The 2020 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner will be announced on Friday (March 27) at 1:30 p.m. ET. on USA Hockey's YouTube and Facebook channels. An award of The USA Hockey Foundation, the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award is presented annually to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey.
Year-to-year, Ohio State standout forward Emma Maltais is focused on using her seasons as a building and learning experience.
Last season, Maltais was in the mix for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award, presented annually to the top women’s college hockey player in the nation. This season, the Buckeyes junior was named a top-10 finalist for the highest award in women’s college hockey.
“It’s unbelievable to be mentioned for the Patty Kazmaier Award,” said Maltais, a native of Burlington, Ontario. “I think that in itself is truly an honor, to be mentioned alongside the other names that are also in contention. I owe it all to my teammates and my coaches for helping me get to this point.”
Ohio State coach Nadine Muzerall is very familiar with the Patty Kazmaier Award, finishing as a two-time finalist during her playing career at Minnesota.
“It’s a huge honor because if you look at who’s in the talent pool, there are some great and respectable names,” Muzerall said. “She’s very grateful and she’s the quarterback to our success.”
Maltais is the sixth in Ohio State history to be in the top 10 for the Patty Kazmaier Award and first Buckeye since 2012 when the highly decorated Natalie Spooner, a future Olympic gold medalist, was a finalist.
“Emma has consistently been good throughout her three years,” Muzerall said. “She’s a 200-foot hockey player, blocking shots, backchecking and creating a lot of scoring opportunities. I haven’t come across too many players in the country who can excel in all three zones like that. She’s just a leader and is very elite amongst her peers.”
Maltais is currently sixth in the nation with 18 goals and a new Ohio State single-season record of 55 points. Maltais finished with five assists during a weekend sweep of St. Cloud State to surpass Jana Harrigan’s 2004-05 record and establish the single-season mark in points. Maltais also has 37 assists, good for third-best in the nation.
“To leave any impact I can on the program is what I’m looking for,” Maltais said. “This season, I’m just trying to stay consistent and do as much as I can for my team in every game.”
Maltais established another record against St. Cloud State earlier this season, scoring four goals to tie a single-game record, previously set in 2010. She has three four-point games in addition to a six-game point streak with two goals and 15 points during the span.
“You need somebody who can put the puck in the net at the end of the day, and she can do that, but she looks to pass before shooting,” Muzerall said. “She’s always looking to make the play and set up her teammates. There’s never that talk about ‘me’ or ‘I’ in points.”
Maltais is currently fifth in program history with 138 points, and she is one of 11 in Ohio State women’s hockey history to reach at least 100 career points. This season, Maltais was named a two-time WCHA Forward of the Week, an NCAA Second Star of the Week and a WCHA Forward of the Month.
“I think as I get older in the program, people rely on me more as a leader, so I’m trying to do the best I can in that manner,” Maltais said. “I think maturing through the program and using what I’ve learned in previous seasons from older people who have been role models to me who have graduated has been really important. It’s a challenge, but it’s really rewarding in the end.”
Maltais has also led No. 5-ranked Ohio State to several significant wins this season, most recently a 3-1 victory at No. 2 Wisconsin in February. Ohio State, two seasons removed from a Frozen Four appearance, also has wins against No. 3 Minnesota No. 6 Princeton and the lone regulation victory this season against top-ranked Cornell.
“My freshman year, making it to the Frozen Four was nothing short of exceptional,” Maltais said. “I think that’s a goal of ours, obviously to make it there, and this year we are just as close as a team.”
Particularly, with Maltais leading the way.
“She’s mentally very tough and a team-first player,” Muzerall said. “She’s very coachable and just any player that a coach always wants. We’re lucky to have her.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.