EDINA, Minn. – March 1, 2016 – For their roles in leading their teams to quarterfinal sweeps and into the 2016 Final Face-Off – including the weekend's lone first round upset – the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for Feb. 22-28, 2016 are: Minnesota Duluth junior forward Lara Stalder (Offensive Player of the Week), Minnesota Duluth senior goaltender Kayla Black (Defensive Player of the Week) and North Dakota freshman defenseman Anna Kilponen (Rookie of the Week).
Lara Stalder, Jr., F
Minnesota Duluth (Luzern, Switzerland)
Stalder had a hand in five of the Bulldogs' seven goals (2g-3a) during Minnesota Duluth's first round upset of nationally-ranked Bemidji State, including the game-winning goal Saturday to push her team into the 2016 WCHA Final Face-Off. The junior from Lucerne, Switzerland had a three-point effort in UMD's 5-1, series-opening win, including the primary assist on the game-winning goal, another helper and the Bulldogs' final goal – an even-strength marker at 7:18 of the third period. Stalder factored in both UMD goals in Saturday's clinching, 2-1 win, assisting on the game-tying goal at 4:32 of the second period before potting the series-winner 11:10 into overtime. She enters the Final Face-Off ranked 18th nationally with an average of 1.24 points per game (17g-24a—41pts), tied for 21st at 0.52 goals per contest and tied for eighth with six power play tallies. This is Stalder's second WCHA weekly award of the 2015-16 season and her third career honor (including one Rookie of the Week accolade).
Also nominated: Dani Cameranesi, Jr., F, Minnesota (led the Gophers with six points on four goals and two assists, including a hat trick Saturday, in UMN's sweep); Meghan Dufault, Sr., F, North Dakota (tallied three goals and three assists for six points, scored both game-winning goals and had a +9 rating in UND's sweep); Sydney McKibbon, Jr., F, Wisconsin (led the Badgers with one goal and three assists, while adding a league-high .889 face-off winning percentage in UW's sweep).
Kayla Black, Sr., G
Minnesota Duluth (Blyth, Ontario)
Black played all 131:10 minutes between the pipes last weekend, turning aside 79-of-81 shots and backstopping Minnesota Duluth to their upset win over host Bemidji State. The senior from Blyth, Ontario posted a .975 save percentage and a 0.91 goals-against average, yielding just two goals in the series. She made 33 stops Saturday in a 5-1 win, before equaling her career high with 46 saves Saturday in UMD's 2-1 overtime thriller. Black, the program's all-time leader in career saves (2,960) and shutouts (20), enters the 2016 WCHA Final Face-Off with 56 wins in a Bulldogs uniform. This is Black's first WCHA weekly award of the 2015-16 season and her third career honor.
Also nominated: Ann-Renee Desbiens, Jr., G, Wisconsin (stopped all 23 shots she faced in UW's sweep, while setting the NCAA single-season record with her 18th shutout of the campaign); Sam LaShomb, Sr., D, North Dakota (scored a goal and recorded two assists for UND, finishing the Fighting Hawks' sweep a +5 rating); Amanda Leveille, Sr., G, Minnesota (posted 46 saves in UMN's sweep, including a 25-save shutout in Sunday's series clincher).
Anna Kilponen, Fr., D
North Dakota (Orivesi, Finland)
Kilponen excelled on both ends of the ice during North Dakota's first round sweep of St. Cloud State, finishing the weekend with two points, three blocked shots and a WCHA rookie-best +5 rating. The freshman from Orivesi, Finland tallied an assist in each game while helping a Fighting Hawks defense that yielded just two goals on the weekend.
Also nominated: Sam Cogan, Fr., F, Wisconsin (tallied a goal and two assists in UW's sweep, tying for the league points lead among rookies).