CHANHASSEN, Minn.- Let's Play Hockey and the Herb Brooks Foundation announced Friday morning the 20 goaltenders named to the watch list for the 2017 Mike Richter Award. Lake Superior State junior goaltender Gordon Defiel was one of five Western Collegiate Athletic Conference goaltenders included on the early-season watch list.
The award honors the most outstanding goaltender in NCAA Division I men's hockey, with the winner announced at the 2017 NCAA Frozen Four in Chicago.
An All-WCHA Third Team selection last season, Defiel tied for 14th nationally with a .926 save percentage and ranked 30th among goaltenders that played at least 50 percent of their team's minutes in net with a 2.47 goals-against average. Last year's save percentage tied Defiel with Jayme Platt for fifth all-time in LSSU history and his goals-against mark was the 10th-best in program history.
Against WCHA opponents in 2015-16, Defiel produced a record of 9-7-4 and tied for a league-leading .934 save percentage and ranked sixth with a 2.16 goals-against average. His three shutouts last season boosted the Stillwater, Minn., native into a tie with John Grahame and Duffy Lewis for fourth place on the LSSU all-time shutouts list with seven.
Defiel also excels in the classroom, taking home 2015-16 WCHA Scholar Athlete honors for achieving a 3.5 grade-point average or higher in Business Management.
Four other WCHA goaltenders join Defiel on the watch list: Bemidji State's Michael Bitzer, Chris Nell (Bowling Green), Cole Huggins (Minnesota State) and Atte Tolvanen (Northern Michigan).
Mike Richter Award candidates are determined by nominations from all 60 NCAA Division I men's hockey head coaches and the finalists and winner are selected by a committee of coaches, scouts and members of the media. Candidates must display outstanding skills on the ice and be in good academic standing at their institution. Consideration will be given to academic achievement and sportsmanship as well.
About Let's Play Hockey: In its 45th season and based in the Twin Cities, Let's Play Hockey is the longest-running hockey newspaper in the U.S., serving the largest hockey market in the nation. Let's Play Hockey is published 29 times a year – weekly during the hockey season and monthly during the offseason.
About the Herb Brooks Foundation: The Herb Brooks Foundation is dedicated to growing the game of hockey and giving the game back to the kids. Founded in 2003 by Dan Brooks and Kelly Brooks Paradise, Herb's family and friends created the foundation to preserve his legacy by continuing his life's work by growing the game by "making hockey fun for kids and letting them learn to love the game the way we did."