Hockey is one of the ultimate team sports. While being an over-used and cliche saying, it bears repeating. Especially prior to a quickly approaching season. One that we all hope is safe enough to attend for the first time in…
Hockey is one of the ultimate team sports. While being an over-used and cliche saying, it bears repeating. Especially prior to a quickly approaching season. One that we all hope is safe enough to attend for the first time in nearly two years for some. With attention often being focused on forwards and defenders when it comes to pre-season articles, goaltenders are just as crucial to the success of a team. While those forward-facing players have the Mr. Hockey Award, there is thankfully an award just for goaltenders. The Frank Brimsek Award.
Every year often boasts many premier and under-the-radar netminders. From the early years of the State Tournament with Willard Ikola to Charlie Glockner’s work to help bring Minnetonka their first state championship in 2018. However, this year feels different. It may not include many high-profile names or commitments. Yet it feels that those on this list, and beyond, are ready for some stellar campaigns that could end up with hardware. Here are the top favorites for the 2022 Brimsek Award.
1. Nick Erickson Nick Erickson 6'3" | Goalie Hill Murray | 2022 State MN | Hill-Murray | 6’3 Goalie | #9 Ranked in the class of 2022
Erickson doesn’t grade out as our top goalie in the state, let alone a top 10 spot overall, for no reason. He became a brick wall for the Pioneers in 2020. Posting an absurd .937 SV% while leading the state with a 1.18 GAA (min. 500 minutes played). Although Erickson plays alongside a top-tier blue line with excellent coaching, his performances more than hold their own weight. His ability to read and predict rotating offensive zones and lanes effectively is not always found at the high school level. Providing his team to lean on him when the offense may not be clicking. It is unfortunate that we will never know if Erickson could be leading Hill-Murray to a three-peat due to the Pioneers’ COVID-19 outbreak during the 2021 State Tournament. Although Gentry Academy could be a tough out, there shouldn’t be anything stopping Erickson from leading the Pioneers back to State.
2. Marko Belak Marko Belak 6'1" | Goalie Cretin-Derham Hall | 2022 State MN | Cretin Derham-Hall | 6’1 Goalie | #22 Ranked in the class of 2022
You don’t win 37 games through your first two seasons and not be considered one of the top goaltenders in the state. With an apparent improvement between the posts, Belak has propelled himself not only up these rankings, but prospect rankings as well. Improving his GAA from 2.20 in 2019-2020 to 1.78 in 2020-2021. As with Erickson, Belak has something to prove when it comes to the postseason. Although that is not a barrier to winning the Brimsek, it is always nice to have tournament success. This will be the year to do it though. The Raiders return their top four scorers along with their top defenders. If Belak continues to show improvement in net, the sky is the limit.
3. Ben Dardis Ben Dardis 5'10" | Goalie Mahtomedi | 2022 State MN | Mahtomedi | 5’10 Goalie | #14 Ranked in the class of 2022
The only state champion goaltender on this list, Dardis has shown his mettle in the postseason. Although his statistics aren’t as stellar as other’s, he has proven to be a solid option for the Zephyrs over the last three seasons. Posting career-highs of a 23-8 record, .933 SV%, and 7 shutouts in 2019-2020 en route to the Class A state championship. Although the jump to Class AA in 2020-2021 wasn’t as fruitful, the year of experience should only benefit Dardis.
4. Trevor Boschee | Prior Lake | 5’11 Goalie | #19 Ranked in the class of 2022
The Lakers have become one of the more intriguing teams in the state over the last few seasons. After having been an afterthought for many, they have quietly put together a program on the verge of massive success. A lot of that can be attributed to the play of Trevor Boschee. Over the last two years, he has improved from his GAA (2.25 to 1.74) to his SV% (.904 to .907). Continued improvement is expected and with a veteran group in front of him, it could make for a dangerous season for Boschee.
5. Ethan Dahlmeir | Lakeville South | 6’4 Goalie | #27 Ranked in the class of 2022
Dahlmeir is the darkhorse of this year’s favorites. With only 10 games of ice time on the varsity roster under his belt after splitting even time with senior Cody Ticen Cody Ticen 5'11" | Goalie Lakeville South | 2021 State MN , a lot is unknown about Dahlmeir. Although he posted a perfect 10-0 record, all but two of his games were played against premier opponents. That is not to say his 1.38 GAA and .921 SV% is a fluke. It only adds intrigue to see how far Dahlmeir can rise in his senior season.