A year ago at this time, Adam Scheel was on his way to losing his starting goaltender job at UND.
Things are quite a bit different this season.
On Friday morning, Scheel was named one of nine finalists -- and the only one from the National Collegiate Hockey Conference -- for the Mike Richter Award, which goes to the top goaltender in the nation.
Scheel enters Friday night's game at Omaha with a 15-3-1 record, a .928 save percentage and a 1.78 goals-against average.
The winner will be announced in April during the NCAA Frozen Four.
The other finalists are Boston College's Spencer Knight, Minnesota's Jack LaFontaine, Michigan's Strauss Mann, MSU-Mankato's Dryden McKay, Lake Superior State's Mareks Mitens, Quinnipiac's Keith Petruzzelli, Michigan Tech's Blake Pietila and Providence's Jaxson Stauber.
UND has had one previous winner of the award, which is in its eighth season: Zane McIntyre in 2015.
Other winners are UMass Lowell's Connor Hellebuyck in 2014, Boston College's Thatcher Demko in 2016, Denver's Tanner Jaillet in 2017, Notre Dame's Cale Morris in 2018, Northeastern's Cayden Primeau in 2019 and Maine's Jeremy Swayman in 2020.
Last season was a tale of two years for Scheel.
Before Christmas, he was outstanding, going 14-1-2 with a .927 save percentage and a 1.56 goals-against average. But after Christmas, he posted an .864 save percentage and a 3.03 goals-against average, eventually giving way to Peter Thome.
But Scheel, a junior from Lakewood, Ohio, has been consistent all season in 2020-21.
He's started all but three games for No. 2 UND this season, and his numbers have improved since Christmas break.
Scheel has been particularly dominant at home in Ralph Engelstad Arena, going 5-0 with a .970 save percentage and a 0.60 goals-against average.
UND has two games remaining before the NCHC playoffs begin March 12-16 in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Blair a finalist for Women's Goalie of the Year
Former UND goalie Kennedy Blair of Bismarck is one of eight finalists for the inaugural Women's Goalie of the Year Award, which will be handed out at the NCAA Frozen Four.
Blair, who plays at No. 1-ranked Wisconsin, has an 11-2-1 record with a .947 save percentage and a 1.31 goals-against average.
Blair spent one season with the Fighting Hawks, but transferred after the program was cut. She spent three years at Mercyhurst, bringing the Lakers to the NCAA tournament her first year. In the offseason, she graduate transferred to Wisconsin, whose starter the previous three seasons was UND transfer Kristen Campbell.
The other finalists for the Women's Goalie of the Year Award are Providence's Sandra Absteiter, Penn State's Josie Bothun, Ohio State's Andrea Braendli, Northeastern's Aerin Frankel, Colgate's Kayla Osbourne, Maine's Loryn Porter and Minnesota Duluth's Emma Soderberg.