The three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier award were announced this morning by the USA Hockey Foundation and Minnesota has all three spots. Defenseman Megan Bozek, forward Amanda Kessel, and goaltender Noora Räty will be the finalists for the award for the top player in women's college hockey. Never before have the top three finalists all been from the same school. The winner of the award will be announced Saturday, March 23rd at the McNamara Alumi Center.
Bozek has had her best season to date, which is saying a lot for the All-American. She currently has 52 points, which is second for defenseman(Monique Lamoureux has 64 points). Her previous career high for points was 42. Her heavy shot gets her noticed on the ice as well as her speed and power play prowess. A defenseman has not won the award since Angela Ruggiero of Harvard won it back in '04.
Räty might be aiming to break every record that a NCAA goalie will ever know. She has set records for career wins and shutots, along with shutouts in a single season. There are a few more, at least, that will be her records by the end of the season. Noora is currently 33-0 on the year, is first in the nation in save percentage and second in goals against average. Her 15 shutouts this year more than double anyone else's. The last goalie to win the Kaz was Jessie Vetter back in '09.
Kessel has been outstanding for the Gophers with her offensive output. Amanda leads the nation in goals, assists, points, and short-handed goals. She is currently fourth all-time in points in a season with 94 and is just 20 points from tying the NCAA record. Kessel has led the Gophers in scoring all three years she has been with the team. The last Gopher to win the Patty Kazmaier award was Krissy Wendell, a forward, back in '05.
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