EDINA, Minn. – Jan. 12, 2016 – With the second half of the 2015-16 campaign starting in earnest, the following excelled to earn the first women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week honors of the 2016 calendar year: Wisconsin junior forward Sarah Nurse (Offensive Player of the Week), St. Cloud State senior defenseman Lexi Slattery (Defensive Player of the Week) and Minnesota freshman forward Taylor Williamson (Rookie of the Week).
Sarah Nurse, Jr., F
Wisconsin (Hamilton, Ont.)
Nurse had three goals and assist last weekend, helping No. 2 Wisconsin to a WCHA home sweep over Minnesota Duluth. The junior from Hamilton, Ontario tied for the league lead in goals and points, while her three markers were also tied for second nationally. In UW's 5-1 win Friday, Nurse scored the final two goals to seal the victory. She then factored in two of the Badgers' three goals during Sunday's sweep-clinching, 3-1 triumph. Nurse ranks 14th nationally with 1.33 points per game this season and seventh (third WCHA) with 0.83 goals per contest. This is Nurse's first career WCHA weekly award.
Also nominated: Stephanie Anderson, Sr., F, Bemidji State (had four points on two goals and two assists in No. 5 BSU's sweep of Lindenwood, including game-winner Wednesday); Katie Johnson, Sr., F, Minnesota State (finished with a +4 over MSU's last four games, with five points – including three during Mavs' series against Lindenwood prior to weekly awards resuming); Sarah Potomak, Fr., F, Minnesota (one goal and three assists, +4 rating in No. 2 UMN's sweep of Ohio State).
Lexi Slattery, Sr., D
St. Cloud State (Hugo, Minn.)
Slattery had an impact on both ends of the ice throughout the weekend, helping St. Cloud State earn five WCHA points on the road at Minnesota State. The senior from Hugo, Minn. scored the Huskies' lone goal Friday in a 1-1 tie, and then had a pair of key assists in a 4-3, overtime win Saturday. Slattery's first helper set up a first-period goal that knotted the score at 2-2, before she fed Molly Illikainen for the game-winning goal with just 53 seconds remaining in the extra stanza. The blue liner finished the weekend with four blocks and a +1 rating. This is Slattery's second 2015-16 and career WCHA weekly award.
Also nominated: Ann-Renée Desbiens, Jr., G, Wisconsin (2-0-0, 1.00 GAA, .950 save percentage in No. 2 UW's sweep of Minnesota Duluth); Madison Hutchinson, Jr., D, Bemidji State (assisted on game-winning goal Wednesday and scored game-winner Thursday as No. 5 BSU swept Lindenwood); Anna Keys, So., D, Minnesota State (had two assists over MSU's last four games, including two contests before weekly awards resumed); Lee Stecklein, Jr., D, Minnesota (set career high with three points on two goals and an assist during No. 2 UMN's 9-0 victory over Ohio State).
Taylor Williamson, Fr., F
Minnesota (Edina, Minn.)
Williamson had a career-best three-point weekend, helping No. 2 Minnesota to a WCHA home sweep over Ohio State. The freshman from Edina, Minn. scored the game-winning goal in the Gophers' 3-1, series-opening win, and then tallied two assists in a sweep-clinching, 9-0 victory. Williamson, who enjoyed her first career multi-point game Sunday, finished the weekend with a +3 rating and went 8-for-13 in the face-off circle. This is Williamson's first career WCHA weekly award.
Also nominated: Emily Bergland, Fr., F, Bemidji State (scored the go-ahead goal 17:10 into the first period Thursday, giving the No. 5 Beavers a 3-2 lead after they fell behind 2-0 early on).