WCHA Player of the Year Curtin finalist for Kazmaier

by Aaron Blake

Minnesota women’s hockey defender Ronda Curtin was named one of three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award by USA Hockey on Monday. The Kazmaier award honors the most outstanding player in Division I women’s hockey.

The candidates have been narrowed from the 10 named Feb. 5. Senior captain Laura Slominski was among those originally considered.

Curtin has already earned WCHA player of the year, defensive player of the year and Final Five most valuable player honors while leading the Gophers to a 28-3-5 record, the WCHA regular season and the Final Five tournament championship.

The junior led the conference in scoring (47 points), assists (34), goals by a defender (13) and power-play points (22) after switching from forward to defense before the season began. Nationally, she ranks first in assists, sixth in points and third in defensive scoring.

“Ronda has been the epitome of a team player this year by stepping into a new position in order to help our team win,” Minnesota coach Laura Halldorson said in a release. “Not only has she had a great attitude, she has had an unbelievably successful year on the ice.”

The other two finalists were Carly Haggard, a junior from Dartmouth, and Brooke Whitney, a senior from Northeastern.

Curtin will lead her team to New Hampshire on Mar. 22-24 for the NCAA Frozen Four.

Men’s swimming

Minnesota’s men’s swimming and diving team hosted the Gopher Invitational on Sunday.

Minnesota, which repeated as Big Ten Champions this year, next competes in the NCAA Championships from March 28-30 in Athens, Ga.

The 200-yard medley and 800-yard freestyle relays both automatically qualified for the national meet. The Gophers will also send Todd Smolinski, Ben Bartell, Jeff Hackler, Matt Taylor and Terry Silkaitis to compete in individual events.

Fleming gets bad news

Minnesota men’s basketball senior Kerwin Fleming missed practice Monday to attend his grandfather’s funeral.

Fleming is expected back Monday night and will play when the Gophers host New Mexico in the opening round of the National Invitational Tournament on Wednesday.

“It was a situation he found out about late last week,” coach Dan Monson said. “It has been a tough week for him.”


– Brian Hall
Staff Reporter