EDINA, Minn. Feb. 10, 2016 For their efforts in helping their teams go undefeated last weekend and capture all but one possible league point, the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for Feb. 1-7, 2016 are: Minnesota Duluth senior forward Michela Cava (Offensive Player of the Week), Minnesota senior goaltender Amanda Leveille (Defensive Player of the Week) and Wisconsin freshman forward Sam Cogan (Rookie of the Week).
Michela Cava, Sr., F
Minnesota Duluth (Thunder Bay, Ontario)
Cava matched Boston College's Alex Carpenter as the nation's top goal-scorer last week, potting four in Minnesota Duluth's road sweep at Minnesota State. The senior from Thunder Bay, Ontario also tied for the NCAA lead with a league-best +6 rating, while her five points (one assist) matched two other UMD teammates for top honors in the WCHA. Cava opened the weekend by almost single-handedly lifting the Bulldogs to a 3-2 victory Friday, capping her first collegiate hat trick by burying the overtime game-winner 3:54 into extra time. She then scored UMD's first goal Saturday a short-handed tally with 1:11 left in the first period to draw the Bulldogs even 1-1 in a game they eventually won, 5-2. Cava's four goals came on just eight shots, while she also went 20-for-33 in the face-off circle (.606). Currently in her second season with UMD after transferring from Connecticut, Cava is seventh in the WCHA with 16 goals and ninth with 31 points (both career highs). This is Cava's first career WCHA weekly award.
Also nominated: Amanda Kessel, Sr., F, Minnesota (playing in her first collegiate game in almost three years Friday night, notched two assists in No. 3 UMN's 3-0 win over No. 8 North Dakota); Annie Pankowski, So., F, Wisconsin (notched a game-winning goal and game-winning assist in No. 2 UW's sweep at Ohio State, recording a +3 rating); Kaitlyn Tougas, Sr., F, Bemidji State (led No. 7 BSU with two goals and four points in the Beavers' undefeated weekend at St. Cloud State).
Amanda Leveille, Sr., G
Minnesota (Kingston, Ontario)
One of a pair of NCAA goaltenders to post two shutouts last week, Leveille stopped all 57 shots she faced in helping No. 3 Minnesota to a 3-0 victory and scoreless overtime tie against No. 8 North Dakota. The senior from Kingston, Ontario made a season-best 29 saves in Friday's 3-0 win, before following up with 28 stops in Saturday's 0-0 overtime tie. She also made nine saves in the 11-round shootout (eventually won by UND, 2-1). For the season, Leveille ranks second in the WCHA and fourth nationally with a 1.29 goals-against average, .848 winning percentage and seven shutouts (tied), while she is third in the league (ninth NCAA) with a .936 save percentage. Her 88 career wins rank sixth in NCAA history, while she is tied for sixth with 29 shutouts in a Gophers uniform. This is Leveille's first WCHA weekly award of the 2015-16 season and seventh career accolade (including one Rookie of the Week honor).
Also nominated: Ivana Bilic, Sr., D, Bemidji State (led all WCHA defensemen with four points, tallying a goal and three assists along with three blocked shots in No. 7 BSU's undefeated weekend at St. Cloud State); Shelby Amsley-Benzie, Sr., G, North Dakota (recorded 54 saves and a .947 save percentage at No. 3 Minnesota, while making 25 stops in a 0-0 tie and 10 more as No. 8 UND earned the shootout win); Ann-Renιe Desbiens, Jr., G, Wisconsin (stopped 30-of-31 shots, going 2-0-0 and earning her NCAA-high and program-best 15th shutout of the year in No. 2 UW's sweep at Ohio State).
Sam Cogan, Fr., F
Wisconsin (Ottawa, Ontario)
Cogan registered the game-winning assist Friday before adding an insurance goal Saturday, leading all WCHA rookies with a +2 rating and helping No. 2 Wisconsin to a sweep at Ohio State. Both of her points came in the third period as the Badgers earned 2-1 and 2-0 road wins. The freshman from Ottawa, Ontario is tied for 16th in the country in rookie scoring (third in the WCHA), averaging 0.67 points per game. This is Cogan's third WCHA weekly award of her freshman collegiate campaign.
Also nominated: Emily Bergland, Fr., F, Bemidji State (scored the Beavers' second goal in a 3-3 tie Friday at St. Cloud State, while winning six face-offs and tallying five shots on goal in No. 7 BSU's undefeated weekend); Anna Kilponen, Fr., D, North Dakota (was a major factor in No. 8 UND holding No. 3 Minnesota's WCHA-best offense to 1.50 goals per game, blocking four shots and helping the Fighting Hawks kill off 2-of-3 penalties against the nation's top power-play unit).