Bozek, Kessel and Räty Named Top-Three Finalists for Patty Kaz

Go Gophers! Krissy Wendell is the only Gopher to win the Patty Kazmaier Award (2005).
Go Gophers!
Krissy Wendell is the only Gopher to win the Patty Kazmaier Award (2005).
Go Gophers!

March 7, 2013

USA Hockey Release | Former Gopher Finalists | Patty Kaz Banquet

USA Hockey announced Thursday morning that Megan Bozek, Amanda Kessel and Noora Raty have been named the Top-3 finalists for the 2013 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. This is the first time in the award's 16 years that all three finalists are from the same team.

"What an incredible honor for Megan, Amanda and Noora," said University of Minnesota head coach Brad Frost. "As is the case every year there are many wonderful and talented players who are nominated for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. 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."

Bozek is a senior defenseman from Buffalo Grove, Ill. She currently ranks second among all defenseman in the nation with 52 points (18g-34a) and 15th among all positions. The team captain recently became the school record holder in career points, career goals and career assists by a defenseman.

"Megan is an offensive and defensive force, and I believe she is the most complete defenseman in college hockey," said Frost. "She is a dominant player in the defensive zone, leads the offensive rush with speed like no other defenseman, and involves herself in the offensive zone leading our power play and showcasing an elite skill set on the offensive blue line. Megan not only dominates on the ice, but she is also an incredible leader off the ice, serving as team captain. Her passion for excellence, enthusiasm for her teammates, and her joyful personality make her an irreplaceable player."

This is Bozek's first time being named a Patty Kazmaier Top-3 finalist.

Kessel, who is a junior forward from Madison, Wis., leads the nation in all major offensive categories, including points (94), goals (43), assists (51) and short-handed goals (5). This season, Kessel became the 24th player in NCAA history to reach 200-career points and only the ninth player to do so in three seasons. She is six points away from becoming only the fourth player in NCAA history to reach 100 points in a single season. 

"Amanda is having an historic season, and her domination on the ice this year has been nothing short of phenomenal," said Coach Frost. "The number of points that she has compiled is just one indication of her impact on our team. She is proving to be the most dynamic offensive threat in all of NCAA women's hockey, but her contribution goes much farther than that. She has grown into a complete two-way player, playing at an elite level in the defensive zone, on the penalty kill and certainly in the offensive zone. Her domination of most offensive statistical categories speaks for itself."

This is Kessel's first time being listed as a Patty Kazmaier Top-3 finalist.

Räty, who is a three-time Patty Kaz nominee, is a goaltender from Espoo, Finland. The senior currently holds NCAA records for career wins (109), career shutouts (41) and single season shutouts (15). Räty, who is 33-0-0 this season, is currently first in the nation in save percentage (.956) and second in goals against average (0.93).

"Noora is the backbone of our team, Frost stated. "Many outsiders consider our team defense and falsely believe Noora's job is easy. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, without Noora in goal our team would not be anywhere close to as successful as we are. She is quite simply the best goaltender in all of college hockey. Her aggressive yet controlled style confuses opponents, and her ability to make huge saves when they are needed most brings confidence to our team. She is impeccable in her preparation and attention to detail. She hates to lose, hates to give up any goal, and yet balances those competitive instincts with a calm demeanor and encouraging spirit towards her teammates. Noora is world class, in every aspect of her life."

This is Räty's second time being named to the Patty Kazmaier Top-3 (2010).

Minnesota, who only has one past Patty Kaz winniner in Krissy Wendell (2005), is guaranteed the programs second on March 23 at the Patty Kazmaier Banquet, which will be held at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota campus.

BANQUET TICKETS
Tickets to the 2013 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Ceremony and Brunch can be purchased at PattyKaz.com. Individual seats to the event are $65, while tables of 10 are available for $600. A select number of sponsorships and program advertisements are also still available.

ABOUT THE PATTY KAZMAIER MEMORIAL AWARD
An award of The USA Hockey Foundation, the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award is annually presented to the top player in NCAA Division I women's ice hockey. Selection criteria includes outstanding individual and team skills, sportsmanship, performance in the clutch, personal character, competitiveness and a love of hockey. Consideration is also given to academic achievement and civic involvement.

ABOUT PATTY KAZMAIER
The Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award is named in honor of the late Patty Kazmaier, who was a four-year varsity letter-winner and All-Ivy League defenseman at Princeton University from 1981-86. An accomplished athlete who helped lead the Tigers to the Ivy League Championship in three consecutive seasons (1981-84), Patty Kazmaier-Sandt died on Feb. 15, 1990, at the age of 28 following a long struggle with a rare blood disease.