Ballard gets more good news

A day after being named a Hobey Baker finalist, Gophers defenseman Keith Ballard was named first-team All-WCHA. However, Ballard wasn't selected as the conference's defensive player of the year.

Gophers defenseman Keith Ballard was announced as a Hobey Baker Award finalist on Wednesday. A day later, it was only natural that he would be named first-team All-WCHA.

Surprisingly, however, Ballard was not named the conference's defensive player of the year. That went to second-team defenseman Rayn Caldwell of Denver. Caldwell even said in his speech that he thought Ballard "was robbed."

Forward Thomas Vanek was named to the WCHA's second team.

P.J. Atherton, Ballard, Gino Guyer, Tyler Hirsch, Peter Kennedy, Brett MacKinnon, Garrett Smaagaard and Judd Stevens were all named to the all-academic team.

The Gophers play Minnesota-Duluth in the semifinal round of the WCHA Final Five tonight at the Xcel Energy Center.

EXTRAS, EXTRAS
… The Gophers wrestling team is tied with Iowa for fourth place in the NCAA wrestling championships in St. Louis. Minnesota and Iowa each have 23-1/2 points, trailing Nebraska (25), Illinois (28) and favorite Oklahoma State (30). Each of the nine Gophers entered individually is still alive, but only three are in the winners bracket.

… Women's basketball recruit Leslie Knight of Hopkins had 29 points and 12 rebounds, as she led her team to a 61-44 win over Osseo in the semifinal round of the state tournament.

… A total of 11,575 tickets have been sold for the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship Mideast Region First Round games hosted by the University of Minnesota at Williams Arena. The Gophers play UCLA at 1:30 p.m. Sunday., preceded by the game between Kansas State and Valparaiso at 11 a.m. The attendance figure is closing in on the NCAA Tournament record for a first- or second-round contest in the Mideast Region. Tennessee owns the Mideast Region record with a crowd of 12,577 when Liberty played the Lady Volunteers in the first round in a game played at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn., on March 14, 1998. The largest crowd to ever attend a first- or second-round game was 16,214 (Mississippi State vs. New Mexico) in The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M. on March 24, 2003.



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