USA Hockey Names 10 Kazmaier Finalists

The USA Hockey Foundation today named the 10 finalists for the 2005 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award given to the top NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey player. Highlighting the list are two three-time finalists, Minnesota co-captain Krissy Wendell and junior Natalie Darwitz, and two two-time finalists, Minnesota-Duluth captain Caroline Ouellette and Harvard tri-captain Nicole Corriero. The four repeat finalists are also the nation’s four leading scorers.

Darwitz (Eagan, Minn.) leads the nation in points and assists (29-54–83). Wendell is right behind her in both categories (32-43–75) and leads the nation in shorthanded goals. Ouellette (Montreal, Que.) is third nationally in points (27-38–65) and tied with Corriero for the national lead with seven-game winning goals. Corriero is the nation’s leading goal scorer (37-16–53) and the national leader with 14 power play goals.

Minnesota, Wisconsin and Harvard were the only three schools to have both of its nominees in the Top 10. Each team can only nominate two players for the award, and the 10 finalists are voted upon by all Division I coaches. A 13 member-panel of coaches, media and one USA Hockey representative will narrow the field down to three candidates by March 14. The winner will be announced at the Kazmaier dinner on March 26.

Among the finalists, five came from the WCHA, four came from the ECAC and one from the CHA. Hockey East was shut out of the Kazmaier Top 10 for the first time in its eight-year existence. ECAC schools have won the award every year, although two winners came from current Hockey East members New Hampshire and Northeastern. Harvard players have won the award four times, more than all other schools combined. Brown’s Ali Brewer is the only goalie to ever win the award, and Harvard’s Angela Ruggiero is the only defenseman ever to win the award.

The list of finalists includes six Canadians–four more than a year ago when only Ouellette and Corriero made the list. Of the six Olympic medalists playing in college hockey, all five nominated for the award made the list. Minnesota sophomore Lyndsay Wall, the nation’s top scoring defender, was not nominated in lieu of U.S. Olympians Wendell and Darwitz. The other Olympians are Ouellette; Dartmouth junior Cherie Piper (Scarborough, Ont.), the nation’s fifth leading scorer (19-30–49); and Harvard tri-captain and junior Julie Chu (Fairfield, Conn.), who ranks second nationally in assists per game (6-33–39).

Six seniors and four juniors were nominated for the award. The only juniors who made the list were 2002 Olympians.

The two Wisconsin players nominated are also the only two defensemen nominated for the award, captain Carla MacLeod (Calgary, Alb.) and assistant captain Molly Engstrom (Siren, Wis.). Both players have national team experience with their respective countries, and in college play, they lead a defense that ranks third nationally in goals per game.

The only goaltender and first CHA player ever nominated for the award is Mercyhurst senior Desi Clark (Salmo, B.C.). Clark leads the nation in goals against average (1.32) and ranks third in save percentage (.935).

Rounding out the list of nominees is St. Lawrence captain Rebecca Russell (Clarenville, Nfld.), the nation’s sixth leading scorer in total points (24-24–48). The nation’s top six scorers in total points were all nominated.

The award dinner will be held at the Sheraton Harborside Portsmouth in Portsmouth, N.H. in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four. Tickets are available at or by calling 719-538-1172.