Minnesota Women's Hockey: Two Gophers Among Patty Kaz Award Top-10 Finalists

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Rachael Bona and Hannah Brandt were among the 10 finalists for the top award in women's college hockey.

HATS OFF to Rachael Bona and Hannah Brandt, as they were announced as Top 10 finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award today! For those who aren't familiar with it, the Patty Kaz is the player of the year award for collegiate women's hockey.

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.

The honor is well deserved for both Gophers:

Brandt, a sophomore from Hill Murray, is tied for first in the nation with 55 points (19 goals 36 assists). Bona, a junior from Coon Rapids, ranks third nationally with 52 points (20 goals, 32 assists).

Brandt is no stranger to the Patty Kaz, as she was part of the All Gopher Final 3 Top 10 for last season's award (which was won by Gopher forward Amanda Kessel).

Joining Brandt and Bona in the top 10 are:

sophomore defenseman Erin Ambrose (Clarkson); senior forward Brittany Ammerman (Wisconsin); senior forward Kelly Babstock (Quinnipiac); senior forward Christine Bestland (Mercyhurst); sophomore forward Sarah Lefort (Boston University); sophomore goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer (Harvard); senior forward Jamie Lee Rattray (Clarkson) and junior forward Jillian Saulnier (Cornell).

To celebrate the nominations, I created a little GIF:


(h/t to Paul Klevorn -- @paulkman -- for the Patty Kaz image and Gopher Athletics for the rest)

Making the Top 10 finalists is a great honor, but there is plenty of hockey left to play first. Brandt, Bona, and their Gopher Women's Hockey teammates open the WCHA playoffs this weekend at home against St. Cloud State. If you have the opportunity, you should go cheer on the women as they attempt to win their 3rd straight WCHA Tournament Championship! If they succeed, it will be the first time in conference history that a team has won 3 straight tournament titles. Tickets are available for both Friday night (7pm at Ridder Arena) and Saturday afternoon (4pm at Ridder Arena). Heck, if you're going to see the Men on Saturday you could even make it a double header and hit both games!

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