Botterill, Shewchuk Named Kazmaier Finalists
The USA Hockey Foundation announced yesterday that Harvard junior co-captain Jennifer Botterill and senior winger Tammy Shewchuk are two of the three finalists for the 2001 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of the most outstanding player in women's intercollegiate ice hockey each season.
The nomination of Botterill--the consensus favorite to win the award for some time now--comes as no surprise.
Botterill's season has been marked by more than just numbers, although she has plenty of those. Her 73 points, 37 goals and 36 assists in just 26 games give her far and way the best goal and point-per-game averages in the country. She had hat tricks in three consecutive games in late January and was averaging over two goals per-game in ECAC play for the first half of the season.
The importance and timing of the goals she has scored this year--the game-winner against No. 1 Dartmouth which gave No. 3 Harvard its first win over the Big Green in five tries, and her overtime game-winner against Northeastern in the Beanpot for the third consecutive year--are what make her the heavy favorite to win the award.
As for Shewchuk, if there was ever any doubt that she deserved to be one of the three Patty Kazmaier finalists, she buried it all with her performance on Saturday in the ECAC Quarterfinals against Providence. Her hat trick carried her team into overtime, and once there, her words to her teammates in the locker room made Coach Katey Stone reminisce about the 1999 National Championship.
Shewchuk went on to lead by example, delivering the initial shot which sophomore linemate Kalen Ingram turned into the game-winning goal.
Shewchuk has made a remarkable transformation in just two years. In 1999, she scored 51 goals to lead the nation. This year, she stands at just seventh in the nation with 26 goals. She was even further down the list in mid-February when she had just nine goals in her first 16 games.
But her 40 assists--most of which have helped set up Botterill--lead the country.
Shewchuk now has a remarkable scoring parity of 149 goals and 149 assists for her career. Earlier this year, she broke the career records of 1999 Kazmaier winner A.J. Mleczko '99 in goals, assists and points.
The third finalist is Minnesota senior defenseman Courtney Kennedy, who led the No. 6 Gophers to the WCHA regular season title and anchored a defense that allowed a league-low 2.09 goals per game. She was the leading scorer among defensemen with 10 goals and 25 assists on the season in conference play. She has already earned WCHA Player of the Year accolades.
If Botterill or Shewchuk take home the Kazmaier as expected, it would give Harvard half of the winners in the award's four-year history. In the short history of the Kazmaier and the short history of the national tournament, every team with a Kazmaier winner has advanced at least as far as the national championship game.