to Jan. 16, 2021 that ranks as the ninth-longest streak in WCHA history and made the Downers Grove, Ill., native the first netminder in WCHA history to author two 200+ minute streaks. McKay posted a 234:25 run last season that ranks No. 5 in league history.
Mareks Mitens sits third in the WCHA in goals against average with a 1.89 mark that stands as the eighth-best average nationally. The Ventspils, Latvia, native’s .934 save percentage ranks 10th in the NCAA and third in the league. He picked up his first shutout of the season in a rare 0-0 tie with Michigan Tech on Nov. 21 en route to earning WCHA Goaltender of the Month honors in the season’s opening month. He picked up his 30th career win on Feb. 19 against Alabama Huntsville to move into 10th on the Lake Superior State career list.
Michigan Tech’s Blake Pietila ranks fifth nationally in save percentage with a .938 mark for the Huskies this season. His three shutouts rank second in the WCHA and tied for seventh nationally. The Howell, Mich., native’s 1.67 GAA is also the second-best mark in the WCHA and is No. 6 in the NCAA. He joins Mitens and McKay as one of eight NCAA netminders with 16 or more starts who have a GAA below 2.00.
McKay, Mitens and Pietila are joined as finalists by Boston College’s Spencer Knight, Minnesota’s Jack LaFontaine, Michigan’s Strauss Mann, Quinnipiac’s Keith Petruzzelli, North Dakota’s Adam Scheel and Providence’s Jaxson Stauber.
The Mike Richter Award has been presented annually since 2014 to the top goalie in men’s NCAA Division I hockey. The award was previously administered by “Let’s Play Hockey” magazine.
The winner of this year’s Mike Richter Award will be announced in April during the NCAA Frozen Four.
About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Men’s League
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association, among the most historic, tradition-rich and successful conferences in all of collegiate athletics, is marking its 69th season of men’s competition in 2020-21. The 10-team NCAA Division I conference consists of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (Chargers), the University of Alaska Anchorage (Seawolves), the University of Alaska (Nanooks), Bemidji State University (Beavers), Bowling Green State University (Falcons), Ferris State University (Bulldogs), Lake Superior State University (Lakers), Michigan Technological University (Huskies), Minnesota State University (Mavericks) and Northern Michigan University (Wildcats). For more information, visit wcha.com.