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Bolden, Boulier and Stecklein Named Finalists for NWHL Defender of the Year

By NWHL.zone staff, 03/07/19, 11:00AM EST

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Blake Bolden of the Buffalo Beauts, and Amanda Boulier and Lee Stecklein of the Minnesota Whitecaps are the finalists for the 2018-19 Defender of the Year Award, as selected by a panel of 20 media members and broadcasters in cooperation with the Women’s Hockey Media Association.

In her first season with the Beauts, Bolden has made her presence known on the blueline. A strong one-on-one defender, Bolden has helped the Beauts pitch four shutouts on the season and post an NWHL-low 25 goals against. Individually, she finished the regular season with a plus-11 rating. In addition to her solid defensive play, Bolden has contributed on the scoresheet, tying for the league lead among defenders with 13 points (1-12-13). An NWHL All-Star, Bolden reclaimed her title of the hardest shot in the NWHL, registering an 80 mph slapshot at the All-Star Skills Competition.

Boulier once again made an impact on both sides of the puck, bringing sound defensive play as well as her patented slapshot to Minnesota. She also finished the regular season with 13 points, including leading all defenders with five goals. Appearing in all 16 games for the Whitecaps, she posted a plus-six rating. She was also named to the NWHL All-Star Game in Nashville.

A captain of one of the two All-Star teams, Stecklein is considered one of the league’s best defensive defenders. She appeared in all 16 games for Minnesota and posted an impressive plus-12 rating on the season, ranking second among defenders in the category. She also added nine points (1-8-9), including scoring the game-winning goal late in a 2-1 win over the Beauts on December 29. A gold medalist at the 2018 Olympics, Stecklein also played for the U.S. National Team in the Rivalry Series against Canada.

Winners will be announced as part of the 2019 NWHL Awards in the week following the Isobel Cup Final.