Michael Mersch named Big Ten first star; Hobey Baker voting opens; Badgers go curling

Richard T Gagnon - Getty Images

With a five-point weekend including a hat trick on Friday, Michael Mersch was named the Big Ten's First Star of the week.

Michael Mersch named Big Ten's First Star of the week

After a big junior season in which he led Wisconsin in goals (24) and points (36), winger Michael Mersch is back at it again as a senior, once again leading the Badgers in both categories (14 goals, 24 points).

Mersch was especially good last weekend vs. No. 8/9 Michigan, as the Park Ridge, Ill., native registered four points on Friday, including a hat trick, and chipped in an assist on Saturday in the finale for good measure.

Mersch’s hat trick on Friday was the first of his career, and it’s the second time he’s reached the four-point mark in a game while at Wisconsin.

For his play vs. the Wolverines, Mersch was honored as the Big Ten's First Star of the week.

This is Mersch’s second career Big Ten weekly award after being named the Second Star on Dec. 17, 2013. Mersch currently leads all Big Ten players with 14 goals and is tied for second with 24 points.

Hobey Baker voting opens

The Hobey Baker Memorial Award fan voting portion of the process is now open for business.

College hockey fans are allowed to vote once every 24 hours on hobeybaker.com for whom they think is deserving of the award.

Wisconsin's nominees this season include Mersch, junior defenseman Jake McCabe and junior goaltender Joel Rumpel.

This first phase of fan balloting will run now through March 9. Phase two of fan balloting will begin on March 20 from the list of Top Ten Hobey Baker finalists. The fans' vote accounts for a full one percent of the total ballot in each phase in selecting this year's award recipient.

Key Hobey Baker announcement dates for 2014 include:

  • Top Ten list of candidates: March 20
  • Hobey Hat Trick of three finalists: April 2
  • Hobey Baker Award announcement: April 11

The 2014 Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced from a field of three Hobey Hat Trick finalists on Friday, April 11 during the NCAA Frozen Four Championship in Philadelphia. The 34th annual award announcement honoring college hockey's top player will be televised live.

Badgers take a day off from practice to go curling

With Wisconsin on yet another bye this week, the coaching staff decided to take a day off from practice to take the team curling at the Madison Curling Club.

Former recruit Christian Dvorak tears ACL

One-time Wisconsin recruit Christian Dvorak is out for the season after tearing his ACL last week in a game for the London Knights.

A native of Frankfort, Ill., Dvorak committed to Wisconsin in August 2012 after visiting Michigan State, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, New Hampshire, Notre Dame and Ohio State. Dvorak eventually narrowed his list to four schools before choosing the Badgers over Nebraska-Omaha, New Hampshire and Notre Dame.

Dvorak backed out on his commitment in August 2013, nearly one year from the time he gave his word to the Wisconsin coaching staff.

At the time, Dvorak's father, Ed, told the Wisconsin State Journal the move for Christian to sign in the OHL and give up his college eligibility had to do with pursing his NHL dream.

"As parents we all try to do what's best for our kids. It's a dream of my son's to play in the NHL.''

It's too bad Wisconsin doesn't put any players in the NHL.

In all seriousness, best of luck to Dvorak in his recovery. We'd obviously never wish injury to anyone.

For more hockey coverage, follow Andy on Twitter --
You can also reach Andy via e-mail (AndyJohnsonB5Q@gmail.com)

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