EDINA, Minn. – Nov. 24, 2015 – The senior leaders behind a resurgent program and the nation's top freshman highlight the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for Nov. 16-22, 2015. The honorees are: St. Cloud State senior forward Molly Illikainen (Offensive Player of the Week), St. Cloud State senior goaltender Katie Fitzgerald (Defensive Player of the Week) and Minnesota freshman forward Sarah Potomak (Rookie of the Week).
Molly Illikainen, Sr., F
St. Cloud State (Grand Rapids, Minn.)
Illikainen led St. Cloud State to a WCHA sweep of Ohio State and the Huskies' first four-game winning streak since 2007 with a four-point weekend (2g-2a), tied for third-most in the WCHA. The senior from Grand Rapids, Minn. factored in all three SCSU goals in a series-opening, 3-2 win Friday, assisting on the Huskies' first goal and scoring their final two – including the tie-breaking, game-winning strike at the 16:16 mark of the third period. Illikainen added an assist on Julia Tylke's opening goal just 2:29 into Saturday's contest, setting the tone for a 4-1 SCSU victory. For the weekend, Illikainen finished with six shots on goal and a +3 rating.
Also nominated: Dani Cameranesi, Jr., F, Minnesota; Amy Menke, Jr., F, North Dakota; Sarah Nurse, Jr., F, Wisconsin; Kaitlyn Tougas, Sr., F, Bemidji State
Katie Fitzgerald, Sr., G
St. Cloud State (Des Plains, Ill.)
Fitzgerald was a brick wall in net during St. Cloud State's sweep, holding Ohio State to just three goals on 60 shots in the series. The senior's 57 saves led the WCHA and ranked second nationally, while her .950 save percentage was tops among league goaltenders that made two starts last weekend (and second nationally among netminders with the same criteria). Fitzgerald made 24 saves in a 3-2 victory Friday and 33 stops in a 4-1 triumph Saturday, finishing the weekend with a 1.50 goals-against average.
Also nominated: Ivana Bilic, Sr., D, Bemidji State; Lee Stecklein, Jr., D, Minnesota; Jenny Ryan, Jr., D, Wisconsin
Sarah Potomak, Fr., F
Minnesota (Aldergrove, British Columbia)
Potomak tied for the lead among NCAA rookies with four points (1g, 3a) in Minnesota's sweep over Yale. The freshman from Aldergrove, British Columbia was on the ice for seven of Minnesota's ten goals in the series, scored one game-winning goal and assisted on the other, and finished the weekend with 11 shots on goal and a +5 rating. In Friday's 6-3 win, Potomak scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal at 7:07 of the second period, and set up Dani Cameranesi on Minnesota's second and fifth goals. In Saturday's 4-1 win, she assisted Sydney Baldwin's game-winning goal on the power play at 19:36 of the first period, giving the Gophers a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
Also nominated: Maddie Rooney, Fr., G, Minnesota Duluth; Sophia Shaver, Fr., F, Wisconsin; Julia Tylke, Fr., F, St. Cloud State