EDINA, Minn. – Jan. 24, 2017 – A red-hot scorer, a defenseman who contributed in all facets and the league's top-scoring freshman highlight the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for games of Jan. 20-22, 2017. The honorees are: Minnesota Duluth senior forward Lara Stalder (Offensive Player of the Week), Bemidji State junior defenseman Alexis Joyce (Defensive Player of the Week) and St. Cloud State freshman forward Kayla Friesen (Rookie of the Week).
Lara Stalder, Sr., F
Minnesota Duluth (Lucerne, Switzerland)
Stalder continued a blistering streak during an impressive season, winning her second-consecutive WCHA weekly award after a six-point weekend. The senior from Luzern, Switzerland led the WCHA and tied for second nationally in points, while she tied for the NCAA lead with four goals, 16 shots on goal and a +6 rating. In fact, Stalder figured in six of Minnesota Duluth's seven goals on the weekend, helping the No. 2 Bulldogs to a four-point road weekend at Bemidji State. She opened the series with a natural hat trick, scoring the game's first three goals, before adding a third-period assist en route to a 5-1 UMD victory Friday afternoon. In Saturday's series finale, Stalder set a program record for the fastest goal to start a game when she found the back of the net just eight seconds into the contest. She then added an assist on the Bulldogs' second goal of an eventual 2-2 tie. Following her efforts last weekend, Stalder has now produced 13 points (8g-5a) during a current five-game point streak, and is third nationally with 39 points this season (16g-23a). This is Stalder's fourth WCHA weekly award of the 2016-17 season and seventh career honor, including one Rookie of the Week accolade.
Honorable Mention: Emily Bergland, So., F, Bemidji State (tied for the team lead with three points and led the Beavers with two goals, including the tying marker Saturday as BSU earned two points from No. 2 Minnesota Duluth); Sara Bustad, Jr., F Minnesota State (scored in each game of the Mavericks' series at St. Cloud State, while posting a +3 rating); Ryleigh Houston, Fr., F, North Dakota (recorded an assist in each game of the Fighting Hawks' series at No. 1 Wisconsin); Sydney McKibbon, Sr., F, Wisconsin (scored both of the Badgers' goals Sunday, lifting No. 1 UW to a 2-1 win over visiting North Dakota).
Alexis Joyce, Jr., D
Bemidji State (Lakeville, Minn.)
Joyce was a factor on both ends of the ice all weekend, tying for the WCHA defenseman scoring lead with three points and tying for second with eight blocked shots. The junior from Lakeville, Minn. tied for the lead among all league skaters with three assists, helping on every Bemidji State goal on the weekend. In Saturday's series finale, Joyce had the primary assist on a first-period, power-play goal; then, she had the lone helper to set up the tying strike with just 4:28 remaining in regulation. The Beavers played No. 2 Minnesota Duluth to a 2-2 tie, before earning the extra point with a shootout win. This is Joyce's first WCHA weekly award of the 2016-17 season and her fifth career honor, including three Rookie of the Week accolades.
Honorable Mention: Halli Krzyzaniak, Sr., D, North Dakota (tallied a power-play assist, while finishing the weekend with a +1 rating despite the Fighting Hawks dropping a pair of one-goal decisions at No. 1 Wisconsin); Emma May, So., G, Minnesota (made her first two collegiate starts, helping the No. 4 Gophers to a four-point weekend against Ohio State by posting a 1-0-1 record with 32 saves, a .941 save percentage and an 0.96 goals-against average); Jenny Ryan, Sr., D, Wisconsin (tied for the WCHA defenseman scoring lead with three points, including assists on both Badger goals Sunday as No. 1 UW defeated visiting North Dakota, 2-1); Kassidy Sauve, RS-So., G, Ohio State (helped the Buckeyes to a two-point series at No. 4 Minnesota, ranking fourth nationally with 66 saves and second in the WCHA with a .957 save percentage); Emma Wittchow, Jr., D, Minnesota State (scored her first goal since the 2014-15 season Saturday, netting the third-period, game-tying marker as the Mavericks rallied for a 3-3, Hockey Day Minnesota draw at St. Cloud State).
Kayla Friesen, Fr., F
St. Cloud State (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
Friesen led all WCHA rookies with three points, powering St. Cloud State to a five-point home weekend against Minnesota State. The freshman from Winnipeg, Manitoba picked up an assist on SCSU's first goal in a 2-1 victory Friday afternoon. She then factored in two of the Huskies' three goals in a 3-3 tie Saturday during Hockey Day Minnesota 2017. Friesen assisted on St. Cloud State's first goal, then scored the team's third of the contest. Her two assists tied for tops among league rookies, while her 11 face-off wins tied for third. This is Friesen's first career WCHA weekly award.
Honorable Mention: Abby Halluska, Fr., F, Bemidji State (was second on the Beavers with eight shots on goal, while recording a pair of blocked shots); Emma Nuutinen, Fr., F, North Dakota (tallied a goal and assist at No. 1 Wisconsin, helping the Fighting Hawks become just the fourth team this season to score more than two goals in a series against the Badgers' top-ranked defense); Sofia Poinar, Fr., F, Minnesota State (led Maverick rookies with four shots on goal, 11 face-off wins and a .588 face-off percentage, while also converting during Saturday's six-round shootout at St. Cloud State).