EDINA, Minn. – March 7, 2017 – The final women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for the 2016-17 season go to a pair of players who excelled at the Final Face-Off, including one who has paced all NCAA skaters in scoring the past two weeks and another who set the saves record for a WCHA championship weekend. The honorees are: Wisconsin senior forward Sarah Nurse (Offensive Player of the Week) and Minnesota Duluth sophomore goaltender Maddie Rooney (Defensive Player of the Week).
Sarah Nurse, Sr., F
Wisconsin (Hamilton, Ontario)
Nurse wrapped up a stellar WCHA postseason with a league-best four points (tied for tops in the NCAA), assisting on both game-winning goals as top-ranked Wisconsin captured its third-straight Final Face-Off championship. The senior from Hamilton, Ontario, had the game-winning helper in the Badgers' 2-1 semifinal win against North Dakota, feeding Emily Clark for the tie-breaking goal at the 17:17 mark of the third period. She then had a three-point effort in the third period alone of Saturday's championship game, factoring in all three goals as Wisconsin snapped a 1-1 tie and defeated Minnesota Duluth, 4-1. She assisted on a pair of Annie Pankowski goals (including the game-winner just 33 seconds into the period), while her short-handed goal to put UW on top, 3-1, landed on SportsCenter's top-10 plays. Over the two weeks of NCAA conference tournaments, Nurse led all national skaters with 11 points, five goals, six assists (matching Pankowski), 1.25 goals per game, 2.75 points per game, three power-play goals (tied), one short-handed goal (tied) and a plus-8 rating. Nurse won both WCHA Offensive Player of the Week awards for the league tournament, giving her four weekly honors for the 2016-17 season and five for her career.
Maddie Rooney, So., D
Minnesota Duluth (Andover, Minn.)
Rooney was simply sensational for Minnesota Duluth, making a WCHA Final Face-Off/Playoff Championship weekend-record 112 saves as the third-ranked Bulldogs finished as tournament runners-up. Facing 117 shots and backstopping UMD for a whopping 151:29 against Minnesota (with the nation's sixth-ranked offense) and Wisconsin (the NCAA's top-scoring team), she compiled a .957 save percentage – including a .981 mark (104-for-106) over the first 131:29 in net. The sophomore from Andover, Minn. made a Bulldog-record 62 saves Saturday night in UMD's 2-1, double-overtime semifinal win against the Gophers. In that contest, Rooney made an incredible 20 saves in the first overtime alone, as the Bulldogs were outshot by a 20-8 margin. Just 19 hours later, she turned in a 50-stop effort against the top-ranked Badgers, keeping UMD tied 1-1 heading into the third period of the championship game. For her efforts, Rooney was named to the All-Tournament Team; she also became the first Most Outstanding Player from a non-winning team at a WCHA Final Face-Off or Playoff Championship. This is Rooney's fourth WCHA weekly award of the 2016-17 season and her career.
Honorable Mention: Mellissa Channell, Sr., D, Wisconsin (tied for the NCAA lead with a league-best plus-4 rating, while tying for the NCAA lead with three assists to help the top-ranked Badgers to their third-straight and seventh overall WCHA playoff championship); Lexie Shaw, Sr. G, North Dakota (made a career-high 47 saves, reaching double-digit stops in each period, to keep the Fighting Hawks tied for 57:17 of their Final Face-Off semifinal against No. 1 Wisconsin).