One year after Johnny Gaudreau took home the prestigious Hobey Baker award, it appears another Eagle may be poised to bring some individual hardware back to the heights. Alex Carpenter, a junior forward from North Reading, Mass., has been named to the Final 3 for the Patty Kazmaier Award, honoring the nation's most outstanding women's collegiate hockey player.
Going in to the postseason, Carpenter appears to be the heavy favorite to win the award. She leads the nation in just about every major statistical category: goals (33), assists (42), points (75), and points per game (2.27). She also leads the nation in game winning goals (8) and, for good measure, faceoff percentage (68.5%). Her 33 goals have come in 33 games, so you can do the math on the goal average. She also of course helped lead her team to its best ever regular season, posting a 32-1-2 record and spending a vast majority of the season atop the NCAA rankings.
Joining Carpenter as finalists for the award are Hannah Brandt, a junior forward for the University of Minnesota who also put up eye-popping numbers (31 goals, 36 assists, 67 points), and Marie-Philip Poulin of Boston University. Poulin is an outstanding player and by all accounts a great human being, but a bit of a head-scratcher as a Final 3 selection, as she is 7th in the nation in points per game at 1.62 and isn't in the top 3 in any major category. The votes for Poulin might be more of a "lifetime achievement award" for the highly decorated Poulin, who scored two of the most famous goals in women's hockey history for Canada at last year's Olympics.
Much like Kevin Hayes last year, whose eye-popping stats were overshadowed by Johnny Gaudreau's historic season, Haley Skarupa of Boston College seems to be a bit hard done by here in making the final ten but not making the final three. You could make a legitimate case for Skarupa as runner up; she's third in the nation in goals (29), fourth in assists (35), and #2 in points per game (1.94), trailing only Carpenter. She and Carpenter have been a dynamic, nearly unstoppable duo for BC this year, and have fueled the Eagles' outstanding season.
The award will be given out on Saturday, March 21 at a ceremony in Minneapolis as part of the women's Frozen Four weekend. Carpenter certainly hopes she'll be in Minneapolis on business that weekend as her Eagles seek to claim their first ever national championship. But she also appears highly likely to be on the verge of making history for the Eagles and winning the program's first ever Patty Kazmaier Award.