ROCHESTER, Minn. – Rochester Grizzlies netminder and reigning NA3HL Goaltender of the Year, Mathias Backstrom, announced his commitment to Nichols College (NCAA DIII) on Wednesday.
Backstrom, 19, wrapped up his first season in Rochester, and his first season in North America, during 2019-20. The Malmo, Sweden, native posted an 18-5-0-0 record with a .939 save-percentage and 1.55 GAA. The standout netminder was a backbone for the Grizzlies who finished the regular season as Central Division Champions before the cancellation of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks to his impressive play, Backstrom was honored with several league-wide awards including NA3HL Goaltender of the Year, Central Division Goaltender of the Year, and an All-NA3HL First Team nod.
“We are super happy for Mathis on his commitment to Nichols,” said Grizzlies Head Coach Chris Ratzloff. “He has worked very hard this year and his individual awards and recognition are well-deserved. We have no dout that he will have continued success at the next level, and Nichols is luck to get such a dedicated hard working young man.”
By the time the season wrapped up, Backstrom ranked third in the NA3HL in goals-against average, second in save percentage, fourth in shoutouts, and never allowed a goal during the shootout.
Head Coach Ratzloff expanded on Backstrom’s character stating, “[Mathias] has been a tremendous teammate and example to Shane [Soderwall], Sean [Guerin], and the rest of us this year. We know that he will push his teammates at Nichols, as well. All the best, Mathias. We’re proud of you.”
Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts, competes in the Commonwealth Coast Conference of the NCAA Division-III. For Backstrom, he’ll join the Bison for the 2020-21 season and begin his collegiate career immediately.
Backstrom joins his teammates Michael Heitkamp (University of Wisconsin-Stout) and Noel Parker (St. Olaf) as Rochester commits this postseason.