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Wisconsin hockey: three Badgers named Patty Kazmaier Award finalists

Abby Roque, Daryl Watts and Sophie Shirley are among the 10 finalists for the prestigious award.

@BadgerWHockey; UW Communications

The 10 finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award were announced by USA Hockey on Thursday and three Wisconsin Badgers made the cut. Senior forward Abby Roque, sophomore forward Sophie Shirley and junior forward Daryl Watts are the three Badgers on the list, the first time Wisconsin has had a trio of players on the list since 2009.

A press release from the athletic department lists all the accolades that these three have accumulated so far:

Roque and Shirley are first-time top-10 finalists for the award while this marks the second time that Watts, the 2018 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner while at Boston College, has made the top-10.

An alternate captain for the Badgers, Roque ranks sixth in the country with 53 points, while her +35 plus/minus rating ranks fifth. The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, native has been clutch for UW as she has five game-winning tallies this year, which pace the WCHA. The center has been stellar in the faceoff circle for UW, as her 450 faceoff wins and her .654 faceoff percentage lead the NCAA.

Shirley, the 2019 WCHA Rookie of the Year, ranks second in the NCAA with 26 goals, while her 55 points put her in a tie for third in the country. She has already set career-best marks in goals, assists and points this year while her +33 plus/minus rating ranks in the top-10 nationally. A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Shirley has points in 28 of UW’s 32 contests this year and has 16 multi-point games to her credit.

A Toronto native, Watts paces the NCAA with 67 points in 32 games as the only player in the country with better than a 2.00 points-per-game average. Watts has a career-best 45 assists, which not only lead the NCAA, but are only three off of the UW record of 48 set by previous Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners Sara Bauer (2006-07) and Meghan Duggan (2010-11). The winger holds a +31 plus/minus rating and 22 goals, which rank third in the WCHA.

The top-three finalists will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 27 and the winner will be announced in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Saturday, March 21, as part of the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four weekend hosted by Boston University. Here are the other seven finalists for the award, featuring two goalies, one defender and four more forwards.

The Badgers, who have been struggling lately with only one regulation win in their past four games and have fallen to No. 2 in the country behind Cornell, have one final series in the regular season. Wisconsin will be travelling to Duluth to take on the No. 9 Bulldogs, puck drop on Friday is at 7 p.m. while Sunday’s regular-season finale begins at 2 p.m.

The first round of the WCHA Tournament, which takes place on campus, will start on February 28 in Madison.