By James Duffy, deputy sports editor

Following an incredible senior campaign in which she potted 50 goals in 37 games and carried Northeastern University (NU) to its first ever NCAA tournament appearance, Kendall Coyne was honored with the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given annually to the top player in women’s college hockey.

“I would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart,” Coyne said in her acceptance speech. “It was a fun ride, and I’m going to miss it.”

Coyne was one of three finalists for the prestigious award, alongside Boston College senior forward Alex Carpenter and University of Wisconsin junior goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens.

At the ceremony on March 19, however, it was Coyne’s name written in the envelope.

Coyne will go down as the best player to take the ice for the Huskies, and her senior season cemented her place in NU history.

The Huskies captain enlivened college hockey this season, leading the nation in goals and points per game, tallying 84 points while only suiting up 37 times. She rewrote the books at NU and in Hockey East, breaking the school records for most goals and points in a career and setting new conference marks for goals and points in a career and a season.

The cherry on top was the NCAA tournament, as Coyne helped guide the team to its first appearance on the national stage in program history.

The award itself was named after the late Patty Kazmaier, who died at the age of 28 in 1990. Kazmaier was a defenseman at Princeton University, where she led the Tigers to three straight Ivy League titles.

According to the USA Hockey Foundation, which gives out the memorial award, the trophy is awarded annually to a player who showcased extraordinary skill, sportsmanship, competitiveness and personal character.

“It’s a tremendous honor to win an award named after such a special person,” Coyne said to USA Hockey following the ceremony. “It’s an individual award but it wouldn’t be possible without the huge support staff I had this year at Northeastern.”

Coyne became the second NU player to ever win the award, joining Brooke Whitney who was honored in 2002.

“[Coyne] has created a culture that’ll be around for a while of having a winning program,” said head coach Dave Flint after the NCAA tournament, who recruited Coyne and coached her throughout her career in red and black.

Flint has had high praise for Coyne all season, lauding her work ethic and leadership as well as her skill.

“She brings it every day and it rubs off on the rest of the team,” he said after her 100th career goal.

He’s been quick to point out all season long that the team looks to Coyne, and she sets the benchmark for what is expected.

“Kendall’s been a leader since the day she stepped on the ice; she always leads by example,” Flint said to USA Hockey. “She’s made a mark on Northeastern women’s hockey that will last a lifetime.”

Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics