EDINA, Minn. – Oct. 27, 2015 – A pair of dueling forwards, a goaltender leading a record-tying shutout streak and a defenseman lending a helping hand highlight the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for Oct. 19-25, 2015. The honorees are: St. Cloud State senior forward Molly Illikainen and North Dakota junior forward Amy Menke (Co-Offensive Players of the Week), Wisconsin junior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens (Defensive Player of the Week) and Ohio State freshman defenseman Lauren Boyle (Rookie of the Week).
Molly Illikainen, Sr., F
St. Cloud State (Grand Rapids, Minnesota)
Illikainen enjoyed a career day and helped St. Cloud State to a 4-4 tie and eventual shootout win against No. 7/8 North Dakota last Saturday, scoring on all three of her shots – one in each period – for her first collegiate hat trick. The senior from Grand Rapids, Minn. capitalized on a breakaway for a short-handed goal at the 4:03 mark of the first period, potted her second of the game just 0:23 into the second period and then struck 1:06 into the third – an unassisted goal that put the Huskies in front, 3-1. She finished the game with a +2 rating.
Amy Menke, Jr., F
North Dakota (Shakopee, Minnesota)
Menke recorded a three-point weekend, while almost single-handedly putting No. 7/8 North Dakota in a position to finish undefeated in its WCHA road series at St. Cloud State. The junior from Shakopee, Minn. tallied an assist on the game-winning goal in UND's 3-0 victory Friday. On Saturday, she scored two third-period goals in a span of four minutes, 16 seconds – including the game-tying strike with just 11 seconds remaining – to help force a 4-4 draw after UND trailed, 4-1, with less than nine minutes left in regulation. Menke finished the weekend with 15 shots and a +2 rating.
Also nominated: Claudia Kepler, Jr., Ohio State; Annie Pankowski, So., F, Wisconsin; Kelly Pannek, So., F, Minnesota
Ann-Renée Desbiens, Jr., G
Wisconsin (La Malbaie, Québec)
Desbiens backstopped Wisconsin to a sweep of No. 6 Bemidji State, stopping all 35 shots she faced during consecutive shutouts (her fourth and fifth of the season). The junior from La Malbaie, Québec turned back 19 shots Friday night, including 11 in the third period of UW's 3-0 victory. Saturday, she made 16 saves en route to a 4-0 triumph. Desbiens leads the country in shutouts (5), goals-against-average (0.33) and save percentage (.980), while her play has been instrumental in UW's program-record six-consecutive shutouts – tied for the longest run in WCHA history.
Also nominated: Milica McMillen, Sr., D, Minnesota; Brianna Quade, Jr., G, Minnesota State
Lauren Boyle, Fr., D
Ohio State (Eden Prairie, Minnesota)
Boyle led the WCHA and tied for second nationally with four assists last week (most among NCAA freshmen), helping Ohio State to a home sweep over Minnesota State. The rookie blueliner tallied a lone helper in a 5-3 victory Friday, before establishing a career high with three assists – including the primary helper on the game-winning goal – in Saturday's 4-0 triumph. The Eden Prairie, Minn. native finished the weekend with four shots on goal and a +3 rating.
Also nominated: Anna Barlow, Fr., D, Minnesota