Erik Portillo was announced as the USHL Goalie of Year Friday evening, after his dominant 2019-20 performance between the pipes. The award, which has been given to the league’s most outstanding netminder since the 1983-84 season, will reside in Dubuque for the first time in team history. Portillo, despite missing some time with injury, put together a sparkling 19-5-1 record during the course of the season.
“Erik stepped outside his comfort zone of playing in his hometown his whole life, to come to Dubuque to challenge himself and grow as a goalie and person,” said Saints GM Kalle Larsson. “He handled the cultural differences and the adversity like a pro, and we are so happy he was part of our organization. He was the backbone of our team every time he stepped on the ice for a game, and we knew he would give our team a chance to win every night.”
Portillo put together the second-highest single-season winning percentage for a Fighting Saints goalie during the Tier-1 era. He finished first in the USHL with a 2.11 goals against average and he was third in the league with a .915 save percentage. Portillo also recorded one of the three shutouts for the Saints in the 2019-20 season.
“I’m proud and honored to receive the USHL Goaltender of the Year award,” said Portillo. “The USHL is a great league with many good goalies, players, and coaches so this is very humbling. I want to thank my teammates, coaches, and my billets JoAnne and Gibby, for taking great care of me. I also want to thank the city of Dubuque for being welcoming. Dubuque will always have a place in my heart.”
Portillo’s one and only season in Dubuque will go down as one of the best put forth by a Fighting Saint goalie. In addition to season-long league honor, Portillo also claimed USHL Goalie of the Week twice during the year.
“When Erik was in net, we knew- like, really felt it in the belly- that things were going to go well,” said head coach Oliver David. “He is an outstanding performer. He battled through injury all season; what an effort. He is a winner through and through. I speak for all of us on staff when I say, we felt fortunate that Erik chose to join our club, and that we had a chance to work with such a world class goaltender.”