Gophers have all three finalists for top women's hockey honor

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 8, 2013 - 8:09 AM

Three teammates on the Gophers are the finalists for the top award in women’s hockey.

For all its success over the years, the Gophers women’s hockey team has produced just one winner of the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given to the national player of the year. That was Krissy Wendell in 2005.

It’s time to expand that trophy case.

USA Hockey named the three finalists for this year’s award Thursday, and all are Gophers — junior forward Amanda Kessel, senior goalie Noora Raty and senior defenseman Megan Bozek. It’s the first time, in the award’s 16-year history, that all three finalists are from the same school.

“What an incredible honor for Megan, Amanda and Noora,” Gophers coach Brad Frost said. “Each of these three young women embodies what this prestigious award represents because they are great players on the ice and outstanding individuals off the ice.”

The Gophers (36-0) received the news on the eve of the WCHA Final Face-off at Ridder Arena. North Dakota plays Wisconsin in Friday’s first semifinal, followed by the Gophers vs. Ohio State. The two winners meet in Saturday’s championship.

Wisconsin senior Brianna Decker won last year’s Kazmaier Award and was a top-10 finalist again this year, along with North Dakota senior Jocelyne Lamoureux and Minnesota freshman Hannah Brandt. So there is plenty of talent this weekend at Ridder.

Kessel leads the nation with 94 points (43 goals, 51 assists). She has battled nagging injuries all season and missed three of the past four games, but Frost said he hopes she’s ready to go this weekend.

Raty, a two-time Olympian from Finland, calls Kessel “the fastest player I’ve ever seen.”

Raty leads the nation with a .953 save percentage. She also is the NCAA career record holder for victories (109) and shutouts (41). Last weekend, Bozek said that while she’s honored to be a Kazmaier finalist, she expects Raty to win.

“I think her record speaks for itself,” Bozek said. “It’s been incredible being her teammate for four years.”

Bozek has anchored a Gophers defense that leads the nation in fewest goals allowed per game (0.81). She also ranks second in scoring among the nation’s defensemen with 52 points (18, 34).

“[Bozek] has one of the hardest shots,” Kessel said. “When you get a defenseman who gets that many points and is sound defensively — we’re really lucky to have her on this team.”

The Kazmaier Award winner will be announced March 23 at the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center. That event had been planned as part of Frozen Four festivities that weekend at nearby Ridder Arena. Now it will have a definite Minnesota feel.

The Gophers hope to keep riding the wave they are on, a 44-game winning streak dating to Feb. 18, 2012. Last season, they won their first WCHA playoff title en route to their third NCAA championship.

This year, they clinched the WCHA regular-season title Feb. 1 and then hit a relative lull. After sweeping Ohio State by a combined score of 15-2 in October, the Gophers got tangled up in two close road contests with the Buckeyes last month, winning 5-2 and 5-3.

Bemidji State forced the Gophers to overtime before Minnesota won 3-2. But last weekend, the WCHA playoffs opened, and the Gophers dominated the Beavers — 5-0 and 8-0.

“At the end of the regular season, there was nothing on the line, and we didn’t play too well,” Raty said. “And once the playoffs started, it was a completely different team.”

Yes, and now it’s a highly decorated team, too.





 

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  • (left to right) Gophers Women's Hockey Head Coach Brad Frost, foward...

  • The defenseman Megan Bozek protects the net and scores goals, too.

  • The Goalie Noora Raty, a four-year starter, holds NCAA career records for victories and shutouts.

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Milwaukee 59 3rd Qtr
Orlando 44
New York 49 3rd Qtr
Indiana 54
Denver 11 1st Qtr 2:41
Memphis 22
Chicago 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Montreal 0 2nd Prd 14:26
NY Rangers 0
Winnipeg 2 2nd Prd 13:21
Philadelphia 3
Boston 2 2nd Prd 10:30
NY Islanders 1
Arizona 0 2nd Prd
Toronto 1
Dallas 3 1st Prd :13
Ottawa 2
Detroit 1 2nd Prd
Tampa Bay 2
Columbus 0 2nd Prd
Florida 0
Nashville 0 1st Prd 15:00
St. Louis 0
Minnesota 8:00 PM
Calgary
Buffalo 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Anaheim 9:00 PM
San Jose
DePaul 72 FINAL
Providence 83
Michigan State 71 FINAL
Rutgers 51
Boston Univ 37 2nd Half
Army 32
Fla Atlantic 37 2nd Half 14:00
Charlotte 53
Youngstown St 38 2nd Half 15:00
Detroit 45
East Tenn St 37 2nd Half 12:10
Furman 37
Saint Louis 29 2nd Half 15:46
George Mason 41
USC Upstate 50 2nd Half 15:44
Jacksonville 38
High Point 33 2nd Half
Liberty 26
Central Conn St 42 2nd Half 8:41
Long Island 56
Western Ky 32 2nd Half 13:09
Louisiana Tech 47
Dayton 48 2nd Half 11:19
Massachusetts 52
Chattanooga 38 2nd Half 12:38
Mercer 44
Wofford 40 2nd Half 13:04
UNC Greensboro 32
Maryland 35 2nd Half 15:49
Ohio State 48
FIU 38 2nd Half 13:07
Old Dominion 43
Fair-Dickinson 37 2nd Half 13:38
Robert Morris 52
Mount St Marys 38 2nd Half 14:15
St Francis-NY 37
Bryant 46 2nd Half 11:52
St Francis-PA 55
Northern Ky 27 2nd Half
Stetson 37
Coll of Charleston 27 2nd Half 12:37
Towson 38
Western Carolina 55 2nd Half 15:26
Va Military 44
Sacred Heart 33 2nd Half
Wagner 30
Lipscomb 34 2nd Half 13:12
Fla Gulf Coast 48
Kennesaw St 32 2nd Half 15:40
North Florida 59
Appalachian St 16 2nd Half
Ga Southern 33
Holy Cross 18 1st Half 0:04
Loyola-Maryland 26
Eastern Ill 22 2nd Half
UT Martin 43
Jacksonville St 8 1st Half 12:40
Belmont 18
Connecticut 9 1st Half 11:24
Cincinnati 16
Rider 11 1st Half 11:52
Saint Peters 7
SIU Edwardsville 13 1st Half 11:06
SE Missouri St 13
Marshall 20 1st Half 12:03
Southern Miss 8
Tenn Tech 9 1st Half 11:41
Tennessee St 11
Middle Tennessee 11 1st Half 14:41
TX-San Antonio 12
Ill-Chicago 9 1st Half 12:17
Milwaukee 10
Weber State 10 1st Half 13:25
North Dakota 8
Denver 11 1st Half 12:06
North Dakota St 5
IUPU-Ft Wayne 11 1st Half 11:57
South Dakota 13
Louisiana 7 1st Half 14:33
South Alabama 8
Georgia State 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Ark-Little Rock 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
ULM 7:30 PM
Troy
Portland 8:00 PM
Gonzaga
Kentucky 8:00 PM
Missouri
Eastern Ky 8:00 PM
Murray State
UAB 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Idaho State 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
UMKC 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Chicago State 8:05 PM
Utah Valley U
Colorado 8:30 PM
USC
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
Hawaii 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Pepperdine 9:00 PM
Pacific
Santa Clara 9:00 PM
San Diego
Utah 9:00 PM
UCLA
UC Santa Barbara 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Montana 9:05 PM
Portland State
Montana State 9:05 PM
Sacramento St
Long Beach State 9:30 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Loyola Marymount 9:30 PM
St Marys-CA
San Francisco 10:00 PM
BYU
California 10:00 PM
Washington St
Louisiana 47 FINAL
South Alabama 57
Saint Josephs 51 FINAL
Saint Louis 52
Appalachian St 77 FINAL
Georgia Southern 74
Niagara 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 65
Old Dominion 80 FINAL
FIU 67
Southern Miss 65 FINAL
Marshall 67
Georgia State 45 FINAL
TX-Arlington 57
Ark-Little Rock 69 FINAL
Arkansas State 70
ULM 51 FINAL
Troy 90
Pittsburgh 45 FINAL
(17) Duke 62
(6) Tennessee 38 2nd Half 13:41
(10) Kentucky 41
(24) Oklahoma 44 2nd Half 13:32
(14) Texas 39
Nebraska Omaha 36 2nd Half 11:38
IUPU-Ft Wayne 45
UC-Riverside 48 2nd Half 11:23
CS-Northridge 40
Army 44 2nd Half 13:48
Boston U 21
New Orleans 26 2nd Half 11:46
Nicholls 43
Charlotte 32 2nd Half 18:51
Florida Atlantic 39
Towson 31 2nd Half 8:26
Delaware 51
Hofstra 39 2nd Half 16:28
Northeastern 27
New Hampshire 39 2nd Half 11:11
Maine 65
Albany 55 2nd Half 12:54
Vermont 33
Hartford 41 2nd Half 11:14
Stony Brook 46
UNC-Wilmington 43 2nd Half 8:05
William & Mary 54
Clemson 39 2nd Half 16:30
Wake Forest 36
Alabama 30 2nd Half 15:34
(1) South Carolina 48
(23) Syracuse 38 2nd Half 13:20
(8) Louisville 48
Missouri 37 2nd Half 18:23
Florida 31
Iona 45 2nd Half 11:32
Fairfield 56
Manhattan 23 2nd Half 15:54
Marist 56
NC State 51 2nd Half 11:03
Virginia 44
(4) Notre Dame 51 2nd Half 15:04
Virginia Tech 24
(22) Rutgers 30 2nd Half 15:56
Purdue 30
(5) Maryland 61 2nd Half 14:04
Michigan 48
Milwaukee 37 2nd Half 12:49
Cleveland State 41
Wright State 73 2nd Half 13:32
Oakland 57
Jacksonville 29 2nd Half 17:10
USC Upstate 34
North Florida 36 2nd Half 8:37
Kennesaw St 31
Stetson 25 2nd Half 15:21
Northern Ky 48
Loyola-Maryland 36 2nd Half 11:08
Holy Cross 32
Lamar 42 1st Half 2:03
Sam Houston St 32
Fla Gulf Coast 31 1st Half 1:37
Lipscomb 17
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
McNeese State 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Vanderbilt 4 1st Half 15:9
(18) Miss State 4
IUPUI 9 1st Half 13:39
Western Ill 16
Abilene Christian 20 1st Half 12:08
Houston Baptist 12
Oral Roberts 13 1st Half 14:32
South Dakota St 4
Louisiana Tech 4 1st Half 15:58
Western Ky 10
TX-San Antonio 8 1st Half 11:48
Middle Tennessee 17
Texas-El Paso 7 1st Half 11:29
UAB 12
Auburn 8 1st Half 12:42
Arkansas 11
Grand Canyon 4 1st Half 12:38
UMKC 8
Illinois 6 1st Half 15:34
(15) Nebraska 1
(20) Iowa 20 1st Half 13:09
Northwestern 15
Utah Valley U 4 1st Half 15:20
Chicago State 6
Green Bay 16 1st Half 11:56
Valparaiso 5
Ole Miss 8:00 PM
LSU
Portland State 8:00 PM
Montana
Sacramento St 8:00 PM
Montana State
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Weber State
Ohio State 8:00 PM
Wisconsin
Northern Colorado 8:00 PM
Idaho State
BYU 9:00 PM
San Francisco
St Marys-CA 9:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Pacific 9:00 PM
Pepperdine
Cal-Irvine 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
San Diego 9:00 PM
Santa Clara
UC Davis 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Long Beach St 10:59 PM
Hawaii
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