Minnesota forwards Kelly Pannek and Sarah Potomak are two of ten finalists for the 2017 Patty Kazmaier Award.
The award for the top player in Division 1 women's ice hockey will be handed out March 18th during the Frozen Four in St. Louis, Missouri.
With a nation-best 1.73 points per game this season, Pannek leads Minnesota and all players with 57 points (17G-40A) in 33 games. The junior forward from Plymouth, MN has centered the Gophers' top line all season while leading the power play. (Minnesota's 25.5% power play is currently second in the nation behind Boston College.) She had a career-best 20 game scoring streak between mid-October and January.
Potomak, a native of Aldergrove, BC, is the only sophomore among the final ten players. Playing with Pannek, she currently sits 8th in the nation with 46 points (17G-29A) in 32 games. Her 6 game-winning goals are tied for third-best.
Besides the Gopher duo, three other WCHA players were named finalists. Wisconsin senior goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens, the only returning player among the 2016 final three finalists, is one along with teammate Annie Pankowski. Minnesota Duluth senior forward Lara Stalder is also a finalist.
The other five are (in alphabetical order): Megan Keller (Boston College), Kelsey Koelzer (Princeton University), Kennedy Marchment (St. Lawrence University), Cayley Mercer (Clarkson University) and Brooke Webster (St. Lawrence University)
Keller and Koelzer are defenders. The rest are forwards.
From these ten finalists the final three will be named on March 2nd.
The Patty Kazmaier Award is named in honor of the late Patty Kazmaier-Sandt, a Princeton hockey player who died in 1990 due to a rare blood disease at the age of 28. It has been handed out every year since 1998.
Two Gophers, Krissy Wendell (2005) and Amanda Kessel (2013), have won the award.