Wisconsin men's hockey coach Mike Eaves and junior goaltender Bernd Bruckler spent the weekend in Boston to take part in a Youth Education through Sports clinic as part of the NCAA's Frozen Four festivities.
It was a bittersweet time for the duo, which, along with the rest of the Badgers, came so close to playing in the national semifinals.
Wisconsin finished 22-13-8 this season after suffering a 2-1 overtime loss to Maine in the NCAA East Regional final.
Still, it was a sensational year for the Badgers and Bruckler was a huge part of that success, setting school records with a 2.09 goals-against average and .924 save percentage. He was 19-10-8 and was between the pipes for every game of the team's school record 15-game unbeaten streak (10-0-5). He was named a first-team All-American in the West Region by the American Hockey Coaches Association Feb. 7.
"I was thrilled, definitely," Bruckler said from Boston. "I really haven't paid any attention to the individual awards too much. It's always nice to get an award and it's definitely a reflection on how well my teammates did and how hard they worked throughout the season. But, those kind of awards are always a little empty if there's not the fact of a championship there—at least participation in a championship. That's kind of what was missing a little bit."
Bruckler became Wisconsin's 34th All-American but joined Roy Schultz (1980) and Julian Baretta ('77) as the only the third Badger goaltender to receive that acclaim.
"It's a huge honor," Bruckler said. "It was one of my goals to be the best and the best I can be. And I had a lot of fun this year with our team and just how long of a way we've come from the start of the season. I'm definitely excited for next year already."
—Terri Maiola contributed to this report from Boston