by John Peterson, Austin Bruins
The most decorated goaltender in Austin Bruins history will continue his hockey career close to home.
Nick Lehr (Roseville, MN) has committed to the University of Minnesota to play his Division I college hockey. The Golden Gophers compete in the Big Ten Conference.
“Nick has been an instrumental part of this team’s success,” said Bruins Head Coach Chris Tok. “He has worked hard to put himself in this position, and it is awesome that he’ll get an opportunity to play for the team that he grew up watching and had dreams of playing for.”
Minnesota started expressing interest in late October and Lehr made his commitment one week after the NAHL Top Prospects tournament, in which he helped backstop Team Central to a 2-0 record.
Lehr holds the Bruins’ career goaltending records in games started (100), wins (65), saves (2,745) and shutouts (9). He has played in 40 of his team’s 49 games this year, and at one point in the season, started 18 consecutive games.
“He has improved his game through patience and a great ability to listen and implement what he is being taught,” said Tok. “He has been with us for three years now and it has taken him time get to this point in his career.”
In his final season of eligibility in the North American Hockey League (NAHL), Lehr has made a strong case for Goaltender of the Year. He is tied for the league lead in wins (27), and is in the top six in goals-against average (1.93), save percentage (.931) and shutouts (5).
Lehr is the 16th player in the Bruins’ four-year history to earn a Division I opportunity, and the first to commit to the Golden Gophers.
“Whenever a player commits to a Division I institution, it helps build credibility in our program,” added Tok. “We strive to be an organization that helps players develop and move on to the next level. This is a feather in our cap to show we do things right as an organization.”
Minnesota is wrapping up its first season in the newly formed Big Ten hockey conference, which includes the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Penn State University, and the University of Wisconsin. The Golden Gophers are having another successful season, and are currently the #2 ranked team in the country.