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Ann-Renée Desbiens named WCHA goaltending champ, to All-WCHA Rookie team

Six Badgers earned league honors at the conference banquet before the playoff finale.

Starting in place of the injured Alex Rigsby through much of the winter gave freshman goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens enough starts to qualify -- her excellent work between the pipes earned her the Wisconsin's second goaltending title in three years.

Desbiens averaged 0.97 goals per game and had a .961 save percentage during league games to win the crown.

Senior goalie Alex Rigsby was named to the conference first team for the first time in her career. She was the second-team goalie each of the last two seasons. From UW's press release: "Rigsby has 99 career wins, the third most in NCAA history and the most in program history. The school's all-time saves leader with 3,057 stops, she ranks third in the nation in goals against average (1.21) and second in save percentage (.949)."

Freshman Sarah Nurse joins Desbiens on the All-Rookie team. Her 11 goals and 21 points are most for any rookie on the team. The flashes of brilliance she's shown this season should have fans salivating for future seasons to see how she continues to grow.

Redshirt junior and Patty Kazmaier top ten finalist Brittany Ammerman and sophomore Courtney Burke were named second-team all-WCHA.

Ammerman is one point from becoming the 19th Badger with 100 career points. With 22 goals and 42 points, Ammerman leads the Badgers and scoring. She's tied for second in the country with eight power play goals.

Burke might be the surprise inclusion, but it's great to see her recognized by the rest of the conference. Her importance to the team is less in flashy goals and more on subtle dishes and pinpoint passes. She's tied for the team lead with 21 assists. She was named to the WCHA All-Rookie team last season.

Junior Blayre Turnbull has the second-most points on the Badgers with 38. She's tied with Burke at 21 assists. And her personal growth on the ice this season has been tremendous. More of a grinder than a flashy player, Turnbull's impact this season has been huge. At times this season it's been clear from the stands that she's unhappy with the tide of a game and has made a decision to personally change it. That sort of on-ice leadership can't be taught.

In addition to the six on-ice awards, nine Badgers earned All-WCHA Academic Team honors. Brittany Ammerman, Natalie Berg, Kim Drake, Ilana Friedman, Kelly Jaminski, Katy Josephs, Stefanie McKeough, Madison Packer and Alex Rigsby were honored Thursday night.

To qualify, student-athletes must have completed one year of eligibility at their present institution prior to the current academic year and have a grade-point average of at least 3.0 for the previous two semesters or three quarters.