In his first college hockey game, former NAHL goaltender Connor Hellebuyck was pulled after three Denver goals in 109 seconds made it five against the Massachusetts-Lowell freshman for the night. To say Hellebuyck’s season got better from there would be a massive understatement.
In 23 games played over the rest of the season, opponents got three goals past Hellebuyck only three times. He was a central part of the River Hawks’ resurgence from a bad start to the season, winning 20 of his 23 starts.
That record and impressive statistics made Hellebuyck USCHO’s rookie of the year for the 2012-13 season.
Hellebuyck finished 20-3 with a 1.37 goals against average, .952 save percentage and six shutouts, leading the nation or sharing the top spot in all the major goaltending statistics.
Hellebuyck played last season in the NAHL for the Odessa Jackalopes as was named as the NAHL's Co-Goaltender and Rookie of the Year during the 2011-12 season. Following his year in the NAHL, Hellebuyck was drafted in the 5th round by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Hellebuyck, who was also named to the Hockey East All-Rookie team, maintained a 1.49 goals against average and a .944 save percentage en route to a 16-2 record, both tops in Hockey East. Since suffering a 5-1 loss at Denver in his first action this season, he is 16-1-0 with a 1.27 goals against average and a .952 save rate (432 saves on 454 shots).With Hellebuyck in net, the River Hawks won their first Hockey East regular season and playoff titles and earned their first trip to the Frozen Four.
Hellebuyck was also named to the USCHO All-American 2nd Team.
Postseason awards were chosen by U.S. College Hockey Online’s Division I men’s conference columnists after the Frozen Four.