In a vote of assistant coaches at all 35 NCAA Division I ice hockey programs, University of Wisconsin freshman forward Annie Pankowski has been named the 2014-2015 National Rookie of the Year in women's ice hockey. Pankowski, a native of Laguna Hills, California, is just the second recipient of this award which was established last year by the Women's Hockey Commissioners Association.
Pankowski had a productive year for a Wisconsin team that brings a 29-6-4 record into Friday's National Collegiate Championship semifinal game against the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The Badgers, who won their fifth WCHA tournament title two weeks ago, were seeded #4 in this year's NCAA event and advanced with a 5-1 quarterfinal round win over Boston University last week.
Pankowski, who had two goals in that victory over the Terriers, leads all Badgers with 20 goals and 42 points overall. In addition to her offensive prowess, Pankowski, the WCHA Rookie of the Year, sports a +31 plus/minus rating. Pankowski comes from a talented family as her sister Ali is a senior defenseman for Princeton University.
The ballot for this award is made up of the conference Rookie of the Year selections. Each program playing NCAA Division I women's ice hockey receives a ballot, with assistant coaches at each school submitting one ballot per school. Each school was asked to vote for three players in order (first, second, third). The runner-up for this year's award was Clarkson University's freshman goaltender Shea Tilley.
The Women's National Rookie of the Year was established in 2014 by the Women's Hockey Commissioners Association. A similar award, the Tim Taylor National Rookie of the Year Award, is presented by the men's commissioners.