Katie Burt of the Boston Pride, Meeri Räisänen of the Connecticut Whale and Shannon Szabados of the Buffalo Beauts are the finalists for the 2018-19 Goaltender of the Year Award, as selected by a panel of 20 media members and broadcasters in cooperation with the Women’s Hockey Media Association.
All three finalists undoubtedly made their mark in the first NWHL seasons, and were invaluable parts of their teams this season.
Burt, the NCAA all-time leader in career victories at Boston College, has continued her winning ways in the NWHL, posting an 11-5 record across town with the Pride. As the only goalie to start all 16 regular season games, Burt had a 2.26 GAA and .920 save percentage. Burt was named to the NWHL All-Star Game in Nashville and practiced with the NHL’s Nashville Predators that weekend. Additionally, she earned a call-up to the U.S. National Team for the Rivalry Series, in which she started the second game of the three-game series against Canada.
PHOTO BY MICHELLE JAY
PHOTO BY MATTHEW RANEY
Räisänen was stellar in her debut NWHL season, which was unfortunately cut short by an injury. In her 12 games, she was always a difference-maker for the Connecticut Whale. She was named VEDA NWHL Player of the Week on November 19 after posting her first career win, a 2-1 victory over the Metropolitan Riveters in which she turned aside 27 of 28 shots. On December 2, she pitched the first regular season shutout in Whale history, making 31 saves in a 4-0 win over the Riveters. She has returned to Finland to prepare for the World Championships, which her home country is hosting in April.
Expectations were high for Shannon Szabados coming into the 2018-19 season, and she has not disappointed. A three-time Olympian with Team Canada, Szabados helped backstop the Beauts to a second-place finish in the regular season. Szabados, who captained one of the two NWHL All-Star teams, posted a 6-3-1 record in the regular season, in addition to a .934 save percentage and a league-leading 1.49 GAA. She also tied for the league lead with two shutouts and teamed with goaltending partner Nicole Hensley to help the Beauts to an NWHL-low 25 goals against for the season. Szabados has also continued to be a standout for Team Canada, playing at Four Nations Cup and the Rivalry Series.
Winners will be announced as part of the 2019 NWHL Awards in the week following the Isobel Cup Final.
PHOTO BY MICHELLE JAY