Devon Levi, a Buffalo Sabres prospect, has established himself as one of the top goalies in NCAA hockey this season, his second at Northeastern University.
Levi (6-foot, 184 pounds) is 13-4 with one tie, a 1.33 goals-against average, .955 save percentage and six shutouts in 18 games. The 19-year-old leads NCAA goalies in save percentage, saves (504) and minutes played (1,085:44), and is tied for first in shutouts. He was named Hockey East Rookie of the Month in October and November.
He didn't play a college game as a freshman last season after sustaining a rib injury helping Canada finish second at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship. He was named the tournament's best goalie.
"He's big time," Northeastern coach Jerry Keefe said. "He really is. The kid's focus is off the charts. Not only is he really talented and athletic, his focus … holy smokes."
Levi has allowed 12 goals in his past 12 games, including one goal on 72 shots to help Northeastern to back-to-back wins against Providence by a combined score of 6-1 on Friday and Saturday.
"Devon right now is in a zone," Keefe said after Levi made 34 saves in a 4-1 win Saturday.
He was selected by the Florida Panthers in the seventh round (No. 212) of the 2020 NHL Draft, and was traded to the Sabres on July 28, along with a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, for forward Sam Reinhart.
During every timeout, Levi drops to his knees between the faceoff circles 15 feet in front of his net, bows his head and uses breathing techniques to reset.
"Just clearing my mind, focusing on my breath, staying in the moment," he said. "It's real easy to get carried away with fans screaming at you, it's real easy to get into all the distracting things that don't apply to the game. So I just take a few moments to clear my head and remember what the important part of the moment is, going out and having fun and stopping pucks for my teammates."
Levi's strong start has made him a strong candidate for the Mike Richter Award, which is given to the most outstanding goalie in NCAA Division I.
"He's one of those kids, he really, really enjoys the game of hockey," Keefe said. "It's not work for him. He loves it. It's his passion."