BEMIDJI, Minn. - The Wisconsin women’s hockey goaltending duo of senior Alex Rigsby and freshman Ann-Renée Desbiens have helped the No. 2 Badgers sport one of the best defenses in the nation.
The duo was honored Thursday night by the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, as Rigsby was named to the All-WCHA First Team, while Desbiens was crowned the league's goaltending champion and earned a spot on the All-WCHA Rookie Team.
In all, six Badgers were honored by the WCHA at its annual banquet, Thursday, at the Sanford Center.
Rigsby earned first team honors for the first time in her career after being named a second-team all-WCHA goalie the past two seasons. A native of Delafield, Wis., 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).
Desbiens became the second Badgers goaltender in the past three years to be crowned the league's goaltending champion, as Rigsby paced the league in 2011-12. Desbiens had the league's best goals against average in league play, letting in an average of 0.97 goals per game. She also led the conference in save percentage with a .961 clip during league contests. She was named WCHA Rookie of the Week three times during the year.
Brittany Ammerman earned a spot on the All-WCHA Second Team as the junior leads the team in goals (22) and points (42). A top-10 finalist for the 2014 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, Ammerman has 99 career points, and only needs one more point to become the 19th player in school history to reach the 100-point plateau. Ammerman's eight power-play goals are tied for second in the nation, while her six game-winners are tied for the fourth most in the country.
Sophomore Courtney Burke also was named to the All-WCHA Second Team, as it marks the second-straight year the blue-liner has earned league honors, as the Albany, N.Y., native was named to the rookie team last year. Burke is tied for the team lead in assists with 21, and her 26 points are tied for the ninth-most by a defenseman this year.
Blayre Turnbull earned All-WCHA Third Team accolades, as the junior is tied for the team lead in assists with 21 and is second on the team in points with 38. A native of Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Turnbull is tied for the nation's lead in short-handed goals with five, which is also a Wisconsin school record.
Freshman Sarah Nurse earned a spot on the All-WCHA Rookie Team with Desbiens, as the Hamilton, Ontario, native leads all Wisconsin rookies in goals with 11 and points with 21.
The league also announced that 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 all earned spots on the academic squad. To qualify for the All-WCHA Academic Team, 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.
The WCHA Final Face-Off begins tomorrow afternoon with Wisconsin taking on North Dakota at 4 p.m. at the Sanford Center.
2014 WCHA Individual Awards
Player of the Year: Hannah Brandt (UM)
Outstanding Student Athlete of the Year: Kelly Terry (UM)
Defensive Player of the Year: Rachel Ramsey (UM)
Rookie of the Year: Dani Cameranesi (UM)
Scoring Champion: Hanna Brandt (UM)
Goaltending Champion: Ann-Renée Desbiens (UW)
Coach of the Year: Brad Frost (UM)