Gophers goalie Jack LaFontaine has decided one good senior season deserves another.
LaFontaine, one of three finalists for the Mike Richter Award as the nation's top goaltender, informed the program that he'll return for the 2021-22 season, taking advantage of the NCAA ruling that players in fall and winter sports won't be charged a year of eligibility because of the disruption that COVID-19 caused.
"I love it here at the University of Minnesota, I love my teammates and I love the culture we are building,'' LaFontaine said in a statement Friday. "I have some unfinished business, and this team has unfinished business, so we are excited to get back to work and see this journey through.''
The Gophers returned to the NCAA tournament this season for the first time since 2017 and won a first-round game in the West Regional in Loveland, Colo., before falling 4-0 in the regional final to Minnesota State Mankato on Sunday. LaFontaine, the Big Ten goalie of the year, finished the season 22-7 record and school records of a 1.79 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. The 2016 third-round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes also had five shutouts.
LaFontaine's return solidifies the Gophers' goaltending situation. Sophomore Jared Moe, who started two games this season, has entered the transfer portal, leaving sophomore Justen Close as the only other returnee in net. On Tuesday, goalie Brennan Boynton, a former Champlin Park standout who has played for the Fargo Force of the USHL the past two seasons, announced on Twitter that he has committed to the Gophers.
Also entering the transfer portal this week were senior forwards Brannon McManus and Cullen Munson, senior defenseman Sam Rossini and sophomore forward Noah Weber.
On Friday, senior forward Scott Reedy signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the San Jose Sharks that begins in 2021-22. He'll be on an amateur tryout with the AHL's San Jose Barracuda for the rest of the 2020-21 season. Reedy, San Jose's fourth-round draft pick in 2017, was the Gophers' third-leading scorer with 28 points on 11 goals and 17 assists.