Brittany Ammerman named Patty Kazmaier Award top-10 finalist

Redshirt junior Brittany Ammerman - Nicole Haase

Senior goalie Alex Rigsby is not on the list, however.

The top 10 finalists were named for the Patty Kazmaier award Thursday morning and Wisconsin's Brittany Ammerman was a surprise inclusion on the list.

Players must be nominated by at least two coaches. A list is compiled and sent around to all the coaches in the country. The votes are tabulated and that's how the top ten are chosen.

Ammerman leads the WCHA with 20 goals in conference action. She's been especially effective during the power-play, tied for the country lead with eight PP goals. As "performance in the clutch" is listed as one of the selection criteria for the award, you can imagine this was an important part of Ammerman's resume.

These accomplishments and the top ten nod should all be magnified by the fact that just a year ago Ammerman wasn't sure she'd every skate or play hockey again. You can read about her return from debilitating concussions and her long road back to the team in the profile I did on her earlier in the season.

That profile will also teach you a lot about how impressively put-together Ammerman is. It's no doubt that her dogged return to the ice combined with her mission work in Africa and volunteer time in hospitals in Madison were part of the impression that Ammerman leaves on voters.

This year's list contains a lot of surprises - the top eight scorers in the country are on the list. The other two are Ammerman and Harvard sophomore goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer. Maschmeyer is arguably the third-best goalie in the country behind Rigsby and Minnesota's Amanda Leveille.

Leveille may have suffered from two teammates having made the list and the hangover of three teammates reaching the top three last season. She may also suffer from comparisons to former Gopher Noora Raty, who was in the top three but did not win the award.

There are not many similar excuses for Rigsby's snub. The most common reasoning given for her possible exclusion before the list was released was the stellar play of freshman Ann-Renée Desbiens. The logic being that if a freshman could play at a similar level, the competition wasn't very difficult and Rigsby didn't deserve attention for doing well against it.

Rigsby will always suffer from a comparison to former Badger Jessie Vetter, who won the award in 2009. Though the award is for a single season, Rigsby's breaking of multiple of Vetter's career records should have helped to erase some of the doubt voters had about her talent in relation to Vetter.

It is the fourth straight year the Badgers have a player honored in the top ten for the award. Four Badgers have won the award - Sara Bauer in 2006, Jessie Vetter in 2009, Meghan Duggan in 2011 and Brianna Decker in 2012.

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