EDINA, Minn. – Dec. 15, 2015 – A playmaking forward, a brick-wall goaltender and a freshman with a clutch goal – all of whom helped their teams capture 11 of a possible 12 league points last weekend – highlight the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week awards for Dec. 7-13, 2015. The honorees are: Minnesota Duluth junior forward Lara Stalder (Offensive Player of the Week), North Dakota senior goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie (Defensive Player of the Week) and North Dakota freshman forward Vilma Tanskanen (Rookie of the Week).
Lara Stalder, Jr., F
Minnesota Duluth (Lucerne, Switzerland)
Stalder figured in seven of Minnesota Duluth's nine goals, tying for the NCAA lead in points and helping the Bulldogs to a key WCHA road sweep at Ohio State. The junior from Lucerne, Switzerland had three assists Friday night in UMD's come-from-behind, 4-2 win, with a helper in the first period, the secondary assist on the game-winning goal at 7:58 of the third period and then a final dish on an empty-net score with 25 seconds to play. Stalder then contributed four points, including her first collegiate hat trick, Saturday night in the Bulldogs 5-2 triumph. After assisting on UMD's second goal of the game with nine seconds remaining in the first period, Stalder rattled off the program's first natural hat trick since Feb. 18, 2011, including the game-winner 4:22 into the second period. She scored those three goals on just five shots, while finishing the weekend with a +4 rating. Stalder also increased her career-long scoring streak to five games, with four goals and seven assists (11 points) over that span.
Also nominated: Becca Kohler, Sr., F, North Dakota
Shelby Amsley-Benzie, Sr., G
North Dakota (Warroad, Minn.)
Amsley-Benzie was simply sensational in the North Dakota net, stopping all 67 shots she faced and shutting out top-ranked Wisconsin for 125 minutes as the Fighting Hawks earned five league points. In Friday's 3-0 victory at Ralph Engelstad Arena, which halted the Badgers' perfect 18-0-0 start to the season, Amsley-Benzie made 26 saves – including 15 in the second period alone as she helped UND weather a Wisconsin surge that saw the visitors hold a 15-2 edge in shots. The senior from Warroad, Minn. was even better the following night, posting a 41-save shutout as neither team could find the back of the net after 65 minutes of play. She helped UND go a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill, making a total of seven saves on the PK over the weekend. With 20 career shutouts, Amsley-Benzie holds the all-time North Dakota record and is tied for sixth in WCHA history.
Vilma Tanskanen, Fr., F
North Dakota (Vantaa, Finland)
North Dakota is a perfect 3-0-0 this season when Tanskanen scores, a trend that continued Friday when the freshman netted a key first-period goal in the Fighting Hawks' 3-0 victory over then-No. 1 Wisconsin. With UND already ahead 1-0 on a power-play goal, the rookie from Vantaa, Finland scored on an even-strength marker with 3:36 remaining in the period, giving UND a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission. Tanskanen finished the weekend with five shots on net and a +1 rating.