EDINA, Minn. – Dec. 20, 2016 – Following a light final weekend of the first half, one in which the two league teams that played both split nonconference road series, the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for games of Dec. 16-17, 2016 are: Minnesota State junior forward Lindsey Coleman (Offensive Player of the Week), Minnesota State junior defenseman Anna Keys (Defensive Player of the Week) and North Dakota freshman defenseman Abby Thiessen (Rookie of the Week).
Lindsey Coleman, Jr., F
Minnesota State (Burnsville, Minn.)
Coleman tied for the WCHA lead in goals (1), assists (2), plus-minus (+2), power-play assists (1) and power-play points (1), while leading the league with three points overall. The junior from Burnsville, Minn. had her biggest impact in Saturday's series finale, assisting on both Minnesota State goals as the Mavericks posted a 2-1, nonconference road win at Union. After recording a helper on a first-period, power-play goal, Coleman had the primary helper on the tie-breaking, game-winning strike with just 1:18 remaining in regulation. She also scored the Mavericks' lone goal in a 2-1 setback Friday. Minnesota State enters the holiday break with six wins, matching its entire output from the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons combined, and Coleman is a big reason why. She is second on the team with 10 points (4g-6a), while the Mavericks are 4-3-1 when her name is on the scoresheet. This is Coleman's first career WCHA weekly award.
Honorable Mention: Kayla Gardner, Sr., F, North Dakota (had a goal and assist, along with a team-high 22 face-offs won and a team-best +2 rating, as the No. 10 Fighting Hawks split a series at Lindenwood).
Anna Keys, Jr., D
Minnesota State (Cottage Grove, Minn.)
With Minnesota State and Union tied 1-1 deep into the third period Saturday, Keys scored her first career game-winning goal, a clutch strike with 1:18 remaining to lift the Mavericks to a 2-1 win and road series split. The junior from Cottage Grove, Minn. was effective on both ends of the ice all weekend long, leading the Mavericks with seven shots on goal, helping anchor a defensive corps that held Union to just three goals in two games, and posting a +1 rating – tied for tops among WCHA defensemen. Keys enters the holiday break pacing Mavericks blue-liners with three assists and five points, while leads the team with 39 blocked shots. This is the second-straight honor awarded to a Minnesota State defenseman, while it is Keys' first career WCHA weekly award.
Honorable Mention: Taylor Flaherty, So., D, North Dakota (recorded her first collegiate points, tallying a goal and assist in the No. 10 Fighting Hawks' 5-0 win Friday at Lindenwood).
Abby Thiessen, Fr., D
North Dakota (Red Deer, Alberta)
Thiessen helped No. 10 North Dakota to a 5-0, series-opening win last Friday at Lindenwood with her first career multi-point effort. The freshman from Red Deer, Alberta picked up the primary assist on both of UND's third-period goals – including one on the power play – as the Fighting Hawks broke the game open. Thiessen finished the weekend with a +1 rating from the blue line, while adding one shot on goal and one blocked shot. This is Thiessen's first career WCHA weekly award.
Honorable Mention: Sofia Poinar, Fr., F, Minnesota State (led WCHA freshmen with 11 face-off wins, while pacing Maverick rookies with four shots on goal as Minnesota State split a road series at Union).