The State of Hockey was the State of College Hockey Goalies in November.
Both Gophers men's goalie Jack LaFontaine and Gophers women's goalie Lauren Bench were named national goaltenders of the month on Thursday by the Hockey Commissioners Association.
A senior from Mississauga, Ontario, LaFontaine has led the fifth-ranked Gophers to a 4-0 record by playing all four games, capped by his first career shutout, 2-0 over Ohio State on Nov. 24. LaFontaine has stopped 98 of 102 shots for a .961 save percentage and has a 1.00 goals-against average. His wins, GAA and save percentage lead the nation among goalies with more than one appearance this season. LaFontaine has started 12 consecutive games dating to last season, winning his past six starts and allowing two or fewer goals in each of his past nine starts.
"To watch him in the locker room and to watch how he practices, he is an athlete. … When you're in a groove like that as a goaltender, you let him run with it,'' said Gophers men's coach Bob Motzko, whose team opens a two-game series at Michigan State on Thursday (7 p.m., FSN).
Bench, a graduate transfer from Bemidji State, posted a 3-1 record in November with a 1.26 GAA (third nationally) and .962 save percentage (fourth nationally). She made her Gophers debut in style with a 36-save shutout of then-No. 5 Ohio State in the season opener. Last weekend, she stopped 57 of 60 shots in a sweep of No. 6 Minnesota Duluth, giving her a nation's-best 126 saves. Bench also was named WCHA goalie of the week for two consecutive weeks, along with conference goalie of the month.
"She's been just absolutely tremendous,'' said Gophers women's coach Brad Frost, whose third-ranked team faces No. 1 Wisconsin on Friday and Saturday at Ridder Arena (6 p.m., 4 p.m., BTN-Plus). "… Our team is better having her on our team.''