EDINA, Minn. – Nov. 30, 2016 – The NCAA's leading scorer last weekend, a clutch effort from a blue-liner and the first collegiate shutout for a rookie goaltender highlight the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for games of Nov. 25-27, 2016. The honorees are: Minnesota junior forward Kelly Pannek (Offensive Player of the Week), Minnesota Duluth senior defenseman Sidney Morin (Defensive Player of the Week), and Wisconsin freshman goaltender Nikki Cece (Rookie of the Week).
Kelly Pannek, Jr., F
Minnesota (Plymouth, Minn.)
Pannek led all NCAA skaters with seven points, three power-play points and one game-winning goal, contributing three goals and four assists overall as No. 2 Minnesota swept visiting Bemidji State. The junior from Plymouth, Minn. also ranked second nationally with a +4 rating and a 3.50 points-per-game average (tops in the WCHA), while she added three blocked shots and 21 face-off wins. Pannek factored in three of the Gophers' goals in a 4-0, series-opening victory last Friday, assisting on two scores (including the game-winner) and adding a goal of her own. She then played a role in every Minnesota tally during Saturday's 4-1 triumph, including back-to-back goals just 15 seconds apart to give the Gophers a 2-0, first-period lead they would not relinquish. This is Pannek's second WCHA weekly award of the 2016-17 season and sixth career accolade (including three Rookie of the Week honors).
Honorable Mention: Lindsey Coleman, Jr., F, Minnesota State (tallied the game-tying goal against Lindenwood on Saturday, helping the Mavericks earn a 1-1 tie in nonconference play); Annie Pankowski, Jr., F, Wisconsin (enjoyed second-straight three-goal weekend, including the game-winner Saturday, as the No. 1 Badgers swept Cornell in nonconference action); Lara Stalder, Sr., F, Minnesota Duluth (tied for the NCAA lead with five assists, including both game-winners, as the No. 4 Bulldogs swept a nonconference road series at Harvard).
Sidney Morin, Sr., D
Minnesota Duluth (Minnetonka, Minn.)
Morin's play on both ends of the ice helped No. 4 Minnesota Duluth earn an impressive nonconference road sweep at Harvard. The senior from Minnetonka, Minn. had the primary assist on the game-tying goal Friday, sparking the Bulldogs to four unanswered scores and a 4-1 victory. In Saturday's series finale, she scored 1:51 into overtime to give UMD the 2-1 win and sweep. Morin tied for the WCHA scoring lead among defensemen with two points, while ranking second with six blocked shots and a +3 rating. She also helped hold the Harvard power play scoreless on four attempts. This is Morin's second career WCHA weekly award, as she also earned Rookie of the Week accolades on Oct. 30 of her freshman season.
Honorable Mention: Gracen Hirschy, Sr., D, North Dakota (led the WCHA with seven blocked shots, while adding a pair of assists Saturday as the No. 9 Fighting Hawks earned a nonconference win over Syracuse); Brittni Mowat, Sr., G, Bemidji State (made an NCAA-best 92 saves on 100 shots faced, finishing the Beavers' series at No. 2 Minnesota with a .920 save percentage); Sidney Peters, RS-Jr., G, Minnesota (led the WCHA with a 0.50 goals-against average and .973 save percentage, stopping 36-of-37 shots as the No. 2 Gophers swept visiting Bemidji State); Brianna Quade, Sr., G, Minnesota State (stopped 23-of-24 shots in her lone start, helping the Mavericks earn a 1-1 tie with visiting Lindenwood in nonconference action Saturday).
Nikki Cece, Fr., G
Wisconsin (Oakville, Ontario)
Cece helped No. 1 Wisconsin to a nonconference sweep of visiting Cornell, leading all NCAA rookie goaltenders with two wins, a shutout and a 1.00 goals-against average (third-best among WCHA netminders). The freshman from Oakville, Ontario earned her first collegiate shutout in Friday's 3-0 win, turning aside all 11 shots she faced. Cece then made 12 saves Saturday, including nine over the final two periods as the Badgers scored three unanswered goals for the 5-2 victory. This is Cece's first career WCHA weekly award.
Honorable Mention: Kayla Friesen, Fr., F, St. Cloud State (led WCHA freshmen with three points, tallying one goal and two assists for the Huskies at the Windjammer Classic); Ryleigh Houston, Fr., F, North Dakota (recorded her second career multi-point game Saturday, scoring the game-winning goal and assisting on another as the No. 9 Fighting Hawks earned a nonconference win over Syracuse); Jordan Jackson, Fr., D, Minnesota State (led all Maverick rookies with three blocked shots, helping Minnesota State earn a nonconference tie Saturday with Lindenwood).