April 21, 2010
MADISON, Wis. -- Fresh off a NCAA runner-up finish, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team held its annual awards banquet on Wednesday, handing out seven individual awards to the 2010 Frozen Four squad and naming its team captains for the 2010-11 season.
As a team, the Badgers ended the season 28-11-4, which landed them in second in the WCHA. After a third-place finish at the WCHA Final Five, Wisconsin went on to capture the NCAA West Regional, advancing the Cardinal and White to the Frozen Four in Detroit. The Badgers took care of business in the national semifinal game, ousting RIT, 8-1. However, the Badgers’ historic season came to an end after the squad fell in the national championship to the Boston College Eagles.
All three of the Badger tri-captains were recognized for their leadership at the awards banquet. After voting, the team decided that Blake Geoffrion (Brentwood, Tenn.) was most-deserving of the Spike Carlson Most Valuable Player Award. As Wisconsin’s first-ever Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner, Geoffrion led the nation in power-play goals and was fourth on the team in scoring. The USCHO.com and InsideCollegeHockey.com Player of the Year and First-Team All-WCHA, Geoffrion now looks to pursue a career in the NHL with the Nashville Predators in his home state of Tennessee.
One of the two remaining tri-captains took home two awards. Junior blue liner Ryan McDonagh (Arden Hills, Minn.) was voted by the team as the recipient of the Fenton Kelsey Jr. Most Competitive Player laurel for the second-straight season. Ending the season with 18 points, McDonagh’s defense is what gets recognized by his teammates. The defenseman ended the year with the team’s second-best plus-minus at plus-23.
His second award was the W Club Community Service Award, given to the Badger who best balances his hockey success with community involvement. McDonagh becomes just the third rear guard to bring home the award.
Rounding out the tri-captains is senior Ben Street (Coquitlam, British Columbia), who took home the Ivan B. Williamson Academic/Athletic Excellence Award. After his fifth season as a Badger, the senior compiled 171 games, 48 goals and 93 points. Street served as a Badger captain for three of his five years in the Cardinal and White. He is also a four-time Academic All-WCHA and three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.
Another team-voted award fell in the lap of senior Michael Davies (St. Louis). The second-leading scorer for the Badgers last season, he took home the Otto Breitenbach Most Improved Player award. After On the season, Davies finished with 52 total points (20-32=52) in his most consistent as a Badger. He recently signed an Amateur Try-out Contract with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers to continue his hockey career.
The only award that is strictly statistically-based went to sophomore blue liner Jake Gardiner (Minnetonka, Minn.) for his plus-minus rank. The future Anaheim Mighty Duck compiled a plus-25 tally and took home the Dr. Joseph Coyne Most Consistent Player Award. The defenseman also tallied 13 points (6-7=13) on the season.
Finally, senior Aaron Bendickson (Thief River Falls, Minn.) took home the only fan-based award. The forward grabbed the Jim Santulli WHA-TV 7th Man Award, given annually to the best 7th man on the team as voted on by viewers of Wisconsin Public Television tape-delayed broadcasts. Fans cast their votes for the UW men’s hockey player who gives his all on the ice and best represents the Badger trademarks of team spirit and good sportsmanship. Bendickson tallied 22 points (12-10=22) on the year, which were more than his first three years as a Badger combined.
Also of note are Wisconsin’s captains for the 2010-11 campaign. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who served as one of the team’s tri-captains this past season, will hold the duty by himself next season. Joining McDonagh in the leadership corps will be forward Derek Stepan, who will serve as assistant captain. Stepan finished this past season as the Badgers’ leading scorer, and also captained Team USA to a gold medal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship. A second assistant captain is expected to be named at a later time.