EDINA, Minn. – Jan. 6, 2015 – With the third month of the season in the books, the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) today recognized its award winners for December 2015: Minnesota Duluth junior forward Lara Stalder (Offensive Player of the Month), North Dakota senior goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie (Defensive Player of the Month) and Wisconsin freshman forward Sam Cogan (Rookie of the Month).
Lara Stalder, Jr., F
Minnesota Duluth (Lucerne, Switzerland)
Stalder was among the nation's top playmakers in December, matching Boston College's Alex Carpenter for the NCAA lead with 10 points in four games. The junior from Lucerne, Switzerland sparked Minnesota Duluth's undefeated 3-0-1 month with points in all four games, including three multi-point efforts. She tallied three assists as UMD went 1-0-1 against St. Cloud State on Dec. 4-5, and then logged a seven-point weekend in the Bulldogs' road sweep at Ohio State on Dec. 11-12. After helping on three of UMD's goals in a 4-2 win in the opener, Stalder recorded a natural hat trick – including the game-winner – along with an assist as the Bulldogs completed the sweep with a 5-2 triumph. Stalder's seven assists were the most in all of NCAA hockey during December, while the undefeated Bulldogs had the nation's fifth-best offense last month at 3.75 goals per game. Stalder, who has an overall five-game point streak, is tied for 10th in the WCHA with 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in 20 games this season.
Shelby Amsley-Benzie, Sr., G
North Dakota (Warroad, Minn.)
The nation's best goaltender in December was in the North Dakota crease, as Amsley-Benzie conceded only one goal in over 243 minutes of play. The senior from Warroad, Minn. stopped 103 of 104 shots, posting a .990 save percentage and 0.25 goals-against average as the Fighting Hawks went 2-1-1 and ascended to seventh in the national polls. She blanked No. 5 Bemidji State 1-0 on Dec. 4, before collecting back-to-back shutouts against then-No. 1 Wisconsin on Dec. 11-12. Amsley-Benzie made 67 saves over 125 minutes against the Badgers, including 26 stops in a 3-0, series-opening win and a 41-save effort during a 0-0 draw in the finale. The reigning second-team All-American helped UND's penalty kill go a perfect 12-for-12 last month. Amsley-Benzie's overall 1.56 GAA ranks eighth nationally, while her .929 save percentage is 13th.
Sam Cogan, Fr., F
Wisconsin (Ottawa, Ontario)
Cogan, the WCHA Rookie of the Week on Dec. 8, scored and added an assist in Wisconsin's 3-2 win over then-No. 1 Minnesota on Dec. 4. Her second-period goal tied the game at 1-1, while she assisted on UW's second goal of the contest. The freshman from Ottawa, Ontario ranks 16th nationally in points per game among rookies with a 0.70 overall average this season, which ranks third in the WCHA.