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Wisconsin women’s hockey: Daryl Watts, Sophie Shirley named Patty Kazmaier top-10 finalists

This is the second straight year the duo has received this honor.

Watts and Shirley celebrating a goal.
Tom Lynn

For the second straight season, Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey stars senior forward Daryl Watts and junior forward Sophie Shirley were named top-10 finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given annually to the best collegiate women’s hockey player in the country, as announced by USA Hockey on Thursday.

This marks the third time that Watts, the 2018 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner while at Boston College, has been named a top-10 finalist while this is the second time that Shirley has been on the shortlist.

According to a UW press release, “this marks the ninth time that UW has had multiple student-athletes on the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top-10 Finalist list and the sixth-straight year UW has at a top-10 finalist.” Here are some season stats, from the same press release, that show why these two are the best that college hockey has to offer.

A three-time All-American, Watts leads the country in scoring this year, averaging 1.93 points per game this year thanks to 13 goals and 14 assists. Her 27 points rank second in the country and pace the WCHA. She also has a +21 plus/minus rating that paces all WCHA skaters. Watts has three game-winning goals this year and points in 13 of UW’s 14 games this year. The Toronto native currently ranks 17th in NCAA history in career scoring with 231 points.

The 2019 WCHA Rookie of the Year, Shirley is tied for third in the country in scoring, averaging 1.50 points per game. Shirley has been consistent for the Badgers as she has points in 13 of UW’s 14 games this year and has an eight-game point streak heading into this weekend’s series at UMD. Earlier this year Shirley joined the 100-point club at UW and her 58 career goals rank 14th in school history.

Ohio State senior forward Emma Maltais and Minnesota senior forward Grace Zumwinkle were the two other WCHA players that made the cut. The other finalists are: Northeastern defenseman Skylar Fontaine, goaltender Aerin Frankel and forward Alina Müller, Clarkson forwards Élizabeth Giguère (last season’s winner) and Caitrin Lonergan and Penn State forward Kiara Zanon.

Three finalists for the 2021 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award will be announced on March 18, with the winner being revealed on March 27.

Five Badgers have won the Patty Kazmaier Award before: forward Sara Bauer in 2006, goalie Jessie Vetter in 2009, forward Meghan Duggan in 2011, forward Brianna Decker in 2012 and goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens in 2017. Forward Abby Roque was one of the three finalists for the award last season and forward Anne Pankowski was one of the three finalists the year before that. With five award winners in program history, the Badgers only sit behind Harvard (six) for most ever.

The Badgers hit the road this weekend for the final regular season series of the year at No. 7 Minnesota Duluth. Puck drop on Friday is at 5 p.m. CST and Saturday’s game begins at 2 p.m. CST. Both games can be seen live on FloHockey.