Bestland Athlete of the Week (2-27-14)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Senior Christine Bestland of the eighth-ranked Mercyhurst University women's hockey team was announced as a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award announced today by The USA Hockey Foundation. The honor is bestowed annually upon the top player in NCAA Division I women's ice hockey and this year will be unveiled at a brunch ceremony at Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, Conn., on Sat., March 22, as part of the NCAA Women's Frozen Four weekend hosted by Quinnipiac University.

The top-10 finalists include: sophomore defenseman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, Ont./Clarkson University); senior forward Brittany Ammerman (River Vale, N.J./University of Wisconsin); senior forward Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ont./Quinnipiac University); senior forward Christine Bestland (Brunkild, Man./Mercyhurst University); junior forward Rachael Bona (Coon Rapids, Minn./University of Minnesota); sophomore forward Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn./University of Minnesota); sophomore forward Sarah Lefort (Ormstown, Que./Boston University); sophomore goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer (Bruderheim, Alta./Harvard University); senior forward Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, Ont./Clarkson University) and junior forward Jillian Saulnier (Halifax, N.S./Cornell University).

Senior Christine Bestland, native of Brunkild, Manitoba, has been a leader on and off the ice as a captain of the Mercyhurst Lakers for the past two seasons. This year, Bestland leads the team in goals (20), assists (30) and points (50) and leads the conference in assists and points. She is ranked fifth in the nation in points per game (1.52), and leads the nation in a career high five shorthanded goals in a season (5).

In December, Bestland became the fifth player in program history to reach a career high 200 points. Heading into the playoffs series, Bestland has combined for 222 career points on 90 goals and 132 assists in 139 games played. Of those 90 goals, five of them are comprised of hat tricks beginning with her first collegiate hat trick of November 2, 2012. Bestland is third all-time in career goals, points and assists. She is also tied for third all-time in career shorthanded goals (8).

The selection process commenced earlier this month when NCAA Division I women's ice hockey coaches were asked to nominate players for the award. Players who were nominated by two or more coaches were then placed on an official ballot, which was sent back to the coaches to vote for the top-10 finalists. The independent accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, tabulated the ballots.

The three finalists, including the recipient of the 2014 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, will be chosen by a 13-person selection committee made up of NCAA Division I women's ice hockey coaches, representatives of print and broadcast media, an at-large member and a representative of USA Hockey, the national governing body for the sport of ice hockey in the United States. The top-3 finalists will be announced on Thurs., March 6.

Tickets to the 2014 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Ceremony and Brunch can be purchased at Individual seats to the event are $65, while tables of 10 are available for $600. A select number of sponsorships and program advertisements are also available.

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