Räty among last three finalists for Kazmaier award

The Gophers freshman goalie would be the first European to win.

Räty among last three finalists for Kazmaier award

John Hageman

Minnesota womenâÄôs hockey goaltender Noora Räty is still in the running for the Patty Kazmaier award âÄî given annually to the top Division I womenâÄôs hockey player by USA Hockey âÄî after the field of 10 was narrowed down to three on Tuesday. Räty, who won her first medal with Team Finland at the 2010 Olympics, has a nation-leading 1.24 goals against average and .951 save percentage. Besides her statistical accomplishments, Räty was also named to the First Team All-WCHA and All-Rookie WCHA Team. The Gophers goalie becomes just the second freshman to be named a top-three finalist for the award in its 13-year history. She would be the first European to win the award. Räty becomes MinnesotaâÄôs first top-three finalist since Krissy Wendell and Natalie Darwitz in 2005. Wendell would go on to win the award and remains the only Gophers player to do so . Along with Räty, Mercyhurst junior Vicki Bendus and New Hampshire senior Kelly Paton were named top-three finalists. Bendus is tied with teammate Jesse Scanzano for the nationâÄôs lead in points, each tallying 62 this season. Paton is sixth in the nation in points with 51. All three finalists will participate in the NCAA Tournament, which begins this weekend. The award will be presented March 20 at a brunch at the McNamara Alumni Center in conjunction with the NCAA Frozen Four.