Gophers' Amanda Kessel wins college women's hockey's top honor

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 24, 2013 - 4:50 PM

All three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award were Gophers. But the team now is focused on the national championship trophy.

hide

Gophers Womens hockey player Amanda Kessel was awarded the 2013 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the outstanding womens college hockey player of the past season

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

It’s championship Sunday for the Gophers women’s hockey team, and this squad seemingly has it all.

The Gophers are 40-0 with a 48-game winning streak dating to last season. They are the defending NCAA champions and have a chance to repeat on their home ice when they face Boston University at 3 p.m.

The Gophers had all three finalists for this year’s Patty Kazmaier Award, given to the nation’s top player. Amanda Kessel collected that trophy Saturday after edging out teammates Megan Bozek and Noora Raty.

But with all that success comes pressure to finish what they’ve started, and coach Brad Frost acknowledged that his club has been feeling it in the NCAA tournament.

The Gophers needed three overtimes to get past North Dakota in the quarterfinals and another overtime to defeat Boston College in Friday’s semifinal. Both games ended with 3-2 scores — too close for comfort, considering the Gophers are averaging 5.3 goals per game this season and giving up 0.8.

“I’m hoping they’ll play a little more free [Sunday] than they have the last couple weekends, or at least start a little quicker,” Frost said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with the streak. It has to do with the fact that they don’t want their season to end.”

With the Frozen Four at Ridder Arena, the Gophers certainly didn’t want to fall short of the championship game. Now they have a chance to become the first Division I team — men’s or women’s — to finish an undefeated NCAA championship season since the Cornell men went 29-0 in 1970.

Boston University (28-5-3) is riding a 10-game winning streak of its own. The Terriers beat Clarkson 5-3 in the quarterfinals and breezed past Mercyhurst in the semis 4-1.

“I think there’s more pressure on the team that’s 40-0,” Terriers coach Brian Durocher said. “They’ve set the bar so high, and they’ve put themselves in position where there’s a lot of pressure.

“You don’t have to go back much further than their last couple of games. ... They’ve been under the gun, and they’ve answered the bell.”

Kessel leads the nation with 44 goals and 53 assists, but she’s fighting through unspecified injuries and isn’t as dangerous as she was earlier in the season, at least not consistently. She had a goal and an assist in the quarterfinal victory over North Dakota, but went without a point in the semifinals — something that has happened to her only twice in her past 44 games.

“I think anybody who knows her and watches the game knows that she’s not 100 percent,” Frost said. “The fact that she’s still a threat every time she’s on the ice is what’s important to us.”

Kessel is the second Gopher to win the Kazmaier Award, joining 2005 recipient Krissy Wendell. Former Gophers coach Laura Halldorson was asked to compare the two players Saturday and quickly mentioned their ability to thrive under pressure.

Along with fellow Olympian Natalie Darwitz, Wendell helped Halldorson win NCAA titles in 2004 and ’05.

“I see that in Amanda as well,” Halldorson said. “Like that Wisconsin series this year — it was like she willed the team to win.”

Even without Kessel at her best, freshman linemate Hannah Brandt continues to produce. Brandt has scored a goal in four of the past five games and has 32 for the season. Still, there were games earlier this season, when that line dominated, and it hasn’t happened in the postseason.

“I think it just shows how tough the playoffs are and how everyone is going to give us their best game,” Brandt said. “It’s not going to be easy for us to have an explosive game like that. I think it’s been great that others have stepped up.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 129 FINAL
Sacramento 135
Minnesota 97 FINAL
Golden State 110
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
San Jose 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 3
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 45 FINAL
UNLV 79
SD Christian 50 FINAL
San Diego St 72
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Gophers head coach?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close