Freshmen Goalie Research

The Foundation for Goaltending Research and Education recently conducted research on NCAA DI Men’s Ice Hockey freshmen goaltenders. The goal of the project was to analyze, per conference, the probability of a goaltender playing a significant role and their team’s success based on statistical performance. We used the ten game threshold to determine eligibility for this analysis and recorded which junior team they played for prior to this past season.

FGRE researchers broke down the findings by organizing the 61 NCAA Division I teams into each of their related leagues as well as the following data regarding the freshmen goalies; Games Played (10+); Goals Against; Saves; Goals Against Average; Save Percentage; Junior Team and Junior League.

There were 196 goalies rostered on 61 Division l teams scattered throughout six leagues, 26 of which were freshmen that played in 10 or more games for 13.26% of the total. FGRE’s data shows that Hockey East has the most freshmen goalies in the conference holding six (23.1%). Next comes the NCHC with five goalies (19.2%) throughout the league. The Atlantic, Big Ten, and the ECAC all host four each (15.4%). The WCHA having two (8%) goaltenders and the Independent League has one (3.8%) freshmen goalie that played more than ten games.

After dividing the information based on which goalies belonged in each league, FGRE analyzed the data into averages of the save percentages and the goals against average throughout the leagues.  These numbers shown in the graph below were found by taking each goalies personal stats and total averaging by each individual league.

This past 2016-17 season the WCHA league maxed out with the best average of a save percentage (0.925) for freshmen goalies over ten games played. Atlantic had the second best with a (0.919) percentage as well as Hockey East with a  (0.910), NCHC (0.908), ECAC (0.907). The Big Ten and Independent were in the .800’s; Big Ten (0.897) and IND (.892) save percentage.

Freshmen Goals Against Average versus the leagues was another range analyzed. The bar graph below shows that the WCHA has the least goals scored on them with just under 2 a game (1.99). Hockey East had a GAA of (2.59). The Atlantic League sits right in the middle of the others with a (2.67) goals against average. Both the ECAC and NCHC have almost the same average. ECAC has a (2.79), NCHC has a (2.81) and Big Ten with a (3.03) GAA.

During research, FGRE concluded that every goalie played juniors after high school before playing NCAA D1 hockey. While sorting through each of the Dl rosters, separating the freshmen goalies that have played in more than ten games this past season, we noticed that 13 (50%) of the selected goalies played in the USHL. The NAHL was also among the popular Junior Leagues hosting four (15.4%). The BCHL was home to only three (11.5%) of the 26 goalies in our research. NTDP and CCHL both shared two each (7.7%) while the GOHL and AJHL each only had one goalie (3.85%).


The FGRE has concluded through the research on NCAA Division l Men’s Ice Hockey Freshman Goaltenders that played in 10 plus games that only 26 (13.26%) of 196 total goalies fall into the our category throughout this past 2016-2017 hockey season. The opportunity for a freshman goalie to play Division I ice hockey is there, but very challenging. For the freshmen goalies that were conducted within our research, all of them played at least one year of junior hockey before entering college.

The FGRE is a non-profit organization that focuses on educating goalies, parents, coaches and the hockey community on the physical and psychological development of ice hockey goaltenders, as well as conduct research on the health, safety and the environment factors that goalies experience.

-Marissa Peri is a Sport Management major at Salem State University who is interning at the Foundation for Goaltending Research and Education. Currently the captain of the SSU Women’s Ice Hockey team, she will be graduating in the Spring of 2017.