March 26, 2012
MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin women's hockey team held its annual end of the year banquet and awards ceremony at Heritage Hall on Saturday, March 24.
Five players received individual awards for their efforts during the season. Junior Brianna Decker was named the Offensive Player of the Year, sophomore Stefanie McKeough was named the Defensive Player of the Year for a second year in a row, and Blayre Turnbull took home the Rookie of the Year award.
The team's Jeff Sauer Award, which is annually awarded to the most dedicated player, was given to senior Hilary Knight. Finally, the Badger Award, given to the team's most inspiring player, was awarded to junior Lauren Unser.
The team also honored its senior class, including Brooke Ammerman, Brittany Haverstock, Nikki Kaasa and Carolyne Prévost, in addition to Knight.
Along with the awards ceremony, the Badgers and their guests enjoyed dinner, a photo slideshow and a highlight video. In addition to season highlights, the video featured each of the seniors reflecting on their careers at Wisconsin, expressing thanks and sharing advice for the underclassmen. Head coach Mark Johnson shared remarks on the season and congratulated the team for its many accomplishments during the 2011-12 campaign.
Decker was a shoe-in for the team's offensive player of the year after being named the WCHA's Player of the Year and winning the 2012 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. She recorded a career-best 82 points this season and broke Meghan Duggan's record for longest point streak at 32 games.
On the blue line, McKeough was named the team's defensive player of the year. Named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, she led UW defensemen in scoring with 23 points in just 28 games. Her 18 assists ranked fifth on the team. She earned a plus/minus rating of +24 this season and was named All-WCHA second team.
In Turnbulls's first season as a Badger, she led the freshman class with seven goals. She tallied six points in her first weekend as a Badger and was named WCHA Rookie of the Week on Oct. 5. She scored two game-winning goals, against BU on Oct. 29 and against RPI on Nov. 18, while assisting on the game winner against Minnesota State on Feb. 25. She finished the season with seven goals and seven assists, tallying 60 shots on net and recording a +11 plus/minus rating.
Unser took home the award for most inspirational player. Dubbed the most important player on the team, she dressed for all 40 games this season scoring two goals and recording four assists, but more importantly, shined off the ice with her commitment to the team and her unselfish approach to the game. She recorded a three-game point streak in November and assisted on the game-winning goal against St. Cloud State on Feb. 20.
Knight received the award for being the most dedicated player on the team. Given to the player who consistently demonstrates dedication to the game, Knight could almost always be found on the ice after everyone had left. She ends her career at Wisconsin ranked in the program's top-10 in nearly every statistic category. Her leadership and dedication off the ice, proved to be just as successful as she volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, the annual Hunger Fight Drive, Bucky's Skill Clinic and spoke at the Skate with the Badgers.