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.

  • The Forward Amanda Kessel is the nation’s leading scorer.

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NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland 3 Top 11th Inning
Kansas City 1
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs 1 Bottom 8th Inning
St. Louis 10
Los Angeles 1 Bottom 8th Inning
San Diego 1
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San Francisco 3
Oakland 0 Top 7th Inning
LA Angels 2
Washington 3 Top 7th Inning
Seattle 0
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BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
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(8) Michigan State 45
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Western Ky 59
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Houston 7
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Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
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Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 4th Qtr 0:48
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(1) Florida State 27 4th Qtr 7:01
Oklahoma State 24
(14) Wisconsin 17 3rd Qtr
(13) LSU 7
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Florida 0
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(3) Oregon 21
(25) Washington 7 1st Qtr 0:29
Hawaii 10
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(10) Baylor
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Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
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Boston College
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Nevada
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North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
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(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
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Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
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UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
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Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
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Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
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Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
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Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
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Florida
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Vanderbilt
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NC State
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Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
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(9) So Carolina
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ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
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(7) UCLA
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Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
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Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 1 1st Half
San Jose 1
Portland 0 1st Half 15:00
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
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Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
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Calgary
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Ottawa
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Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
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