March 17, 2014
MADISON, Wis. -– Led by senior forwards Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) and Michael Mersch (Park Ridge, Ill.), as well as junior defenseman Jake McCabe (Eau Claire, Wis.), Wisconsin put six skaters on the 2014 All-Big Ten Hockey Team. The team was selected by a vote of Big Ten coaches and media.
Joining the three first-teamers are sophomore forward Nic Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif.), senior defenseman Frankie Simonelli (Bensenville, Ill.) and junior goaltender Joel Rumpel (Swift Current, Saskatchewan), who each made the second team.
For Zengerle and McCabe, both have been previous all-conference picks as All-WCHA third team picks in 2012 and 2013, respectively, while the remaining four Badgers are first time all-conference selections.
Zengerle leads the Badgers with 39 points, which is good for second in the Big Ten, while he paces all league skaters with 30 assists. In Big Ten contests, the center also led the Badgers and was one point shy of the league lead with 23 points. He did lead the league with 16 conference assists. UW’s all-time leading point scorer of the Mike Eaves’ coaching era (since 2002), Zengerle ranks seventh on UW’s all-time assists list with 121. He also sits at No. 26 all-time with 157 career points. One of five Badgers to post three seasons with at least 30 assists, Zengerle is currently riding a seven-game point scoring in which he has five goals and 14 points. Zengerle was named Big Ten First Star of the Week once during the season.
Mersch earns the first league honor of his career after sharing the Big Ten lead with 20 goals in all games and 12 in league play. Tied for third among Big Ten skaters in all games with 33 points, Mersch also shared fifth with 19 points in league play. The first Badger to post consecutive 20-goal seasons since Robbie Earl in 2004-5 and 2005-06, Mersch boasts 65 career goals, which is fifth among active college skaters and ranks 25th all-time at UW. His 0.59 goals-per-game average this season shares 10th in the nation, while his nine power-play goals led the Big Ten and share 10th in the country. Mersch was a two-time Big Ten First Star of the Week and was also once named the Big Ten Second Star of the Week. He has also skated in all 154 games since arriving at Wisconsin as a freshman.
McCabe, a UW assistant captain, is among the best two-way defensemen in the country. Second among Big Ten defensemen in scoring in all games with seven goals and 23 points in 33 games, McCabe also tied for third among Big Ten rear guards in league play with 11 points on two goals and nine assists. Matched up against opposing teams’ best forwards, the 2012 Buffalo Sabres second-round draft pick also boasts a mean streak. The 2013 Third-Team All-WCHA defender ranks second on Wisconsin with 59 blocked shots.
Wisconsin’s representatives on the second team include Kerdiles, who leads all Big Ten skaters with a 1.32 points-per-game scoring average in all games and a 1.57 points-per-game mark in Big Ten action, 0.37 more per game than any other skater. Kerdiles missed nine games during the season, including six Big Ten contests, due to an injury at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. Team USA’s leading scorer at world juniors, Kerdiles currently shares second on the Badgers and third among Big Ten players with 33 points in 25 games. He also finished with 22 points in 16 league games, just two points off the Big Ten scoring lead with six fewer games played. In Big Ten action, Kerdiles finished third with 10 goals and 12 assists, shared the league lead with two short-handed points, a short-handed tally and three game-winning goals. Overall, Kerdiles’ 15 goals shared third among Big Ten skaters, while he leads the league with four short-handed points and shares second with four game-winning goals. He has 14 points in his last seven games, including a current four-game goal-scoring streak.
Simonelli, Wisconsin’s team captain, shared the Big Ten lead among defensemen in league games with 15 points on four goals and 11 assists. Posting a career-best six-game point scoring streak earlier this season, Simonelli finished the regular season with six goals and 18 points in 34 games overall. His overall total ranks fourth among Big Ten defensemen and helped Wisconsin rank fourth in the country in point production from its defense with a 2.53 points-per-game average. He also leads the Badgers with 62 blocked shots.
Rumpel, who leads the nation with 17 victories in goal since Dec. 1, finished the regular season with a 2.00 goals-against average, .931 save percentage and .780 winning percentage (19-5-1), which all ranks second among Big Ten goaltenders. His goals-against average and save percentage numbers rank sixth nationally, while his winning percentage is good for fourth in the nation. A nominee for the inaugural Mike Richter Award, which will go to college hockey’s most outstanding goaltender, Rumpel posted a nine-game winning streak earlier this season, which ranks as the third-longest in UW history for a goaltender. A two-time Big Ten First Star of the Week, Rumpel was also a Big Ten Second Star of the Week and was a Hockey Commissioners’ Association Honorable Mention Player of the Month during February.
To see the full list of Big Ten award winners, click here.
With its award winners in tow, the Badgers return to the ice on Friday in the semifinals of the 2014 Big Ten Tournament. The event, which runs Thursday through Saturday, takes place at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Second-seeded Wisconsin faces the winner of Thursday’s quarterfinal matchup between third-seeded Michigan and sixth-seeded Penn State at 2 p.m. CT.