MTU, NMU goalies named to watch list for prestigious honor

MTU's Blake Pietila (Left) & NMU's Beni Halasz (Right)
MTU's Blake Pietila (Left) & NMU's Beni Halasz (Right)(WLUC)
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 5:33 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - Michigan Tech senior goaltender Blake Pietila and Northern Michigan freshman Beni Halasz have been named to the Watch List for the Mike Richter Award, given to the top goalie in men’s NCAA Division I hockey annually.

Blake Pietila (SR) - Michigan Tech

Pietila is a senior from Howell, Michigan, and has started 21 of Tech’s 23 games this season. He leads the nation with four shutouts, is fifth nationally with 13 wins, seventh in minutes played, 13th in winning percentage (.667), 16th in goals-against average (2.17), and 16th in save percentage (.923). He was named the CCHA Goaltender of the Month for October, the CCHA Goaltender of the Week three times, and the Most Valuable Player of the Desert Hockey Classic. For his career, he has been a two-time finalist for the Mike Richter Award and a two-time Hobey Baker Award nominee. Additionally, Pietila was an All-CCHA Second Team selection as a junior and holds the Michigan Tech record for shutouts in a career (14) and season (7). As a sophomore, he broke the school records for the best save percentage (.934) and goals-against average (1.81) for a season.

Beni Halasz (FR) - Northern Michigan

The first Hungarian goaltender in NCAA Division I hockey history, Halasz has played in 19 games for Northern Michigan this season, including 17 as a starter. He is 9-8-0 with a 2.40 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. On November 11, he stopped all 25 Bemidji State shots for his first collegiate shutout. A two-time CCHA Rookie of the Month, he has made 418 total saves in 1000:58 minutes. Three of his starts have seen him turn away 30 or more shots, including a career-best 44 saves at Michigan Tech on December 3.

Three additional student-athletes from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) have also been named to the group of 41 vying for the nation’s top goaltender honor.

A committee of voters — made up of a cross-section of coaches, administrators, scouts, and media — will pare this list down to approximately 15 names within the next three weeks and then ultimately choose the winner who will be announced in April during the NCAA Frozen Four. The HCA also presents a similar award to recognize the top female goalie in the NCAA.