EDINA, Minn. – Jan. 4, 2017 – The final month of 2016 was marked by several elite performances in the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), including those of the three student-athletes honored with monthly accolades for December. Wisconsin junior forward Emily Clark has been named Offensive Player of the Month, Minnesota State sophomore defenseman Megan Hinze garnered Defensive Player of the Month honors and North Dakota freshman forward Ryleigh Houston is the league's Rookie of the Month.
Emily Clark, Jr., F
Wisconsin (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)
Clark enjoyed a fantastic month for top-ranked Wisconsin, tying for the WCHA lead with eight points while pacing the league with a +7 rating. The junior from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan tallied a goal and a WCHA-high (tied) seven assists, tied for the league lead by averaging 1.75 helpers and 2.00 points per game, and ranked third with 46 face-off wins. After a recording an assist in UW's historic 8-2 win over No. 2 Minnesota on Dec. 4, Clark enjoyed a seven-point weekend against Ohio State to lead the Badgers to a road sweep. She set a career high with five points on a goal and four assists in UW's 7-0 win Dec. 9, then wrapped up her month with a pair of helpers in a 5-0 triumph over the Buckeyes on Dec. 10. Following her impressive four-game shift with the Badgers, Clark played on the Canadian senior national team in a series against the U.S. on Dec. 19 and 21. This is Clark's first career WCHA monthly award.
Honorable Mention: Emily Antony, So., F, Minnesota State (helped the Mavericks to a 3-3-0 record in December, pacing the team with five points on two goals and three assists); Kayla Gardner, Sr., F, North Dakota (scored three goals, tallied one assist, recorded a .712 face-off percentage, blocked seven shots and finished with a +6 rating for the No. 10 Fighting Hawks); Kelly Pannek, Jr., F, Minnesota (tied for the WCHA lead with eight points, seven assists, 2.00 points per game, 1.75 assists per game, six power-play points, five power-play assists and 62 face-off wins for the No. 2 Gophers); Emma Terres, Jr., F, Bemidji State (tied for the team lead with two goals, while adding an assist and a +3 rating to help the Beavers to a 3-1-0 month).
Megan Hinze, So., D
Minnesota State (Carver, Minn.)
Hinze was a factor on both ends of the ice, helping Minnesota State to a three-win December, including a pair of triumphs in WCHA play. The sophomore from Carver, Minn. helped the Mavericks post one of the biggest upsets in program history, scoring the game-tying and game-winning goals – both in the third period and both on the power play – in a 2-1, comeback win over No. 3 Minnesota Duluth on Dec. 10. She also blocked 13 shots in six games, tying for second most in the WCHA. Among league blue-liners, Hinze tied for first in goals (2), power-play goals (2), game-winning goals (1). She finished December with a +1 rating, tied for the best among Minnesota State defensemen. This is Hinze's first career WCHA monthly award.
Honorable Mention: Ann-Renée Desbiens, Sr., G, Wisconsin (went 3-1-0 for the top-ranked Badgers, while leading the WCHA with a 0.75 goals-against average, .964 save percentage and two shutouts); Madison Hutchinson, Sr., D, Bemidji State (tallied two assists, 11 shots on goal and six blocked shots, helping the Beavers to three wins in December); Halli Krzyzaniak, Sr., D, North Dakota (recorded two assists and a team-high +7 rating through four games, before departing the No. 10 Fighting Hawks for a two-game series with the Canadian senior national team).
Ryleigh Houston, Fr., F
North Dakota (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
Houston was the top offensive performer among WCHA rookies, leading first-year skaters three goals and tying for tops with four points. The freshman from Winnipeg, Manitoba had a point in four-of-six games, including the game-winning goal in a 4-0 victory Dec. 11 vs. St. Cloud State. Houston's three goals in December tied for third among all WCHA skaters, while she tied for first among freshmen for power-play goals (1) and game-winning markers. She finished with 17 shots on net and a +1 rating for the No. 10 Fighting Hawks. This is Houston's first career WCHA monthly award.
Honorable Mention: Abby Halluska, Fr., F, Bemidji State (tied for the WCHA rookie lead with four points on a goal and three assists, helping the Beavers to a 3-1-0 record); Sofia Poinar, Fr., F, Minnesota State (recorded 23 face-off wins for the Mavericks, tied for third-most among WCHA rookies and eighth-most nationally).