EDINA, Minn. – Feb. 23, 2016 – Clutch performers on the offensive end and between the pipes, along with a freshman continuing her fantastic inaugural campaign, highlight the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for Feb. 15-21, 2016. The honorees are: Minnesota sophomore forward Kelly Pannek (Offensive Player of the Week), Minnesota senior goaltender Amanda Leveille (Defensive Player of the Week) and St. Cloud State freshman forward Julia Tylke (Rookie of the Week).
Kelly Pannek, So., F
Minnesota (Plymouth, Minnesota)
Pannek, the overtime hero of Saturday's Minnesota win, led the WCHA with four points as the No. 2 Gophers swapped places with No. 3 Wisconsin in the national rankings following a sweep at Ridder Arena. The sophomore from Plymouth, Minn. assisted on Minnesota's first two goals Saturday, and then capped a three-point effort with the game-winning goal 4:06 into the extra session – a strike that lifted the Gophers to a 4-3 triumph. Pannek, who also had one assist and three blocked shots in the series-opening, 4-0 win, finished the weekend with a .615 winning percentage in the face-off circle (24-for-39) and a +3 rating. For the season, she ranks ninth in goals (21), tied for 16th in assists (24), and 10th in points (45) among NCAA players. This is Pannek's first WCHA weekly award of the 2015-16 season and her fourth career honor (including three Rookie of the Week accolades)
Also nominated: Meghan Dufault, Sr., F, North Dakota (recorded three points with two goals and one assist, including the game-winner Saturday for No. 10 UND); Michelle Lowenhielm, So., F, Minnesota Duluth (scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner with 5:04 remaining in the third period, in UMD's Saturday win at St. Cloud State); Kaitlyn Tougas, Sr., F, Bemidji State (tied for the team lead with two points, helping No. 7 BSU to a road sweep at Minnesota State).
Amanda Leveille, Sr., G
Minnesota (Kingston, Ontario)
Leveille led Minnesota to a sweep over then-No. 2 Wisconsin last weekend at Ridder Arena, making a career-high (and WCHA weekend-best) 66 saves on 69 shots faced in the two wins. The senior from Kingston, Ontario made a season-best 35 stops in her 30th career shutout in the series opener, a 4-0 blanking. She then followed-up with 31 saves in Minnesota's 4-3, overtime win Sunday, including 15 stops in the third period and overtime. Among NCAA goaltenders this season, Leveille's 1.34 goals against average is ranked fourth (second in the WCHA) and her .937 save percentage is ninth (third in the WCHA). At 23-3-1, she has a .870 winning percentage, good for third in the nation and second in the league. This is Leveille's second WCHA weekly award of the 2015-16 season and eighth career accolade (including one Rookie of the Week honor).
Also nominated: Katie Fitzgerald, Sr., G, St. Cloud State (was second in the WCHA with 58 saves, helping SCSU secure the fifth seed for the league playoffs with a split vs. Minnesota Duluth); Halli Krzyzaniak, Jr., D, North Dakota (registered two assists in No. 10 UND's split at Ohio State, while helping the Fighting Hawks go 7-for-8 on the penalty kill); Brittni Mowat, Jr., G, Bemidji State (went 2-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .955 save percentage, helping No. 7 BSU to a road sweep).
Julia Tylke, Fr., F
St. Cloud State (Delafield, Wisconsin)
Tylke led all WCHA freshmen with three points, helping St. Cloud State capture the fifth seed in the league playoffs with a split against Minnesota Duluth. The freshman from Delafield, Wis. had a pair of assists – including a helper on the game-winning goal – Friday night in a 3-2 Huskies' victory. Saturday, her goal at the 14:11 mark of the third period tied the game 2-2. Tylke finished the weekend with a league freshmen-best seven shots on goal, along with an even rating. This is Tylke's third WCHA weekly honor of her rookie campaign.
Also nominated: Anna Kilponen, Fr., D, North Dakota (registered her UND freshman-high seventh point of the season, and helped the No. 10 Fighting Hawks go 7-for-8 on the penalty kill in a road split); Taylor Williamson, Fr., F, Minnesota (recorded two assists, including a helper on Friday's game-winner, in UMN's sweep of then-No. 2 Wisconsin).