Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.

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All three finalists for Patty Kazmaier Award are Gophers -- Bozek, Kessel and Raty

Posted by: Joe Christensen under NCAA Updated: March 7, 2013 - 11:13 AM

Why is the Gophers women’s hockey team 36-0? Well, it doesn’t hurt when you have the three best players in the country.

USA Hockey named the three finalists for this year’s Patty Kazmaier Award were named Thursday, and all three are Gophers -- senior defenseman Megan Bozek, junior forward Amanda Kessel and senior goaltender Noora Raty.

The award has been presented since 1998 to the national women's hockey player of the year. It's the first time all three finalists have come from the same school. The Gophers are ensured of having their second winner and first since Krissy Wendell in 2005.

Kessel leads the nation with 94 points (43 goals, 51 assists). Bozek ranks second among the nation’s top-scoring defenders with 52 points (18 goals, 34 assists), and Raty leads the nation with a .953 save percentage.

The winner will be announced on March 23 in a brunch ceremony at the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center. That event had been planned as part of that weekend’s Frozen Four festivities at nearby Ridder Arena, but now it will have a definite Minnesota feel.

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