Devon Levy may consider ‘difficult decision’ to return to Northeastern University | Buffalo Sabers news

BOSTON – Devon Levy stood in front of a crowded auditorium Friday afternoon while giving his acceptance speech after the Buffalo Sabers were named the best goalkeeper in NCAA men’s hockey.

Levi, 20, grinned during his five-minute award speech for Mike Richter at Encore Boston Harbor and, after thanking his heartfelt family present, looked at his teammates and gave them credit for it. Northeastern’s record-breaking sophomore season that featured a notable 0.952 keep, the second-best score in NCAA history.

“I can’t thank you guys enough,” said Levy. “Given how amazing the experience was this year, I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.”

Levi reported to Northeastern and the Sabers this week that he will be returning to school for his junior season. Individually, Levi achieved more in college than most amateur goalkeepers could dream of. He hit 1.53 goals-vs average for a third-placed in Division I, scored a record 10 breakout points in a season, and represented the Montreal-Canada native at the Beijing Winter Olympics. He also received the Tim Taylor Award, given to Rookie of the Year.

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However, Levi was not yet ready to sign a junior contract to start a career with Sabers. He wants to win a national championship with the huskies next spring. He sat in the TD Garden booth Thursday night with Kevyn Adams, Sabers general manager, and owner Terry Pegula during the first semifinal game between Michigan and Denver.

When a crowd close to capacity watched the tension-filled events on the ice, Levi pictured himself stopping shots and leading his team into the title match. The desire to experience this kind of environment on the ice led Levi to return to the Northeast for another season.

“It was a difficult decision,” Levy told reporters after the ceremony. “I was so lucky to have two incredible choices. I talked to Buffalo, I talked to Northeastern University. I just love playing college hockey so much. I had a great year this year in class, on the ice with the guys. The whole year has been incredible, so no I can go back and do it again next year.

“There is some unfinished business with the team that we want to achieve, so we are looking forward to next year.”

There is some bitterness from the way Northeastern’s season ended. Both Huskies lost to Western Michigan in overtime in the NCAA regional, ending the postseason before it really started. He was a top performer on one of the smallest teams in the country that will likely be selected to win the Eastern Hockey League next season.

There is also his relative lack of college experience. Although Levi has appeared in 32 games this season, a rib injury he sustained at the IIHF World Junior Championships prevented him from competing with Northeastern as a freshman. More tuck experience will help Levi deal with the different situations he will face at the next level, either in Buffalo or Rochester.

But it was at the World Junior Championships in January 2021 that Levi established himself as the legitimate top goalkeeper and made him the Cypresses’ primary target when Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito called Adams last summer to express his interest in Sam Reinhart.

Levy, a seventh-round draft pick for Florida in October 2020, was named the world’s best junior goalkeeper after leading Canada to silver with a record-breaking 0.964 in seven games. He also had 0.75 goals against an average and three nets.

Cypress replaced Reinhart, a member of her former core and a restricted free agent, to Florida in exchange for Levi’s and a sweepstakes-protected first-round draft option. Buffalo holds Levi’s rights to the NHL for another two years.

“They are all really good people and good human beings, which is kind of what they are trying to build,” Levy said of the swords. They are trying to build an organization with good people and good culture. It’s good to hear that because I want to be on a team whose culture is unrealistic. …seems to be a great place. Everyone is very close. All the players are good teammates and they are also good players too. I look forward to joining their organization with hope.”

In addition to the guidance of Cypress goalkeeper development coach Simos Kotik, Levy will continue to learn from Northeastern assistant coach Mike Condon, who played the center in the National Hockey League in 129 games from 2015 to 2018. Condon is a former teammate of Cypress goalkeeper Craig Anderson.

Levi’s precise technique, 6-foot-6, is the latest example that a goalkeeper doesn’t need a 6-foot-6 to succeed at a high level. Condon’s presence on Northeastern University’s coaching staff was influential in Levy’s decision to return to school. Levy wants to learn the mental part of the game from the former NHLer, especially how to handle the highs and lows of playing a stressful situation.

“I don’t think anyone said anyone stayed in college for very long,” Levy said.

The sophomore season of his fiction book included a place at the Olympics — Levi never played in a game at Beiing — and culminated in an award that had previously been won by Conor Helbwick of the Winnipeg Jets, and Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks and Boston. Jeremy Swayman Bruins.

But Levy wants to win, just as Bauer did when first-choice in the draft decided to return to Michigan this season. Levi was willing to wait in pro hockey for a chance to make it to the Frozen Four with the same teammates who gathered in the hall on Friday without knowing if Levi would win the award.

Levi smiled after the party as he described his emotions watching the atmosphere during the Frozen Four, from bands playing their school fight songs to the fast-paced game of snowboarding.

“Oh, yeah, it was crazy. But really, really cool,” said Levi, “I longed to be there. “I was sitting in my seat with passion. I wanted to get out there. I made sure I went to that match. I am going to the match (Saturday) too so I can remember this moment in the stands and next year use that as motivation to help the team stay on that ice next year” .