University of Maine junior goaltender Victor Ostman is one of nine semifinalists for the Mike Richter Award, which goes to the nation’s top NCAA Division I goalie.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Ostman is 12-9-2 with a 2.15 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage.
The other semifinalists are seniors Ryan Bischel (Notre Dame), Magnus Chrona (Denver), Justen Close (Minnesota), Mitchel Gibson (Harvard) and Blake Pietila (Michigan Tech), junior Devon Levi (Northeastern) and sophomores Jakub Dobes (Ohio State) and Yaniv Perets (Quinnipiac).
Levi won it last year.
Three finalists will be announced early next month and the winner will be unveiled during the Frozen Four in Tampa in April.
Ostman is vying to become the second UMaine goalie in four years to win the award. Jeremy Swayman, now a goalie for the Boston Bruins, won it for the Black Bears in 2020.
The award is named after the United States Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Mike Richter, who spent 14 seasons in the New York Rangers organization and led the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup title in 54 years in 1994. He also starred at the University of Wisconsin.
This is the 10th year of the award.
Ostman’s GAA is 16th best among goalies from 62 Division I teams and his save percentage is 15th. He is tied for fifth with four shutouts.
The native of Danderyd, Sweden, has held opponents to two goals or fewer in 14 of his starts and one or fewer in 10 of them.
He was named Hockey East’s Goaltender of the Month for December.
“I am really happy for him,” said UMaine head coach Ben Barr. “He has come a long way. He has worked really hard.”
Barr also gave credit to assistant coach/goalie coach Alfie Michaud.
Barr said Ostman has significantly limited the amount of soft goals he has allowed, referring to shots the goalie should save.
“Eliminating soft goals is a huge part of it for any goalie,” Barr said.
The coach said the team’s improvement has also been important in Ostman’s development.
“They have been playing better in front of him. But his game has improved tremendously, no question,” Barr said.
UMaine enters this weekend’s series at the University of New Hampshire allowing 2.59 goals per game, which is 18th best in the country. The Black Bears, bolstered by the addition of five freshmen defensemen, are allowing nearly a goal per game less than a year ago (3.4).