Friday morning, the Women’s Hockey Commissioners Association announced eight finalists for the inaugural Women’s Hockey Goaltender of the Year Award, presented annually to the best Division I women’s college hockey netminder.
This season, the finalists for the award hail from across the globe, with three Americans, two Canadians, and one German, Swiss, and Swedish national. The nominees also are divided by class rank, with two freshmen, three juniors, and three seniors represented.
Goaltender of the Year Finalists
There are a handful of obvious picks on this list: Aerin Frankel, Northeastern’s starting goalie who currently leads the nation in shutouts (8) and is also a finalist for this year’s Patty Kazmaier Award, is one of the shoe-ins, as is Wisconsin transfer Kennedy Blair and Ohio State’s Andrea Brändli. All three have put up historic seasons thus far with their respective programs, and have each been a key component of their teams’ success so far this season.
The two freshman nominees are also stellar candidates, with both Josie Bothun and Kayle Osborne coming off incredible seasons where they have each really kept their teams in contention.
Bothun, who replaced Jenna Brenneman as Penn State’s starter at the beginning of the season, has led her team to a 15-1-2 record through 18 career starts. Already, Bothun has shattered many of Penn State’s goaltending records, and garnered herself two CHA goaltender of the month honors and three weekly CHA honors.
While Osborne’s stats aren’t necessarily as flashy (her 1.62 GAA ranks 12th nationally and her SV% of .930 ranks 17th), she’s been crucial to keeping Colgate in the ECAC and national conversations as the postseason approaches.
Of course, it’s hard to discount any of these goaltenders, as they have all had phenomenal seasons worthy of their nomination for the award. That being said, I’d be in total shock if the award didn’t come down to Frankel or Bothun. I’d be a little more surprised if a candidate like Ohio State’s Andrea Brändli or Minnesota Duluth’s Emma Söderberg took the title home, but that doesn’t mean they should be counted out quite yet.
The award winner will be announced in March at the NCAA Frozen Four.