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Saturday, May 18, 2024
Wisconsin Mens Hockey McClellan

McClellan nominated for prestigious goaltender award

Amid a stellar season, the Badgers’ goaltender now finds himself among the favorites for the honorable Mike Richter Award.

The Hockey Commissioners Association (HCA) announced on Feb. 14 Wisconsin goaltender Kyle McClellan is among 10 semifinalists for the prestigious Mike Richter Award, bestowed upon the best NCAA Division I goaltender.

McClellan, a senior in his first season starting for the Badgers, ascended to stardom this season, boasting a .923 save percentage — best among goalies in the NCAA — and is also tied for the win lead, accruing 20 wins in 27 starts. He’s played the eighth-most minutes of any goalie with 1,591 and allows 1.89 goals a game on average, a huge contribution to a Wisconsin team currently ranked No. 4 in the nation.

Before he was a Badger, McClellan played at Mercyhurst University, transferring after his sophomore season. He is in his second season at Wisconsin, coming off a rough 2022-23 season in which he went 3-6-0 in 12 starts but showing vast improvement this season with a 20-6-1 record. His save percentage has climbed almost 50 points, and he owns an NCAA-leading six shutouts. 

Awarded since 2014, the Mike Richter Award is the NCAA top honor for hockey goaltenders. Past winners include Thatcher Demko, the winningest goalie in the NHL this season for the Vancouver Canucks, and Jeremy Swayman, who currently holds the third-highest save percentage in the league for the Boston Bruins. 

McClellan earned several other awards this season, including the HCA’s National Goaltender of the Month honors in December and four Big Ten Star Awards this season. He’s also up for the Hobey Baker Award for the best overall player. 

Award finalists will be announced on March 20. A Wisconsin player has won the award twice: Cole Caufield in 2020-21 and Blake Geoffrion in 2009-10.

Winners will be announced in April at the Frozen Four national championships in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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