SOUTH BEND, Ind. — There was no dispute in the Big Ten: Cole Caufield was the player of the year.
The University of Wisconsin sophomore right wing was a unanimous pick for the award by league coaches and media members, the Big Ten announced Tuesday before the playoff championship game between the fifth-ranked Badgers and No. 4 Minnesota.
UW's Tony Granato joined Caufield in the individual awards, winning his second Big Ten coach of the year honor after leading the Badgers to the regular-season title.
Caufield and Badgers sophomore center Dylan Holloway were picked for the All-Big Ten first team. Senior left wing Linus Weissbach was a second-team pick while senior center Ty Pelton-Byce and junior defenseman Ty Emberson earned honorable mention.
Goaltender Cameron Rowe was picked for the all-freshman team.
Caufield is the eighth UW player to win a conference player of the year award. The first seven came in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association: Mike Eaves (1978), Mark Johnson (1979), Curtis Joseph (1989), Gary Shuchuk (1990), Duane Derksen (1992), Steve Reinprecht (2000) and Jamie McBain (2009).
The Stevens Point native won his second consecutive Big Ten scoring championship with 43 points in 24 league games, 10 points better than second-place Weissbach. He scored two goals on the final day of the regular season to rally the Badgers to the Big Ten title and finish with 24 in conference play. That also was 10 better than his closest competitor, Notre Dame's Alex Steeves.
The list of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award as national player of the year is scheduled to be released Wednesday. Caufield's exploits throughout the season — but particularly at the end — have made him the leading candidate.
He also scored the tying and winning goals on Monday to lift the Badgers past Penn State in overtime in a Big Ten semifinal game. His 27 goals and 48 points both lead NCAA men's hockey.
The Badgers went from worst to first between 2020 and 2021, and the voting panel rewarded Granato for the turnaround. He also was the coach of the year in 2017, when he directed the Badgers to a second-place finish in his first season.
Here's the full list of Big Ten postseason awards (*-unanimous selection):
Sampo Ranta, F, Minnesota; Cole Caufield*, F, Wisconsin; Dylan Holloway, F, Wisconsin; Cam York, D, Michigan; Jackson LaCombe, D, Minnesota; Jack LaFontaine, G, Minnesota
Thomas Bordeleau, F, Michigan; Alex Steeves, F, Notre Dame; Linus Weissbach, F, Wisconsin; Owen Power, D, Michigan; Spencer Stastney, D, Notre Dame; Strauss Mann, G, Michigan
Matty Beniers, F, Michigan; Kent Johnson, F, Michigan; Ben Meyers, F, Minnesota; Scott Reedy, F, Minnesota; Sammy Walker, F, Minnesota; Alex Limoges, F, Penn State; Ty Pelton-Byce, F, Wisconsin; Nick Blankenburg, D, Michigan; Dennis Cesana, D, Michigan State; Brock Faber, D, Minnesota; Ryan Johnson, D, Minnesota; Ty Emberson, D, Wisconsin; Drew DeRidder, G, Michigan State
Matty Beniers, F, Michigan; Thomas Bordeleau*, F, Michigan; Kent Johnson, F, Michigan; Owen Power*, D, Michigan; Brock Faber, D, Minnesota; Cameron Rowe, G, Wisconsin
Player of the year
Cole Caufield*, F, Wisconsin
Defensive player of the year
Cam York, D, Michigan
Goaltender of the year
Jack LaFontaine, G, Minnesota
Freshman of the year
Thomas Bordeleau, F, Michigan
Coach of the year
Tony Granato, Wisconsin
Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honorees
Jack Becker, Michigan; Tommy Miller, Michigan State; Cullen Munson, Minnesota; Matt Hellickson, Notre Dame; Austin Pooley, Ohio State; Oskar Autio, Penn State; Brock Caufield, Wisconsin
Look back on State Journal coverage of Badgers men's hockey games in the 2020-21 season
Read stories from University of Wisconsin men's hockey games in the 2020-21 season.
Bemidji State was the aggressor from the beginning and kept UW from playing the brand of hockey it has used to generate scoring chances.
The Badgers paid for a lackluster effort in the second period as the Gophers beat UW for the first time in six championship-round games.
Cole Caufield scored his 27th goal of the season 6 minutes, 50 seconds into the extra session to send the fifth-ranked Badgers past the Nittany Lions 4-3 on Monday in the Big Ten semifinals.
Cole Caufield scores twice to give the Badgers a 2-1 victory at Michigan State and the Big Ten title on the final day of the regular season.
Robbie Beydoun, playing in his home state, makes 28 saves as the Badgers keep the heat on Minnesota in the chase for the Big Ten title.
If a 7-0 victory against Ohio State at LaBahn Arena was Cole Caufield's last time playing at home for the Badgers, it was the kind of effort UW fans will want to remember him by.
Holloway scored twice on the power play to lead the Badgers past the Buckeyes.
Ty Pelton-Byce scored twice for the Badgers, including the tying goal with 26.8 seconds left after UW let two third-period leads slip away.
Coach Tony Granato went down the lineup in handing out individual laurels for good chances created, hits dished out or composed plays in the defensive zone.
The Badgers erase the sour taste of their largest loss of the season with their first victory at Michigan in their past eight tries.
A four-goal second period by the Wolverines was the difference after the Badgers took the lead.
No. 11 UW is alone atop the conference standings after completing its first series sweep at Minnesota in 12 years with an emphatic 8-1 victory against the second-ranked Golden Gophers.
Cole Caufield broke a tie with seven minutes remaining and Dylan Holloway figured in two goals in the following 2:18 as Wisconsin beat Minnesota 4-1.
Cole Caufield scores two goals for the second straight game and Linus Weissbach records his first three-point game of the season.
Robbie Beydoun stopped 19 shots for his second shutout of the season.
After falling behind 3-0 in the first period, the Badgers couldn't pull all the way back with a late push.
The Badgers scored two power-play goals to win at Penn State for the first time in five tries.
A third-period penalty kill was "probably the biggest five minutes of our season so far," Badgers coach Tony Granato said.
UW freshman Cameron Rowe makes 11 saves for his first shutout.
The Badgers outshot the Gophers but paid the price for turnovers, a slow line change and a bad penalty.
Beydoun made 35 saves as the Badgers knocked off the Gophers in their first game since Dec. 4.
Cameron Rowe made 40 saves in his first collegiate start as the Badgers split a series at the Buckeyes.
The Badgers have lost all three games since four forwards became unavailable due to COVID-19 protocol.
Sophomore Jax Murray scored his first two collegiate goals for the Sun Devils as the Badgers fell to .500.
The Badgers were missing five forwards, one of whom sources said was held out because of a positive COVID-19 test and three others who were close contacts.
Caufield had his second hat trick for the Badgers and Tarek Baker scored a key short-handed goal.
Robbie Beydoun made a career-high 49 saves for the Badgers.
Missing their top two centers, the Badgers nearly emerged with a split against the sixth-ranked Wolverines.
The Wolverines scored three times in the final 5 minutes, 22 seconds of the second period to turn a deficit into a two-goal lead going into the intermission.
Dylan Holloway's third-period goal put the Badgers ahead for good after they lost two-goal and one-goal leads.
Linus Weissbach helped provide the offense and Robbie Beydoun was a stable presence in goal in the Badgers' 2-0 victory over No. 20 Notre Dame.