Yearly awards rarely get much attention from teams or players during the season. That may be a little different this season when it comes to the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team.
This year, the three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award, most closely compared to the Heisman Trophy for college football or the Hobey Baker Award for collegiate men’s hockey, happen to all play the Golden Gophers.
It’s something that has never happened before in the award’s fifteen year history.
The three finalists — junior forward Amanda Kessel (Madison, Wis.), senior defender Megan Bozek (Buffalo Grove, Ill.), and senior goalie Noora Raty (Espoo, Finland) are teammates on the still undefeated Minnesota team.
The Gophers have won the award just once in the program’s history. In 2005 Krissy Wendell (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) received the award after scoring 43 goals and 61 assists for 104 points in helping Minnesota to its second straight national championship.
The unprecedented guarantee of the award for Minnesota should be an exciting part of the upcoming NCAA Women’s Frozen Four at Ridder Arena, March 22-24. The ceremony is scheduled to take place beginning at 10:30 a.m. CT on March 23 from McNamara Alumni Center.
Currently on the year Kessel leads the nation in scoring with 35 goals, 52 assists, and 95 points. Bozek is the top outright defender in the nation with 54 points and recently set the career and single season scoring marks for blueliners at Minnesota.
Raty this season has been as good as advertised. The goaltender continues to break records as every second clicks off the game clock. She leads the nation in wins, save percentage, goals against average, and shutouts. The 17 shutouts on the year is a NCAA record.
The Kaz-Triplets await their fate in the NCAA Tournament when the bracket is released at 5:00 p.m. CT on Sunday.