The Big Ten announced the hockey all-conference teams and individual award winners on Monday, and six Wisconsin men's hockey players were honored.
Forwards Mark Zengerle and Michel Mersch were named first-team all-league, as was defenseman Jake McCabe. Zengerle led the league in assists with 16 in 20 conference games, and finished second in the conference in points with 23 during league play. Mersch was tied for the league lead in goals during conference play with 12, along with fellow first team member Ryan Dzingel from Ohio State. McCabe wasn't a huge point-producer in league games with 11 in 19 games, but his value to the Badgers was obvious. The junior blueliner regularly played 25-to-30 minutes per game throughout the season, and was a big reason why Wisconsin finished second in the conference.
Also honored were forward Nic Kerdiles, defenseman Frankie Simonelli and goaltender Joel Rumpel, who all picked up second team honors. Kerdiles finished the season with the highest point-per-game total in the entire league at 1.57. The sophomore winger was third in goals and points in league play, despite playing six fewer games than the leaders due to injury. Rumpel finished the season second in goals-against average and save percentage among goaltenders who played at least 60 percent of their team's games, trailing only Big Ten Player of the Year Adam Wilcox from Minnesota. Simonelli finished the season tied for the league lead along with Minnesota's Mikey Reilly in points among defenseman with 15 in 20 league games.
Players were selected for the All-Conference teams by league coaches and a media panel. (For the record, I did not have a vote). Minnesota cleaned up on individual awards, as Wilcox was named Big Ten Player and Goaltender of the Year. Gophers defenseman Reilly earned Defensive Player of the Year honors, awarded to a defenseman or forward, while Minnesota head coach Don Lucia was tabbed Coach of the Year.
The Big Ten also recognized six Sportsmanship Award honorees. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Simonelli was Wisconsin's recipient of that award.