Gophers player sure to win Kazmaier award

MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota women’s hockey team dominated the regular season, going a perfect 36-0. Now, the Gophers are dominating postseason awards as well.

Senior Megan Bozek, senior goalie Noora Raty and junior forward Amanda Kessel on Thursday were named the three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given annually to the best player in women’s college hockey. It’s the first time in the award’s 16-year history that one school produced all three finalists.

“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,” Minnesota coach Brad Frost said in a statement.

All three players had integral roles on the Gophers team that has set an NCAA record for longest winning streak. Kessel, whose brother Phil plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs, led all Division I players in scoring with 94 points (43 goals, 51 assists). She averaged 1.34 goals per game and scored a nation-best five shorthanded goals.

Raty was strong in net all season for Minnesota, posting 15 shutouts, by far the most among Division I goalies. She also ranked second with a 0.93 goals-against average and first with a .956 save percentage. Raty was a Patty Kazmaier finalist in 2010 but did not win.

Bozek was one of the highest-scoring defenders in college hockey this season, finishing with 52 points (18 goals, 34 assists) during her senior season. Her 1.44 points per game were second among players at her position.

Minnesota’s lone Patty Kazmaier winner was Krissy Wendell in 2005. The winner of this year’s award will be announced March 23 during a banquet on the University of Minnesota campus.

The Gophers and their trio of Kazmaier finalists will play Ohio State on Friday in the WCHA Final Face-Off semifinal game in Minneapolis. 

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