Three former Penticton Vees goaltenders have been added to the growing list of ex-Vees up for prestigious college hockey awards.
Netminders Zach Driscoll, Jack LaFontaine, and Adam Scheel have been named to the watch list for the Mike Richter Award, given to college hockey’s top goaltender. The nominees were announced by the Hockey Commissioners Association (HCA) Tuesday (Feb. 2).
LaFontaine was also one of the three former Vees nominated Monday for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top player in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
LaFontaine has been one of the best goaltenders to man the crease in the NCAA this season, leading the University of Minnesota to 13 wins in his 16 appearances. The Mississauga, Ontario native has an impressive 1.38 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage with three shutouts in his senior season with the Golden Gophers. LaFontaine played a key part in his season in Penticton during the 2018/19 campaign, winning 30 games with a 2.19 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage with three shutouts in 45 games played.
Driscoll has his name listed for the Mike Richter Award for the second straight season. The Apple Valley, Minnesota native has put up solid numbers this year in his senior season at Bemidji State University, posting a 2.35 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage while holding a record of 6-4-2 in 12 games with the Beavers. Driscoll donned a Vees jersey for one season, during the 2015/16 campaign, posting a 21-4-0 record in 26 games played to go along with a 1.90 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage while registering four shutouts in his time in Penticton.
Now into his junior season with the University of North Dakota, Scheel has taken over the reins as the number one goaltender for the Fighting Hawks, putting up a 12-3-1 record in 17 games played between the pipes this season. The Lakewood, Ohio native has produced a 1.99 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage so far in his third season with North Dakota to go along with three shutouts. Scheel played the 2017/18 season in Penticton and made a lasting impression. The goalie played in 45 games with the team and posted a 29-12-0 record, coupled with a 2.08 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage along with three shutouts.
A committee of voters, made up of a cross-section of coaches, administrators, scouts and media, will pare the watch list down to approximately 15 names within the next two weeks. The winner will be ultimately chosen in April during the NCAA Frozen Four Championship. The three former Vees are part of six former BC Hockey League goaltenders to make the watch list.