By: Dave Souza
Alex Carpenter – Boston College, Forward
The reigning Patty Kazmaier Award winner has been up to her old tricks again for the Eagles, as the North Reading, Mass native leads the nation in both goals, with 27, and points, with 49. The BC Captain has seven game-winning goals on the season – another category in which she leads – as well as totaling three hat tricks and a four goal performance against the lowly Syracuse Orange.
Hannah Brandt – Minnesota, Forward
The only player in the country to be a Patty Kazmaier finalist three straight years, Brandt is once again thrusting herself into the discussion for the nation’s top player. The 5’6” Minnesotan is tied for third in the country in points with 41 and showed off her tremendous offensive prowess with a 5-goal night against sixth ranked Bemidji State.
Kendall Coyne – Northeastern, Forward
For three years, we here on Comm. Ave have seen the type of player Coyne can be. Her coast-to-coast goals have wowed us and broken our hearts; yet, her skill had not yet brought her into national relevance until the rest of a historically underperforming Husky squad stepped up to the plate. Now, with NU entering 2016 at 14-4-1 and holding on to the 8th seed in the country, Coyne finally has her chance to shine on the big stage; and boy has she shone. Second in both goals (26) and points (42), Coyne trails only Carpenter in national scoring. She currently has four 4-point nights thus far, and has even been featured on Sportscenter’s Top 10 Plays due to her ridiculous breakaway goal earlier this season.
Courtney Burke – Wisconsin, Defense
This year, the Badgers have been the best defensive team in the country; leading the charge for them is Burke. The senior from Shattuck-St. Mary’s is the top defenseman in the country in assists with 18. She also is a team best +30 and is second on the team in blocked shots with 21.
Cydney Roesler – Quinnipiac, Defense
The Bobcats’ captain leads by example both on and off the ice as Roesler was named the teams best Defensive Player in 2014 as well as being a member of the ECAC All-Academic team. This year, the Stittsville, Ontario native is a +14 and has blocked 15 shots for the defensively stout team from Connecticut. She often doesn’t appear on the score sheet, but her stellar play on the ice, along with her leadership, make her an easy WTBU All-Team selection.
Ann-Renee Desbiens – Wisconsin, Goalie
Desbiens currently has allowed the least amount of goals all season, with just 12, and currently leads the nation in both save percentage (.961) and shutouts (10). With her team leading the nation in average goals allowed per game with 0.60, Desbiens has been the main reason behind the Badgers’ stingy defense.
Coach of the Year:
Dave Flint – Northeastern University
A year ago the Huskies were 14-17-5 and lost to BU in the Hockey East Semi-finals. They came in last place in the annual Beanpot Tournament and looked to be squandering away the talents of Kendall Coyne. In 2015-2016, Flint’s squad has turned the tide and has already matched their total number of wins from last season. Sitting at the 8th spot in the country, Northeastern has the chance to make a deep run in the NCAA and Hockey East Tournaments with Coyne at the helm for one last time. Expect Flint to pull out all the stops as the team that has a history of not living up to expectations has the chance to erase that all this season.
Rookie of the Year:
Sarah Potomak – Minnesota, Forward
This one was a toss-up between Potomak and Boston College’s Makenna Newkirk, but what it all comes down to is value to their team. In four less games than Newkirk, Potomak has 15 more assists and has been a +30 in those 16 contests. Her 56 points are fourth on a Golden Gophers team that won the National Championship last year. With Potomak being the lifeblood of the upcoming Minnesota teams, look for the perennial favorites to stay at the head of the pack.
Kendall Coyne – Northeastern
A big shock for a lot of you reading this is me not having Alex Carpenter as the winner for the nation’s best award. However, Coyne has by far been the most valuable to her team. Much like Boston University’s Marie-Philip Poulin last season, Coyne is what makes her team go; without her, the Huskies would be struggling to maintain third place in a competitive Hockey East Conference. The real loser here is Brandt, who will more than likely become a fourth consecutive finalist for the award. Coyne is simply the most important to her team. Without Carpenter the Eagles are still one of the best in the country, especially with the likes of Haley Skarupa and Dana Trivigno. But, without Coyne, the Huskies are unranked and unnoticed. However, like last year, the committee probably will go strictly by statistics and give the nod to Carpenter for the second consecutive year.