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 2019 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner will be announced on March 23 in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Frozen Four in Hamden, Conn.
Clarkson University senior standout forward Loren Gabel already knows what it’s like to be among the top three finalists for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award, presented annually to the top women’s college hockey player in the nation.
Gabel is once again among the top scorers in the nation, putting her once more in the conversation for the Patty Kazmaier Award.
“It’s an amazing honor to be amongst the top players in the country for that award,” Gabel said. “Hearing my name among those players is an amazing feeling and definitely something I’ve been working towards this season. I think that being top three last year has definitely given me motivation to go out and do my best again.”
Gabel enjoyed a record-setting year as a junior. She tied for second in the nation in scoring and third in goals, setting a new single-season record with 36 goals and 75 points. Gabel, who led the country with a plus-58, was named ECAC Hockey Player of the Year.
Clarkson coach Matt Desrosiers initially informed Gabel that she was among the top three finalists for last year's Patty Kazmaier Award.
“I was kind of shocked to receive that text from my coach because I hadn’t seen it on social media yet,” Gabel said. “I was kind of surprised because I hadn’t seen it yet and I didn’t think I was going to be in the top three. When it came out, it was an amazing feeling just to be part of the conversation and to be in the top three.”
Gabel knew what the experience was like, following in the footsteps of former teammate Cayley Mercer, who was one of three finalists for the 2017 Patty Kazmaier Award. But it was different the following year, with herself as one of the finalists for the award, won by Daryl Watts of Boston College.
“Being there and sitting in the seat as one of the top three finalists was kind of nerve-wracking because you didn’t know the outcome,” Gabel said. “Just to be in that setting was amazing. It was an amazing feeling and just an amazing accomplishment to be in the top three.”
Gabel felt like it was a carryover from the previous year when Mercer was named among the top three in the nation. Mercer currently competes in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Gabel said the two still catch up via text message.
“I’ve tried to follow in her footsteps, being the leader on the team,” Gabel said. “I think that’s what helped me this year and helped me grow as a player. Especially playing on her line, she has definitely helped me become the player I am today.”
Gabel has Clarkson in the hunt for a third consecutive national championship.
This month, Gabel, the all-time leading scorer in Clarkson history, recorded her 200th career point. She also surpassed the 100-goal mark last month. Gabel is a former HCA National Player of the Month, a two-time ECAC Player of the Month, and three-time Player of the Week.
“It’s a milestone to hit 100 goals, but I couldn’t have done it without the help of my teammates and coaches,” Gabel said. “I’ve played with two amazing players and we definitely click well together.”
Gabel is currently battling with one of her linemates, Elizabeth Giguere, for the nation’s scoring lead. Gabel leads the nation with 33 goals through 30 games, and both have 59 points. Gabel also has a NCAA best nine game-winning goals this season.
The dynamic top line of Gabel, Giguere and Michala Pejzlova has combined for more than 70 goals and 160 points. Gabel and Giguere are tied for the top spot in the country, while Pejzlova is fourth.
“Elizabeth is an amazing player and we work really well together,” Gabel said. “We don’t focus on what’s happening with our points. We go out and play every game and if we get a point, we get a point.”
The biggest focus is another national championship. Gabel said the two championships already won by Clarkson in 2017 and ’18 were two of the best days of her life.
“Holding that trophy above my head was an amazing feeling,” Gabel said. “Knowing what the team needs to do to succeed has driven me to be the best I can possibly be.”
As a freshman, Gabel was Clarkson’s Rookie of the Year, as her team defeated Quinnipiac to advance to the Frozen Four before falling to Boston College in the national semifinals. The following year, Gabel, as a sophomore, helped guide Clarkson to its second national championship in school history.
As a junior, Gabel scored the lone goal in Clarkson’s win against Ohio State in the Frozen Four semifinals, setting up back-to-back championships with a win against Colgate.
“Coming in as a freshman, I didn’t know what our team was going to achieve,” Gabel said. “Being in the Frozen Four my freshman year and losing in the semifinals has driven me and given my team and class extra motivation to be that team at the end. Winning back-to-back titles, we have a big target on our back, but that has given us more motivation and drive.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
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.