Canada’s Ann-Renee Desbiens, Cayley Mercer finalists for Patty Kazmaier Award

Desbiens, Mercer finalists for Patty Kazmaier

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Canadian goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens and forward Cayley Mercer are among the three finalists for this season’s Patty Kazmaier Award given to the top player in NCAA Division 1 women’s hockey.

Desbiens of La Malbaie, Que., is a senior at the University of Wisconsin, while Mercer of Exeter, Ont., is also a senior at Clarkson.

University of Minnesota-Duluth forward Lara Stalder of Lucerne, Switzerland, rounds out the finalists announced Thursday.

The winner will be announced March 18 during the women’s Frozen Four tournament in St. Charles, Mo.

Desbiens led the NCAA in save percentage (.963), goals-against average (0.69), wins (25) and shutouts (15). She held opponents to one goal or less in 24 of 30 games this season.

Desbien, 22, won a silver medal with the Canadian women’s team at the 2015 women’s world champoinship.

Mercer, 23, led the NCAA in goals with 25 and tied for third in points with 55. The Clarkson co-captain posted 18 multi-point games this season.

Stalder’s 1.66 points per game was second-highest in the NCAA and her 53 points ranked second fifth.

The award is named in honour of the late Patty Kazmaier, who played for Princeton from 1981 to 1986. She died at age 28 of a blood disease.

The winner is chosen based on individual and team skills, sportsmanship, performance in big games, character, and competitiveness. Consideration is also given to academic achievement and civic involvement.

Previous Canadian winners of the award were Clarkson’s Jamie Lee Rattray of Kanata, Ont. (2014), Mercyhurst’s Vicki Bendus of Wasaga Beach, Ont., (2010); Harvard’s Sarah Vaillancourt of Sherbrooke, Que., (2008); Wisconsin’s Sara Bauer of St. Catharines, Ont., (2006); and Harvard’s Jennifer Botterill of Winnipeg (2001, 2003).

The Canadian Press