EDINA, Minn. – Jan. 26, 2016 – For their roles in leading their teams to a trio of undefeated weekends in league play, the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for Jan. 18-24, 2016 are: Ohio State senior forward Julia McKinnon (Offensive Player of the Week), Wisconsin junior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens (Defensive Player of the Week) and Minnesota freshman forward Sarah Potomak (Rookie of the Week).
Julia McKinnon, Sr., F
Ohio State (Kelowna, British Columbia)
McKinnon led Ohio State to its first undefeated league road weekend of the season, tying for the NCAA lead (among players with two games played) with five points as the Buckeyes went 1-0-1-1 at Minnesota State. The senior from Kelowna, British Columbia had a key third-period assist Friday, giving OSU a 3-2 lead with under five minutes remaining in regulation (the Buckeyes would eventual earn a tie and shootout win). In Saturday's 8-3 victory, McKinnon had at least one point in all three periods as OSU erupted for a season-high in goals. She assisted on the game's first goal, tallied a helper on a marker that put OSU ahead 3-2 early in the second period, tallied a short-handed goal for a 5-3 lead before the second intermission and effectively put the game away with another strike just 5:13 into the third stanza. This is McKinnon's first WCHA weekly award of the 2015-16 season and third career accolade (including one Rookie of the Week honor).
Also nominated: Hannah Brandt, Sr., F, Minnesota (one goal and four assists for five points in No. 3 UMN's road sweep at St. Cloud State, moving into second in WCHA history for assists and points); Emily Clark, So., F, Wisconsin (factored in all three goals in No. 2 UW's 3-1 win Sunday over No. 8 North Dakota with a marker and two helpers); Kristen Huber, Sr., F, Bemidji State (led team with two goals, both on the power play, as No. 7 BSU earned a road sweep at Minnesota Duluth); Becca Kohler, Sr., F, North Dakota (tallied No. 8 UND's lone goal Sunday, tying the game early in the third period).
Ann-Renée Desbiens, Jr., G
Wisconsin (La Malbaie, Québec)
Desbiens turned in yet another fantastic weekend during her remarkable 2015-16 campaign, stopping 56-of-57 shots as No. 2 Wisconsin earned a thrilling home sweep over No. 8 North Dakota. The junior from La Malbaie, Québec made 29 saves Saturday in a 1-0 Badgers' victory, her NCAA-leading 12th shutout of the year (and 29th career, tied for fifth-most in NCAA history). She then made 27 stops Sunday in a 3-1 triumph, finishing the weekend with a .982 save percentage. Desbiens continues to lead the NCAA in nearly every goaltending category, as her 0.67 goals-against average, .964 save percentage, 22 wins and 12 shutouts pace the nation. This is Desbiens' fourth WCHA weekly award of the 2015-16 season and her 11th career accolade (including three Rookie of the Week honors).
Also nominated: Shelby Amsley-Benzie, Sr., G, North Dakota (finished with 62 saves, a .954 save percentage and 1.52 goals-against average as No. 8 UND dropped a pair of tight games at No. 2 Wisconsin); Jessica Dunne, So., D, Ohio State (had three assists in OSU's 8-3 win Saturday at Minnesota State, while collecting four blocked shots on the weekend); Amanda Leveille, Sr., G, Minnesota (earned an 18-save shutout – the 27th of her career – in No. 3 UMN's 7-0 win Friday at St. Cloud State); Brittni Mowat, Jr., G, Bemidji State (went 2-0-0 with one shutout, 53 saves, a .964 save percentage and 1.00 goals-against average in No. 7 BSU's road sweep at Minnesota Duluth).
Sarah Potomak, Fr., F
Minnesota (Aldergrove, British Columbia)
Potomak tied for the NCAA rookie lead last week with five points, accumulating all of them with a two-goal, three-assist effort in No. 3 Minnesota's series-opening, 7-0 win Friday at St. Cloud State. The freshman from Aldergrove, British Columbia contributed to each of the Gophers' first five goals, setting up the game-winner, scoring Minnesota's second and fourth goals and assisting on the third and fifth tallies. Potomak continues to lead the NCAA with 34 total assists and 1.48 assists per game, while pacing all freshmen for points (45), assists, points per game (1.96), power-play assists (eight) and rating (+43). This is Potomak's fifth WCHA weekly award of her freshman campaign.
Also nominated: Emily Antony, Fr., F, Minnesota State (led NCAA freshmen with three goals and tied for lead with five points, helping MSU earn a point at home against Ohio State); Melissa Hunt, Fr., D, Bemidji State (scored her first collegiate goal in No. 7 BSU's 3-2 win Friday at Minnesota Duluth); Anna Kilponen, Fr., D, North Dakota (helped No. 8 UND go 5-for-6 on the penalty kill, while assisting on the Fighting Hawks' lone goal at No. 2 Wisconsin).