Across all of SBNation this week, sites will be looking at the best teams to never win a championship.
So far this week, we’ve looked at the best team that didn’t win the Isobel Cup and the best team that didn’t win the NCAA Division I national championship.
Today, we’re looking at the best players to never win the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. The first two players here were absolute locks for this short list; I’m genuinely curious if anyone would name a bigger snub than those two. Selecting player three was much trickier, but in the end, I went with someone whose record senior season may very well go unmatched for the rest of time.
Meghan Agosta, Mercyhurst
If I tried to write out Agosta’s entire NCAA resume, you would be reading this until we have sports again. She is NCAA Division I’s all-time leader in points, with 303 in her career. She’s the all-time leader in goals, with 157, and she’s one of just six players to score more than a goal per game in her career.
Other records she owns: career power-play goals (55), career shorthanded goals (20), and career game-winning goals (39). She is the most prolific scorer we’ve seen at this level and her career defined probably the most successful era in Mercyhurst program history. Agosta led the Lakers to the NCAA Tournament in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 (she redshirted in 2009-10 to play in the Olympics) and helped them to their first title game appearance in 2009.
She was a four-time First Team All-American, four-time College Hockey America Player of the Year, and won conference tournament MVP three times. She led the nation in scoring as a freshman and finished top-three in points in her next three seasons. During the year she redshirted, she was named Most Valuable Player and Best Forward at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Agosta is one of just three players to be named a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top-10 Finalist all four years of her career, and she is the only player to be named a Top-3 Finalist all four years. She was the absolute epitome of dominance during her college career and I am still unsure how a player who performed so well from start to finish could graduate without winning this award.
Marie-Philip Poulin, Boston University
I honestly don’t know what’s more of a head-scratcher: Agosta making the top-three cut all four seasons and not winning, or Poulin finishing as a Top-10 Finalist just once throughout her career. She came to BU already a legend, fresh off winning a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics after scoring both goals in a 2-0 win in the final.
Poulin is the best player in the world because she does everything so well; you could sum up her career with the Terriers in the same way. She was a remarkably consistent scorer, never averaging less than 1.56 points per game (including as a sophomore, when she ruptured her spleen and missed a significant portion of the year). She was a difference-maker in all three zones, in all situations, shouldering all kinds of responsibilities and still performing at an elite level.
She was an assistant captain for the Terriers as a sophomore, a co-captain as a junior, and captain as a senior. Her best individual season was as a senior in 2014-15, when she was named a Patty Kazmaier Top-3 Finalist and a First Team All-American. She set a Hockey East Tournament record that year with 12 points in tournament play and took home MVP honors.
Poulin helped BU’s program reach an unprecedented amount of success during her tenure there. During her career, the Terriers made the NCAA Tournament all four years, won three Hockey East Tournament championships, and made the national title game twice. None of that is a coincidence. She’s the type of player that so rarely comes along, but that teams desperately need to win championships. She was among the best of the best in that regard for her entire collegiate career.
Natalie Darwitz, Minnesota
Darwitz’s 114 points scored as a senior in 2004-05 is an NCAA Division I record that still stands today. She lost the Patty Kaz that year to Krissy Wendell, which, if you’re going to lose an award of this nature, that’s definitely the company you want to be losing to. But considering how much success Darwitz had, from such a young age, it’s strange thinking she never won the Patty Kaz.
Her 72 assists that season are also an all-time record. She scored at a rate of 2.85 points per game that year, which is the second-best single-season mark ever. Darwitz also ranks second all-time in points per game after totaling 246 in 99 career games. That era of NCAA women’s hockey was full of players who transcended the sport, but Darwitz’s dominance, particularly in that final season, really stands out.
Who remembers this one??— Minnesota Women's Hockey (@GopherWHockey) March 27, 2020
15 years ago today, #GWH won the 2005 NCAA national title when @NatalieDarwitz scored the game-winner with just 1:08 remaining to clinch a 4-3 win over Harvard.
: https://t.co/JolIfLKybO pic.twitter.com/uRJvfJgIAD
Darwitz was named a Top-10 Patty Kazmaier Finalist three times, in 2003, 2004, and 2005. She was also a three-time All-American, and won Most Outstanding Player honors at the 2005 Frozen Four, where she helped the Gophers to the national championship. Technically, NCAA Tournament play isn’t considered for Patty Kaz voting, but just to give a sense of how brilliant she was: she scored 12 points in the tournament that year, a record that was only matched once, by Hilary Knight in 2009.