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. The 2021 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner will be announced on March 27 on NHL Network.
It doesn’t matter if it’s in practice or a game, Northeastern senior goaltender Aerin Frankel hates it when an opposing shooter scores on her.
The Huskies’ standout has made a habit of shutting down the opposition this season, as she is on her way to once again rewriting the Northeastern record books and placing herself in the discussion for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award for the third straight season, this year as a top-three finalist.
“I’m a very competitive person,” Frankel said. “Obviously, you’re not going to have a shutout every night, that’s a lot to ask of yourself. But I take every shot, every period, every game one at a time, and I think that mindset of staying in the present has helped me find success and more consistency.”
Frankel has enjoyed rock-solid consistency this season, leading the nation with 19 wins, a 0.81 goals-against average and a .965 save percentage in 23 games played. She leads the country with nine shutouts in those 23 games.
“Just when you think Aerin has reached her peak and is performing at her best, she gets better,” Northeastern coach Dave Flint said. “She’s a world-class athlete who works every day to be the best version of herself. She makes her teammates around her better and gives our team a chance to win every game. I am very fortunate to have been able to coach her the past four years.”
Recently, Frankel earned her 25th Hockey East Conference shutout, surpassing the previous record established by Katie Burt, of Boston College. During that time, she recorded five of Northeastern’s six consecutive shutouts for a career-best shutout streak of 376 minutes, 27 seconds.
“It’s just learning how to consistently play at this level,” said Frankel, who has a school-record 27 shutouts. “You can’t get too caught up in the highs and lows. You have to play with a calm mindset the entire year because at the end of the day, you can’t control everything, and if you try to look too far ahead, and dwell on some past mistakes, you’re not going to be at your best. I’ve been trying to control what I can control and take every game one at a time.”
During the 2019-20 season, Frankel was a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award, which is presented annually to the top NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey player. As a junior, she set new single-season program records with a 1.07 goals-against average, a .958 save percentage, 10 shutouts and 27 wins.
Frankel is excited to be in the mix for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award.
“There have been a lot of amazing hockey players who have been in the conversation for the award,” Frankel said. “There’s so much history with the award, and just looking at some of the names that have been honored, it’s an incredible accomplishment, not only as a hockey player, but as a person. Even being mentioned is a huge deal to me and it’s obviously an honor.”
Frankel and Northeastern captured the Hockey East Conference championship and the No. 3-ranked Huskies were set to face Princeton in the NCAA quarterfinals last March before the global pandemic canceled the tournament.
Frankel and her teammates haven’t forgotten.
“We picked up right where we left off,” Frankel said heading into the NCAA championships. “We’re still hungry from last year. I think this is a continuation from last year, for me, searching for our first NCAA championship and Frozen Four appearance.” Unfortunately for Frankel and the Huskies, the championship dream fell short, as Wisconsin claimed a 2-1 victory in overtime on March 20.
Frankel has also enjoyed a recent meteoric rise within the USA Hockey program.
She was named to the U.S. Under-22 Women’s Select Team for the first time in August 2019 where she competed for Team USA against Canada at Lake Placid, New York. Frankel was also selected to the U.S. Women’s National Team for the first time in December 2019 where she participated in the two-game Rivalry Series. The highlight came on Dec. 17, 2019, when Frankel backstopped the U.S. to a 2-1 victory against Team Canada during the second game of the Rivalry Series in Moncton, New Brunswick. Frankel stopped 27 of 28 shots faced in the victory.
“The Canada game was super fun,” Frankel said. “Looking back, I had no idea I was going to play, but I’m super grateful that I was given the opportunity. It was an adjustment, but obviously I had one of the best teams in the world on my side, which helped, so as the game went on, I was just playing hockey and having fun. We got the win, which was amazing in my first start with the national team, so I’ll never forget that day.”
Frankel was then named to the U.S. Women’s National Team for the 2020 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship, which was scheduled to take place in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia, before it was canceled because of the pandemic. She also was invited to the U.S. Women’s National Team evaluation camp this past October in Blaine, Minnesota, an event that’s part of the process for selecting the team for the upcoming 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship.
“It has been awesome to get some of that recognition and it’s an honor to play with some of those amazing players,” Frankel said. “Everyone is so good and you can’t take a rep off because everyone is gunning to do their best. They want to put the puck in the net just as bad as I want to stop it. It creates a very competitive environment, which is fun, but challenging.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.