College Hockey:
Top 10 Kazmaier Candidates Named

— Maria Rooth is a finalist for the third time, as the top 10 candidates for The 2002 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award — women’s college hockey’s most prestigious individual honor — were announced today by the USA Hockey Foundation.

The 10 candidates represent seven different colleges and universities. Minnesota, Northeastern and Ohio State each boast two candidates. Of the 10 candidates, four are seniors, three are juniors, two are sophomores and one is a freshman.

Earlier this year, The USA Hockey Foundation asked women’s Division I coaches to nominate up to two players from their team for the Kazmaier Award. Those players were placed on an official ballot and sent to the coaches, who then voted for the top 10 finalists. The official ballots were tabulated by the nationally respected accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

The finalists, as well as the recipient of The 2002 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, will be chosen by a 12-member selection committee comprised coaches, representatives of the print and broadcast media, and a representative of USA Hockey, the National Governing Body for the sport of hockey in the United States. The three finalists for the award will be announced March 11.

Celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, The Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award was first presented to New Hampshire forward Brandy Fisher in 1998. Harvard forward, and 1998 and 2002 U.S. Olympian, A.J. Mleczko received the accolade in 1999, and Brown goaltender Ali Brewer was the 2000 recipient. In 2001, Harvard forward and 2002 Canadian Olympian Jennifer Botterill was honored with the award.

The Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award recognizes the accomplishments of the most outstanding player in women’s collee hockey each season. This year’s award dinner will be held the evening of Saturday, March 23 in Portsmouth, N.H., at the Sheraton Harborside Portsmouth. This year, the award will once again be presented in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s tournament, which will take place March 22-24 on the campus of the University of New Hampshire.

Individual dinner tickets are priced at $100.00 for adults and $50.00 for children 12 and under. Tickets, in addition to incremental levels of dinner sponsorship, may be purchased by calling The USA Hockey Foundation at (800) 566-3288, ext. 165; or Steve Burke at (617) 373-8952. Individual tickets and sponsorship packages are tax-deductible.

The award is named in honor of the late Patty Kazmaier, who was a four-year varsity letter-winner and All-Ivy League defenseman for the Princeton University women’s ice hockey team from 1981-82 through 1985-86. An accomplished athlete who helped lead the Tigers to the Ivy League Championship in three consecutive seasons (1981-82 through 1983-84), Patty Kazmaier-Sandt died on Feb. 15, 1990 at the age of 28 following a long struggle with a rare blood disease.

The 2002 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top 10 Candidates

Jeni Creary, Fr., F, Ohio State
Ronda Curtin, Jr., F/D, Minnesota
Chanda Gunn, So., G, Northeastern
Carly Haggard, Jr., F, Dartmouth
Emma Laaksonen, So., D, Ohio State
Kira Misikowetz, Sr., F, New Hampshire
Tania Pinelli, Sr., G, Niagara
Maria Rooth, Jr., F, Minnesota-Duluth
Laura Slominski, Sr., F, Minnesota
Brooke Whitney, Sr., F, Northeastern

Jeni Creary

Is tied for fourth in the nation and is Ohio State’s leading scorer with 38 points (22-16) in 26 games. Also ranks third nationally in goals and leads the nation in power-play goals with nine. Leads the WCHA in conference scoring with 24 points (16-8) in 18 games. In conference play, leads the league in goals and is tied for first in power-play goals with six.

Ronda Curtin

Is tied for ninth in the nation and is the leading scorer for Minnesota with 32 points (7-25) in 28 games. Is tied for second in the nation in assists. Is tied for fourth in the WCHA in conference scoring with 14 points (3-11) in 11 games. In conference play, stands second in league scoring with 23 points (5-18) in 18 games. Two-time WCHA All-Academic Team. Academic All-Big Ten. Two-time Patty Berg Academic Award honoree.

Chanda Gunn

Has posted an overall record of 19-2-0 with a 1.45 goals-against average, a .949 save percentage and three shutouts. Leads the nation in save percentage and also ranks fourth nationally in goals-against average and eighth in minutes played (1245:01). Holds a 1.68 goals-against average in conference play, good for third-best in the ECAC Eastern conference. Has posted an 11-2-0 league record and leads the conference with a .938 save percentage.

Carly Haggard

Leads the nation and the Dartmouth squad in scoring with 46 points (21-25) in 20 games overall. Also ranks fourth nationally in goals and is tied for second in assists. Leads the ECAC Northern conference in league scoring with 23 points (13-10) in eight games. Her 13 goals is good for best in the league. Also is tied for second in assists and tied for fifth in power-play goals with two. Serves as a mentor with a local high school mentoring program. Plays softball in the spring.

Emma Laaksonen

Is the leading scorer among Ohio State defensemen, tied for third on the squad overall, with 19 points (6-3) in 20 overall games. Is tied for eighth in the WCHA with nine assists in conference play. Named a 2001 Ohio State Scholar Athlete. A member of Team Finland since 1997. Won an Olympic bronze medal with Team Finland in 1998 and will represent her country again at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

Kira Misikowet

Ranks seventh in the nation and leads New Hampshire in overall scoring with 35 points (10-25) in 25 games. Her 25 assists tie her for second best in the nation. Is tied for sixth in the ECAC Eastern conference in league scoring with 19 points (4-15) in 14 games and ranks second in the league in assists. Volunteers as a DARE drug prevention educator in local schools.

Tania Pinelli

Holds a 19-6-0 overall record with a 1.72 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage and five shutouts. Ranks ninth nationally in goals-against average, second in minutes played (1468:47) and second in shutouts. Leads the ECAC Eastern conference with a 1.52 goals-against average in league play and has posted an 13-2-0 record and a .933 save percentage in conference contests. Leads the league in conference shutouts (4) and ranks second in conference minutes played (866:56). A three-time member of the Canadian Under-22 National Team.

Maria Rooth

Is tied for ninth in the nation and leads Minnesota-Duluth in overall scoring with 32 points (20-12) in 22 games. Ranks eighth in the WCHA in league scoring with 20 points (12-8) in 16 games and is tied for second-best in the league with her 12 goals. Named to the Dean’s List three semesters. Earned 2001 WCHA All-Academic Team honors. Two-time member (1998 and 2002) of the Swedish Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team.

Laura Slominski

Ranks third on the Gophers squad in overall scoring with 29 points (15-14) in 28 games. Is tied for fifth in the WCHA in conference scoring with 21 points (12-9) in 18 games. In conference play, is tied for second in the league in goals and is tied for first in the league in power-play goals with six. Two-time WCHA All-Academic Team. Two-time “Highest GPA” team award-winner. Two-time Academic All-Big Ten Team. Serves as team captain.

Brooke Whitney

Ranks second in the nation and is Northeastern’s leading overall scorer with 45 points (27-18) in 25 games, including seven game-winning goals, four power-play goals and three shorthanded goals. Leads the nation goals and in shorthanded goals and is tied for ninth in assists. Leads the ECAC Eastern conference in league scoring with 27 points (17-10) in 15 games. Leads the league in goals scored and is tied for fifth in assists. Volunteers with Operation Peace, an after-school program for kids ages 6-13 years old.

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