Sophie Jaques is one step closer to winning the women’s hockey equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.
The Ohio State defenseman was named Thursday as one of three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award, which honors the top player in women’s college hockey.
Jaques is tied for the third-most points of any player in women’s college hockey this year with 59 points, behind only fellow Patty Kazmaier finalist Taylor Heise (who has 66 points) and Minnesota Duluth’s Elizabeth Giguere (60). Minnesota Duluth’s Gabbie Hughes, the other Patty Kazmaier finalist, also has 59 points this year.
But while Heise and Hughes are forwards, Jaques’ point production is made all the more impressive by the fact that she’s a defenseman. Her 59 points are the second-most by a true defenseman in women’s college hockey since the turn of the century, while she was also named as the WCHA’s defensive player of the year.
Jaques has come up clutch, too, scoring five game-winning goals. She scored the final two goals in the Buckeyes’ 3-2 overtime comeback win over Minnesota in the WCHA Final Faceoff championship game, and had a goal in Ohio State’s 4-3 NCAA Tournament quarterfinal win over Quinnipiac last week.
Ohio State women’s hockey coach Nadine Muzerall strongly believes Jaques deserves to win the Patty Kazmaier Award because of how she contributes on both ends of the ice.
“I think she checks every box,” Muzerall said. “She's playing like two different positions. Imagine Tom Brady being quarterback and then all of a sudden having to go out and play defense, right? And be as elite as the defensive line, too.”
If Jaques wins the Kazmaier, she’ll become just the second defenseman to win the award, joining former Harvard defenseman Angela Ruggiero, who won the award in 2004.
She said last week, before the list of finalists was cut from 10 to three, that she was proud just to be in the running for the award.
“It would be so special, I would be honored to win the award,” Jaques said. “I mean, even just to be a finalist among all the great players that have done it, I'm just very honored to be named to that. But definitely it would be really exciting to win the award.”
The Patty Kazmaier Award winner will be announced at 11:30 a.m. March 26 on NHL Network.
Jaques was also named Thursday as a first-team All-American by the American Hockey Coaches Association, becoming just the third Buckeye to earn that distinction.
With Jaques leading the way, Ohio State is set to play in the Frozen Four this weekend. It will take the ice at 7 p.m. Friday (ESPN+) for a semifinal game against Yale, with the winner of that game going on to play either Northeastern or Minnesota Duluth in the national championship game at 4 p.m. Sunday (ESPNU).