Former Austin Bruin named college hockey's top goalie

Apr. 12—ST. PAUL — Kyle McClellan spent just one season with the Austin Bruins, but in his 47 games with the team in 2018-19, he showed flashes of what made him the best goalie in Division I college hockey in 2023-24.

McClellan was honored Friday, when he was named the 2024 winner of the Mike Richter Award, given annually to the best men's college hockey goalie in the country.

The award is named for a goalie who played for the team that McClellan has played for the past two seasons — the University of Wisconsin Badgers.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound McClellan — a native of Manchester, Mo. — had a stellar season for the Badgers, his second at Wisconsin after starting his college career at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., for two seasons.

He sparked a turnaround for Wisconsin this season under first-year Badgers head coach Mike Hastings, who took the Wisconsin job last spring after more than a decade at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

McClellan went 24-12-1 this season and recorded seven shutouts. He had a 1.94 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. His seven shutouts are the second-most ever in a season by a Wisconsin goaltender.

Wisconsin finished 26-12-2 overall and lost to defending national champion Quinnipiac 3-2 in overtime in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Badgers were 13-23-0 in 2022-23, McClellan's first season with the team.

"I'm not a good public speaker so I'll keep it short," McClellan said Friday, per Todd Milewski of the Wisconsin State Journal. McClellan added that it is "special" to win an award named for a former Badgers goalie.

The award ceremony was held at the RiverCentre in downtown St. Paul, in conjunction with the NCAA Division I men's Frozen Four. The national semifinals were played at the adjacent Xcel Energy Center on Thursday, with Denver defeating Boston University 2-1 in overtime, and Boston College defeating Michigan 4-0.

B.C. and Denver meet at 5 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2) in the national championship.

McClellan has also been named an All-American, making the six-player NCAA West Second Team. Among his other honors this season: He was a top-10 semifinalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to college hockey's top player; Big Ten Goaltender of the Year; First Team All-Big Ten; and the national leader in save percentage (.931) and shutouts (7).

He is the third Big Ten Conference goalie to win the Richter award, joining Minnesota's Jack LaFontaine (2021) and Notre Dame's Cale Morris (2018).

McClellan played one season for the Bruins, posting a 23-20-4 mark, with a 2.31 goals-against average, a .915 save percentage and five shutouts. Following his year in Austin, he played one season for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL, where he went 16-7-4 with a 2.39 GAA, .909 save percentage and three shutouts.